My ConQuesT 47 Schedule

Conquestlogo_47Another ConQuesT weekend has arrived. I have art in the art show, and here’s my programming schedule:

Story in a Bag SAT 10 AM & Story in a Bag SAT 12 PM

Women of Star Trek SAT 3 PM
From Lieutenant Uhura to Captain Janeway women have been an important part of the Star Trek franchise. This panel will discuss the role of women in the Star Trek franchise and how it has evolved and changed over the years.

Play it Again, Sam: Rewatching, Rereading, and Replaying the Greats SAT 5 PM
Some stories are like a drive-through dinner: cheap, easy, and ultimately disposable. But more often than not, our all-time favorites reward – or even require – revisiting multiple times in order to get the most out of them. What is it about a great story that urges us to keep returning to it – and what’s the secret to crafting a story that your audience will keep coming back to?

Writer with a Day Job (M) SUN 11 AM
How to balance your “real” job and your dream job. Is everything possible, or does something have to give?

I’ve also been managing the ConQuesT website and social media, as well as managing the Story In A Bag and Writer’s Critique events. It has been a busy couple of months preparing for this three-day event. See you there?

About That Flag

Today South Carolina moved the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds and to the nearby Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. I’ve remained silent on this subject, until now.

Although I am a girl who was raised in the South, a descendent of Confederate soldiers, and a lapsed member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederate battle flag does NOT represent me, my supposed heritage, nor even the South of my childhood.

  • That flag does not represent lightning bugs at dusk or ‘mater sammiches on white bread with Dukes mayo.
  • That flag does not represent bare feet and sand spurs, sweet iced tea, and fresh peach cobbler.
  • That flag does not represent sandy paths through scrub oak and slash pine or the tarry smell of bracelets woven from pine needles during recess.
  • That flag does not represent splashing in the waves at Myrtle Beach or getting sunburned while gathering seashells.
  • That flag does not represent fresh laundry on the backyard line on sunny afternoons, or shiny new quarters from granddad’s pocket.
  • That flag does not represent peas and collards on New Year’s Day, or salty boiled peanuts all summer long.
  • That flag does not represent good manners or screen doors that slam shut no matter how carefully you think you close them.
  • That flag does not represent being seated on the back pew of the church, eating my great-grandfather’s butterscotch candies while doodling on the printed program during the sermon.
  • That flag does not represent my great-grandmother’s thread-bare cotton house dresses and spotless aprons with pockets, nor her freshly snapped peas and home-grown cantaloupes.
  • That flag does not represent sitting next to my best friend on the school bus much too early in the morning …
  • … but that flag DOES represent the reason my best friend and I were not allowed to play together outside of school or visit each other’s homes.

I am not sad that the Confederate battle flag has been banished to the relic room. That flag is a relic of not one but two dark passages in our nation’s history, and it belongs in a museum.

Boiled peanuts taste like home.

Boiled peanuts taste like home.

Time Flies….

May, June, and July were very very busy months for me. I attended four science fiction conventions (Spectrum, ConQuest, SoonerCon, and Contemplation) and an academic conference on the literature of science fiction (The Campbell Conference). I participated in two art shows (ConQuesT, SoonerCon). I took a road trip to Arkansas to celebrate with the good folks of Yard Dog Press. We celebrated two national holidays with friends, saw a couple of musicals at Starlight, and saw a movie or two or three. My husband had surgery, I was a bit under the weather for a bit myself, and we had house guests. The renovation team finally finished our kitchen and got the heck of our house, and we’re STILL unpacking boxes of kitchen stuff and purging 15 years of acquired clutter. I cleaned my office, rotated my seasonal wardrobe, built a website (ConQuesTkc.org), and then built it again with new, improved graphics and such. Yep. I’ve been a tad busy.

 

Remembering a Lovely Day on the Salisbury Plain

One year ago today my husband Mike and I were in England, enjoying a lovely day on the Salisbury Plain. We toured Stonehenge and Avebury, and finished our day in Bath with a quick tour of the Cathedral right before they closed for the evening. The day was gorgeous with a clear blue sky.

