August 3rd, 2006

ozarque figure

Conestoga report; part three (final)...

Sunday was also a busy day for me at Conestoga -- and it's time for me to point out, for the record, that Conestoga keeps me busy because that's what I've asked them to do; that's my preference, and they humor me.

I started the day at 8:30 a.m. by attending "Breakfast with Suzette Haden Elgin," where I get to sit at the head of a big tableful of interesting people, eat an excellent breakfast I don't have to pay for, and participate in top-quality conversation on a variety of topics that interest me. Very much like this blog, but with all the nonverbal communication data added.

From ten a.m. till noon I did a Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense workshop. Conestoga has let me do this for as long as I can remember, and it has always been a pleasure. [If you're wondering what on earth verbal self-defense has to do with science fiction -- and you might be -- it fits into the same programming pigeonhole as any other martial art, plus I'm told that it's useful for gamers.] It's a challenge every time, because it means bouilloncubing a six-hour seminar into two hours. That's possible only if I do (a) a lot of infotriage, and (b) very little conversational interaction with the audience -- strategies that don't come naturally to me. When I teach, I'd rather stay with a point till I'm sure it's clear, and supplement it with examples, and come back to it a time or two to reinforce it; and I'd rather allow people to raise whatever issues they want to raise, and spend as much time in dialogue with them as they need, within reason. On the other hand, I'm grateful for the opportunity to do the workshop at all, and once I explain the time problem I'm facing to the audience we are always able -- working together, and with a substantial handout as a backup -- to get almost everything done in the time we have available.

I went straight from the workshop to the book-signing table, where I had excellent company, and then I was free until a 3:00 p.m. podcast interview -- my first. I love doing radio interviews [I hate the television ones], and that's what it was like, and I had the good fortune to get Elspeth Bloodgood as my interviewer. Much of the questioning was about this journal, and how it fits into the other things I do, and how -- as a linguist -- I perceive the blogging process, and what the advantages and disadvantages are as compared with "live" presentations... many interesting questions. I had such a good time doing the interview that I completely forgot to go to Closing Ceremonies -- which is not an excuse, but does count as an explanation.

I didn't make it to any parties, unfortunately. I inherited a number of characteristics from my maternal grandmother, but not her ability to get up every morning at dawn and go to bed every night at midnight. It was her firm (and often-expressed) conviction that unless you were sick or in labor you should be up at 5:00 a.m., and she saw no reason to go back to bed before the clock struck twelve. I can't do it. I'm always up at six (unless sick or in labor), but by 9:00 p.m. I'm so worn out that I'm no more interesting to have around than your average log, and that's about the time the parties start at the cons. In my long-ago youth I used to go to the filksinging and stay there till at least midnight, but I couldn't do it now, not even if Noam Chomsky were one of the singers. Now I am asleep by 10:00 p.m., maybe 10:15 p.m., and I really put my heart into it. I am a skilled sleeper, and could sleep lying on the pavement in a four-way intersection if there were some guarantee that nobody would run over me.

Terrific con. Recommended. I had a wonderful time.
ozarque figure

Personal note...

Barring an overwhelming inspiration beyond my ability to resist, my plan for tomorrow (and maybe the next day, depending) is to spend my LJ time responding to your comments instead of doing new posts, so that I can catch up a bit. I'm way behind....