Sandra and I have returned from the 2018 Writing Excuses Retreat. This was the sixth year the event has been held, and it was the fourth year it’s been held aboard a ship.
It was wonderful.
Sure, I got to see the ship’s medical bay¹, and I’m nine pounds heavier than I was two weeks ago, but it was totally worth it. I ruined comedy for all the students by showing them how the sausage is made, I saw a sunrise take shape across the Gulf of Mexico, and as an unexpected and delightful bonus I got back just in time to celebrate NASA’s 60th birthday on stage for an episode of Houston, We Have a Podcast.²
We’ll open registration for next year’s event sometime in the next three weeks, but you can pencil in some dates on your calendar now.
WXR19 runs from September 13th to the 25th of 2019, starting in Houston, and progressing to Galveston, then setting sail. I think it’s around $1,900 for nine days of writing, instruction, networking, and flash-mobbing one of the bars on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.
I’m already looking forward to it, but I’m also quite happy to be home. I’ve got comics to draw, and (at least) nine pounds to lose.
¹ Laryngitis. Very annoying, but at least I was done teaching by that point.
² Our episode will air in mid-October. I’ll link to it, because holy crap I was in the auditorium in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and they gave me a live mic.
I’m fifty years old.
I don’t want skull-shaped balloons¹, or a headstone-shaped cake. I just want to get my stuff done, and be surrounded by people who are happy. If the pattern holds true, my own happiness will follow pretty naturally on that, especially if the stuff I’m getting done is stuff that helps the people around me be happy, and happens to be fun to do.
It didn’t take the full fifty years for me to figure that out, but it did take longer than I wanted it to.
¹ Okay, skull-shaped balloons shaped liked actual skulls could be pretty nifty, but don’t bother with the grave-cake. Grey frosting is for yuck.
I had an epiphany several weeks ago, a vision of sorts in which I could see very clearly what kind of lighting I needed on my drawing table. This led (hah!) to an investigation of LED strips, which in turn yielded better lighting in my office.
And then I turned my attention to the replica BH-209i plasgun that Doc made for me. The hardest part was threading two-conductor wire through it.
I may upgrade it with a warmer¹ set of LEDs, or perhaps some colored ones², but for now it’s just fine. Doc, thanks again for the gift that I didn’t know I needed until it arrived!
¹ I used a double-wide strip of 5000k LEDs, giving an almost blue-white color (described as “cool white.”) . Warmer would be 3000k, like this roll I just started playing with.
² Color-changing LEDs would require threading a 5-conductor wire through the plasgun, rather than the simple two-conductor speaker wire I used for this. Cycling between yellow and red-orange would be nifty, but I think I’d have to design my own strand for that.
I’ll be attending ConFusion Through The Looking Glass in Detroit this weekend. I’m not on any panels (by choice) and I’m neither exhibiting (by choice) nor selling merchandise (you see the pattern here). I’m just hanging out.
If you’re there and would like something signed, and you happen to see me, it’s okay to ask. If I’m in the middle of something (like, say, a dinner with friends) then use good judgment.
I may bring work with me, so it’s possible you’ll see me sitting somewhere drawing comics. It’s just fine for you to talk to me while I’m drawing. Literally half my brain will be looking for something to do while the other half makes pictures, and since it’s the half with the language center, conversation fits the bill nicely.