At Stonehenge, we followed the approved path that kept us at a distance from the ancient stones. At Avebury, there were no such restrictions, and we could wander among the stones and explore at will (stepping carefully to avoid the, um, “lamb patties”). Kids climb the stones and families picnic amongst them.

We finished out the day in Bath, where the drunken angels tumble down the stairs on the Bath Cathedral facade. (You know the meme: “Go home, angel! You’re drunk!”

It was a lovely day. The next day, however, not so much. I stumbled on broken pavement, turning my ankle and breaking my foot. But hey, what’s an adventure without a little adversity?

Stonehenge

Mike ponders Stonehenge

Mike ponders Stonehenge

 

Mike and I at Stonehenge

Mike and I at Stonehenge

Avebury

Avebury

Avebury

Bath

Go home, Angel! You're drunk!

Go home, Angel! You’re drunk!

WIP: Greeting Cards

I don’t buy greeting cards. I make them. It lets me be creative, and I never have to fret about Grandma receiving the same card from us and from one of the cousins. (It also gives me an excuse to horde decorative paper, but that’s fodder for another post.) My cards may not be as sappy or as snarky as the ones you buy down at Walmart, but they do come straight from the heart. About the photos below:

  1. This Hello Baby! card welcomes my new nephew to the family. When inspiration fails, add adhesive alphas and outline them using sparkly gel pens.
  2. I love this “Handmade Card” stamp from Cat’s Life Press Rubber Stamp Company.
  3. Dirty Little Secret #1: The patterned paper on the back of this card hides an unfortunate smudge.

Cards

Cards

Cards

Recapping 2011…

A tale of work, fatigue, and distractions.

I've been MIA on LJ for about a year, except for the occasional "still breathing" posts and the auto-posts from my near-dormant Twitter account. Mostly, I've been hanging out on Facebook.

So, yes, I'm still breathing. I'm just fatigued. In March 2011 (the point at which I nearly disappeared from LJ and my art blog), I accepted a job as a software tester and technical writer at a small engineering firm, in a position advertised as a six-month temporary assignment. As we approach March 2012, it’s been 12 months, I'm still there, and the big pile-o-work isn’t getting any smaller.

Although I shouldn't complain about having a decent-paying job in my field, I am fatigued by the rigid work schedule of 10-hour days that start a wee bit too early in the morning. I'm adapting, but I'm not getting much done at home in the evenings, and my creative output has been severely limited. My creative drought was exacerbated by a medication prescribed for my twitchy eye, until I decided I could live with a twitch but I can't live without art. (So, when you see me, remember that I'm not really winking at you; I just twitch a little bit.)

2011 in general was a year of health-related distractions. I blame most of it on the fatigue and on working in an old, dusty building with drainage issues. The epic battle against the bacteria that Occupy My Sinuses continues, but I think I'm winning. Also, 10 weeks and 10 pounds after injuring my knee twice during the holidays, I’m finally getting back into my regular yoga schedule. (Baby gates and spikey gumball trees, I hates them I do.) Luckily, the important knee mechanics weren't damaged, but it's hard to do yoga with a near-equivalent of "housemaid's knee". (I’ve also learned that a memory-foam bathmat makes an incredibly useful yoga accessory if you have grumpy knees.)

Other tidbits from 2011:

  • I had a short story published in the Yard Dog Press anthology “I Should Have Stayed in Oz”.
  • My short story from the 2010 Yard Dog Press anthology "A Bubba In Time Saves None" was awarded first place in the short story category by the Missouri Professional Communicators and second place at the national level by the National Federation of Press Women.
  • I went to the National Federation of Press Women conference, and was appointed to the executive board as web director for the next two years.
  • I attended three science fiction conventions and had art in their art shows (ConQuesT, SoonerCon, and Archon).
  • I went to the Campbell Conference at KU.
  • I was supposed to be Artist GOH at Contra, but it was cancelled. (Stupid economy.)
  • I drove cross-country solo to Mom’s for Thanksgiving, a significant distance that I would prefer to fly, but at Thanksgiving? Um, no.

So, that’s a brief recap of my year. I could write a little bit about art, but I’ll do that in another post.