Day: June 10, 2012

DeepSouth Con 50

Howard is a guest of honor at DeepSouth Con 50 and I get to go with him. I’m really excited about this trip. It gives me a chance to travel to the South near where many of my ancestors lived. I’ll also get to just be with Howard while the kids are elsewhere. It is icing on the cake that I’ve been invited to participate in programming.

On Saturday at 11 am in Madison, I get to moderate a panel about the Meeting of Art and Science Fiction: Incorporating Hard Science into Art. I’ll get to moderate for Howard, which is always interesting. He’s pretty easy to moderate, but in group conversations I tend to let him take the lead. For this event it will be my job to lead. The other panelists are Krista Wohlfeil, Dr. Demento, and John Picacio. I’m looking forward to it.

Sunday afternoon at 1 pm in Madison, I’ll be a panelist participating in the Podcasting vs. Print Fanzine Smackdown. I expect my print-based layout and design experience to come into play. Panelist for this event are: Guy H. Lillian III, Howard Tayler, Sandra Tayler, and Curt Phillips. Should be fun.

Not officially part of my schedule, but something I do not intend to miss is the Saturday 9 am walk around Big Spring Park with Toni Weisskopf and Lou Anders. I’ll bring my binoculars and keep my eyes peeled for cardinals or other eastern birds. Yes, I intend to let my inner birdwatching geek out to play. I also expect to commit photography.

If you’re anywhere near Huntsville AL, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello. We’ll have copies of all the Schlock books and Hold on to Your Horses for sale in the dealer’s room. Look for The Missing Volume table run by the lovely Glennis LeBlanc.

Tweet Catch Up: Shipping Week Continues

Wednesday June 6:

Awake. Time to ship more books. The remaining unsketched books are headed out today. Howard is drawing Armored Kevyn.

If you ordered an unsketched SEOS, your book is in the mail. Mailing of sketched books begins tomorrow with Elf and Armored Kevyn. #presents

Thursday June 7:

If you ordered Armored Kevyn or Elf as your SEOS sketch, then your package is in this pile.

Just realized that all of my twitter photos are pictures of packages. This must be fixed. Have a tree at sunset.

Friday June 8:

Artist Choice, Kevyn, Schlock, and Tagon are all packaged. The little white bag contains two donuts for our postman.

We have the best postman in the world. He’s actually happy to see our pile of packages, because he likes his job.

Saturday June 9:

First tweet reports of books received have reanimated my languishing motivation. Off to the storage unit for more shipping supplies.

No packages shipped today. Needed a rest and to allow sketching time. The remaining packages will all go out on Monday.

Non Tweet thoughts:

Yesterday was a day much full of sleep and watching screens. I did print out the last odds and ends of postage. Tomorrow morning we’ll package up everything and set it out for pick up. Then I can dial my shipping brain back down to maintenance mode.

This process reminds me once again that we have much to be grateful for. I never put out a call for volunteers. Usually I do, because we’re hosting a big book shipping event, and I know that there is an emotional reward in being part of a big event. Also I can promise pizza. Somehow the new method, shipping out of our house, felt different. Asking for volunteers felt more like “come do my work for me” and less like “come be part of our fun event.” So I didn’t breathe a word about needing volunteers, but half a dozen people emailed me asking if they could help. They didn’t mind when my answers were tentative. They scheduled time off work or babysitting in order to come. Several of them arrived with treats. Then they worked with energy and enthusiasm. The lift to my spirits was as important as putting books into boxes. This has been a very long week. My whole body is sore from hefting boxes. My fingers are raw from folding boxes and taping them. Howard’s hand, arm, and back are exhausted. But we do what we must because each sketch and each package represents a commitment to someone who supports us. We work fast because deadlines loom and we must clear our work spaces for the next big project. Having friends come to help, Janci every shipping day, volunteers for a day each, makes a huge difference. One more day. I can do one more day.

On Friday one of our volunteers asked if this new method of shipping is working better than the old one. On the whole, yes it is. New challenges are introduced, but the worst of them are a result of the shipping week being sandwiched between two convention trips. We’ll try not to do that again. Howard needs a full week of sketching time before I start scheduling shipping days. This time Howard was frantically trying to get things drawn on Wednesday and Thursday because I had shipping scheduled for Thursday and Friday. That was not ideal. He needs more flexibility. It would also be better if shipping week landed when the kids are in school. They’ve been great about finding other things to do, and even helping. During shipping hours there have been no problems. Sketching hours are a different story. Howard really needs quiet, un-interrupted space to get into the sketch zone. In the sketch zone he plows through boxes of sketches without pondering his aches. Any interruption, however small, is a chance for his brain to get distracted. In order to prevent distractions, I’m on duty to manage conflicts. So I’d switch from shipping work to household management work with very few breaks. Friday night and Saturday were the first real down time we’ve had all week. Those were the hardest bits, and they’re simple to do differently next time. Everything else worked better and the stress was less intense for being spread out over a week instead of focused on a single day.

Today is Sunday. Tomorrow we ship out the next books. Tuesday I clean up all the messes and make the house back into order. Howard gets back to writing and drawing comics both Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the traveling begins. I suspect we’ll be tired enough to sleep on the plane.