My WisCon starts early, with picking Ben Rosenbaum up at O'Hare around 1 p.m. Woohoo! One of my favorite parts of the convention is the day I get to talk to Ben before everything actually starts. I'll drag him up to Devon with me to pick up my blouses, eat some Indian food, bring home leftovers for Kevin, and chat some more on the way back. Then I expect to crash early, as I am already very tired. (Kids were difficult last night -- hours of sleep for last three nights, respectively: 2, 6, 5.)
Alex Gurevich will be joining us Thursday noon for the drive up. Alex + Ben + me = talkative super high speed car ride! (Talking at super high speed, not driving.) Then I plan to collapse in my hotel room, possibly nap and/or go for a swim, and re-write my Guest of Honor speech for the 18th time.
A Room of One's Own Guest of Honor Reading, with Nnedi Okorafor (6:00 - 7:30, Room of One's Own Bookstore): I'll be reading for 20-25 minutes. I'm tentatively planning on reading "Monsoon Day" here, since it's just about exactly that long, and is probably my favorite of my stories. And since Nnedi will presumably be reading YA fantasy, I think it'll be nice to offer a contrast. I don't think too many of the people attending this reading will have heard me read it before. Hope not, anyway.
Feminism, Craftswoman, and Art (10:30 - 11:45 p.m., Conference 4): "There is a long history of feminism, craft and art by women. Women have always had societal, internal and external forces to deal with in relation to their work, both creatively and economically. The panel will discuss this in the context of the panelists' work, alluding to the historical context. 'I have all these anxieties about not being a 'real' artist, and how I shouldn't steal time from writing to 'waste' it on just crafts...And then, on the other hand, I have these weirdly angry rebellious thoughts in my head.'Mary Anne Mohanraj" (Heh. That bit of panel description quoting me was taken from an e-mail I sent the moderator when she invited me to join the panel. She asked if it was okay to use it, and I said yes, but it still feels a bit weird to quote it, quoting me. :-)
Race Basics (10:00 - 11:15 a.m., Assembly): "You'll often hear in conversations about race that people should educate themselves, and it isn't the job of people of color to be educators. This is 100% true, but sometimes people of color are generous enough to do some education even if it isn't their job. Many people who participate in conversations about race at WisCon are wellread in the subject and have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about it. In this context, especially with a highlycharged topic, it's easy to feel like your best choice is to sit back and listen (which is often a great choice) or just to go to some other panel (and there are lots of great panels out there). If you would appreciate some grounding in how WisCon folks tend to approach the topic, and some guidance for people who haven't participated in these conversations much, this is the panel for you. Serious information, given with patience and humor."
Guest of Honor Reading (2:30 - 3:45, Capitol B): I won't be reading for 75 minutes straight, I promise you. I think this will be something of a sampler reading, with me reading some of Arbitrary Passions (probably the beach scene), some of The Arrangement, and some of the YA fantasy, interspersed with a lot of chat and Q&A. But it'll depend on how big the audience is, and what they're interested in.
Generational Experiences of Race and Ethnicity in Bodies in Motion (4:00 - 5:15, Caucus): "Bodies in Motion is a series of stories that looks at the experience of emigration from Sri Lanka as it affects multiple generations of a family. Rather than having characters have self involved monologues in their head, Mohanraj does an excellent job of showing the complicated lives of these women, and how race, gender and ethnicity have affected them. This panel will explore generational differences in how some people of color in the US handle the effects of racism in Mohanraj's novel, as well as contextualizing those experiences. We will also discuss the complicated experiences of POC who visit their 'homeland.'" (I'm not on this panel, but I'm planning to lurk in the back. Minal Hajratwala is moderating it, which I find exciting.)
Dissecting the Language of Fail (2:30 - 3:45, Capitol B): "Difficult conversations often go bad in similar, predictable ways. What do you say in response to 'I'm sorry if you were offended'? This program item will use one or two public writings (such as blog posts) as texts for panelists and audience members alike to workshop together to identify fail language, dissect it to see how it works, and formulate followup responses."
Guest of Honor Speeches (8:30 - 9:45 p.m., Capitol / Wisconsin): Nnedi and I give speeches. Eep. I'm tentatively planning to talk about King Arthur, heroism, and imposter syndrome. Oh, and me. 'Cause this is all about me. :-)
The SignOut (11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m., Capitol, Wisconsin): "Come and sign your works, come and get things signed, come and hang out and wind down before you leave."
Come home, collapse -- oh, wait, no. Come home, take over kid duty from Kevin, who will be no doubt utterly exhausted in a completely different way after five days alone with them. (Well, Jarmila will be here during the day Th / F / Sat / Mon, but still.)