I’ll admit it — I’m not cut out for the virtual convention life. I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week and brought up how late I was in writing this con report, and she pointed out that my experience with this year’s In Your Write Mind 2021 was even more skewed than the other virtual conventions I’ve participated in. So, this will be a short post, but I wanted to make sure that I still gave the run-down.
Part of the problem is that I pre-recorded two of my panels over a week before the event so that participants could watch them at their leisure during the workshop itself. One was on editing, and the other on world-building. I’ve participated in panels about both topics before, so while I enjoyed them, I don’t think that I contributed anything mind-blowing to the discussion that I want to highlight here.
Unfortunately, I accidentally scheduled so many “real life” events during the weekend of the workshop itself that I wasn’t able to participate in as much of the online activity as I would have wanted. I absolutely don’t regret seeing my first film in theaters in over a year (opening night of Black Widow with the spouse) or participating in my neighborhood yard sale and connecting with the people I live near. However, waking up that early on Saturday, then having my two IYWM live events that afternoon, meant that I wasn’t able to stay up late enough that night to participate in the virtual book-signing the way I would have preferred.
That being said, my two afternoon sessions were fantastic. I gave my ever-popular “Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past” interactive presentation to a small group. It was a bit weird being the one person on video while everyone else contributed via chat because I worried I was the only one laughing, but I was assured by some participants that they all had a good time. For this session, we created a nexus point alternate history in which President Kennedy was NOT assassinated, which led to better outcomes in the American civil rights movement and a more advanced space program. In the true alternate history category, we played with how religion would be different if reincarnation existed and got a little blasphemous about New Jesus and New Buddha hanging out in a communed together.
Afterward, I contributed to a panel about the reality of military life with other military spouses and Active Duty service members in various branches. We shared both humorous stories and frustrating events, along with the biggest problems we see in representations of military personnel (and their families) in the media.
Visiting Seton Hill University, where I attended graduate school, and participating in this annual workshop (which stemmed from a desire for alums to still hang out every summer) is an important part of my life. I’m definitely crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to return in person next summer and catch up on so many hugs from people I haven’t seen in far too long.