Happy Anniversary to… me!

Well, not blogging in general, but certainly just over a year of blogging here at skittykittyphd.wordpress.com. I’m a bit of an old hand at WordPress (after 5 years of using this platform, I’m slowly getting better at using it). Things have definitely changed in the year that I’ve started the PhD – my topic has evolved at least in 10 different ways from even the proposal. I’d barely recognise it in a line-up, I imagine (though seeing different papers in a line up is somewhat disturbing!). I’ve met some amazing people and gone to all sorts of places that I never would have imagined before!

I’ve managed to deliver some papers at conferences, which I’m really happy to have done. I know I’ve performed poetry before, but reading out prose as opposed to poetry is *so* different to me, plus the time you spend actually… speaking. I know roughly how long 5 minutes is during free flow talking because that’s the time limit I am used to. Papers are typically 20 minutes at least – that’s 4 times as long. Plus, chuck some academics in the room and the potential for it to be scary is like stretching a rubber band. And… teenagers! I have taught *gulp* teenagers! Science Fiction! Teenagers! Yes, me! I’m still digesting this fact – and I enjoyed it too!

However for me, I’ve finally shed off this pessimistic layer like an old coat. The feeling I have nowadays for me, having dipped a toe in all this academic stuff, is that I’m just happy to be here. Seriously. It’s like a perpetual holiday for me. I get to read and write stuff without feeling guilty or that I’m skiving off work (which I used to do when I was working in different environments in my life!). Of course I’m stressed right now as it’s coming up to my upgrade and I can’t write pure academic stuff for toffee (which is a shame, as I love toffee and wouldn’t mind being paid in it) but you can be stressed on holiday. It’s still a stressed you, you’re just in another place. If you get me.

So yes, here I am with a million new ideas under my belt and time to experiment. As I said before, just happy to be here, sir!

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Let my writing go – an odd thought!

It’s quite understandable when people write in their stereotypical garrets, afraid to let their writing “fly” – I don’t mean making a paper aeroplane out of them and hurling them out of the window… sorry for being facetious… but to be read in the public arena, as it were. The advent (hardly nowadays I guess) of online publishing has changed that to quite a degree – the world and its wife are bloggers nowadays – but there is a certain tension, fear, excitement and apprehension about showing your written work.

With my previous stints in editing and script reading, I sort of know what it’s like on both sides of the fence. Films are my blind spot, although I can imagine the intensity of the impact that others will have on your writing.

(OK, for the following, you’re going to have to imagine your writing as your kid. A writing project is often referred to as a labour of love, so not too hard to picture, right?)

Editing prose and so on seems to me, then, like sending your kid to have a hair cut or getting new shoes. Obviously they look different, but erm… you should recognise them. Just little changes here and there for the house style and what-have-you but still blatantly them.

The development of plays and so forth is like sending your kid to a nursery or primary school – they get to muck around , play with other people and basically learn through the act of “doing”. Parents can come in and help with certain things (blatantly to make sure that their kid hasn’t aged 20 years and is promptly going around the world on business within the few hours that she/he stays there), so you can keep track of how she/he is doing. I love being present at rehearsals and it’s great to see how your writing develops.

From what I can gather with film, it’s like leaving your teen at a university, with a few props for them to remember you by. You then anxiously cling to social media updates and frequently check on them online to see them smashing hotel rooms, recording odd tracks (not in *our* day!) in garage band and posting statements in odd flavours under the guise of “banter”.

Just a little placeholder…

It’s almost been two weeks since I’ve updated, I realise!

Last week, I was at a conference where I delivered my first ever paper – Whose topia is it anyway? at the conference of Adam Roberts’ works at Lincoln. It was a great experience and a lovely opportunity for me to see the city and university – unfortunately I couldn’t stay longer – and as I’ve said before, first times are often where benchmarks are set. I’m glad I’ve emerged from it raring to go, especially as I have another conference coming up on Saturday! When I have more time, I’ll do a longer review on this.

Writing wise – I’ve been doing some more monologue work. I’m trying to do something with mixed media and am hoping to get some filmed eventually. There’s a nice space between SciFi short story and the monologue that I hope to navigate. The House AI play that I’m doing has been on a little hiatus – but I’ve gotten the conversation down. I do need some guinea pigs to see how effective it is. The thing is, that quantum realities are going to be carried out in the house as the AI is hacked (yes, I do realise how hard this is going to be to stage – I’ve been racking my brains out like MAD over this). Suggestions and answers are welcome!

But what I’m focusing on mostly is this paper coming up, then I’m getting back on with the work for my upgrade!

I also have an announcement, one that I will elaborate on when I have more time, but at the conference, the amazing Christos Callow from Lincoln announced that he and I have been planning to hold a convention on Science Fiction Theatre –  the first of its kind next year! All very exciting!