After dropping off the rental car, I caught the MAX to downtown. I had a short walk of about 8 blocks from the MAX stop to the hotel. Unfortunately, it was raining (It rains in Portland? Who knew?). Fortunately, I bought an umbrella at the airport.
I arrived relatively dry at the hotel. After check-in and a shower, I was ready to hit the con. I donned my kilt (from Utilikilts) and my tie-dyed shirt. The tie-dyed shirts are my convention thing, and the kilt is because there's only a few places you can wear a kilt and a science fiction convention is one of them. In fact, I feel like one of the most sedately dressed people here!
In the lobby, I ran into Mary Rosenblum and talked with her for a bit about how things were going and what she was doing during the con. I also ran into jaylake, who introduced me to someone who I only later realized was lasirenadolce. I called Jay "Mister Lake" and he said "Don't call me Mister Lake" so I said "Okay, sir" and that got a laugh.
For sessions, I first split my time between "Balancing your paying job with breaking into writing" and "Balancing writing with family", which might sound the same but were very different (and unfortunately at the same time). Both were interesting.
The summary of both goes like this:
- (Balancing paying job) You have to carve out time to write, give up stuff that's not useful (like TV or noodling around or even a bit of sleep
- (Balancing writing with family) Your family is an important source of inspiration and love. Pursue your muse, show them (especially kids) how important creativity is, but give them what they need which is love.
I went to a session on "Space Drives" which I hoped was going to be a discussion of different interesting ways to get from A to B (where A and B might be interstellar, interplanetary, or just Earth to orbit). Unfortunately, the discussion went a bit "off the rails" and concentrated on the efficacy of various quantum physics experiements. So, I ducked out halfway.
I ran into L. Timmel Duchamp, who critiqued a story of mine ("This Moment") back at Potlatch. We chatted for a bit, then I went to attend the "Heroes" panel. It was fun, a lot of fans in the same room, but I bugged out to go hear L. Timmel Duchamp read.
The reading was very interesting. She read from a book which is part of a series (the Marq'ssan Cycle) that I always thought sounded like high fantasy. It turns out it's actually near-future science fiction set in a world where the government has gotten much more controlling (gee, how could that happen). It was very interesting to listen to, and afterwards I asked her a question about her use of third person POV. Her answer was tremendously enlightening to me and gave me things to think about and experiment with in my writing.
I went back to my room and read the story I'm critiquing in the session tomorrow and made some initial notes. I then headed back to wander a bit and go to the Open Reading and Critique session. There were 5 writers and 2 moderators (one of which was fellow VP alum Dierdre Moen). Each writer read the first 1.5 pages (about 300-400 words) of a work and got comments from the table.
I read "Crow and Samoset" and got some interesting comments especially about how it opens. Summary was that the second paragraph is way better than the first, and that the "dirty English will destroy you" is a wicked line. Interesting, and I hear the ring of truth in those comments. Definitely some things to think about. Before the session I sent the story to matociquala as the VPXI homework she assigned me, so I will be interested to hear her comments.
Right before the Open Critique session, I checked work email and found out I had an online class I had to do by midnight or I would be in cr*ploads of trouble. So I rushed back to the Hospitality Suite (free wireless) and whipped through the class. I grabbed dinner at the one restaurant that was open at 11pm, and went back to Hospitality to do these blog posts.
I still need to type up my comments on the story for tomorrow's critique and try to put in some words on "Real Space". Tomorrow itself is more sessions and the critique of "Samsara" and open reading in the evening. I am realizing that it would be good to come to conventions with a group of friends, as I know very few people here and I'm not the best about just starting up conversations and making pals. Saturday, I will be more social.
And that's Friday at Orycon 29!