And Now Have All My Travels Ended

Viable Paradise XIII is now but a memory, but it’s a good memory: The students were smart and engaged and pretty much all of them will be capable of professional-level work in short order, if in fact they’re not there already. I won’t go too much into detail about the week, since what happens on the island and stays on the island, but I will provide you with the quote of the week, which frankly is even more amusing without context: “Please do not explode into bees whilst you cup my balls.” Yes, you really had to be there for that, and no, it’s not quite as dirty a statement as you might think.

This was my second year teaching at VP and I enjoyed it a little more than the first, not for any external reason (the people in both years were excellent) but because last year was the first year I had ever been an instructor, and I had no idea if I was any good at it. This year I was aware of my particular set of pedagogic strengths and weaknesses and was able to relax a bit more into it. I do think a week is a good amount of time for me to be an instructor, and particularly a week in front of a group of adults self-selected to be interested in what I have to teach. Each time I do this my respect for people who teach full time, and in front of kids who may not be there of their own free will, goes up another notch. This stuff is work, even in the relatively small and easy dose I take it.

Travels yesterday, I’m happy to say, we’re exceedingly pleasant. My journey featured three legs, all tightly packed together and thus full of opportunities to be delayed and miss getting home. But twice I was able to take an earlier flight (from Martha’s Vineyard to Boston and then from Boston to DC) and in all cases flights left and arrived pretty much exactly when they were supposed to. All my travel should run so smoothly.

The really great news, for me, at least, is that all my really major travel is done for the year. I have a number of small trips over the next few weeks, but they’re day trips, and as far as I know the next time I have to be somewhere other than here is next April in Toronto. That hasn’t happened to me, in, like, years, and I hardly know what I will do with myself in the interim. Maybe write another novel? Hey, now, there’s an idea.

This is also a good time to remind folks that for 2010, my public appearance schedule is pretty minimal: I’m in Toronto in April and in Phoenix in May, and that’s pretty much it (Melbourne in September is still being decided). I may pop in to other conventions during the year, but if I do it’ll be as a civilian rather than as a guest or part of programming, which means I mostly intend to hang in the bar with friends. But in general I think 2010 will be a fine year to focus on work, and that’s what I intend to do, without having to worry where in the world I have to be next.

Anyway. Home! It’s a nice place to be.

20 Comments on “And Now Have All My Travels Ended

  1. I was an assistant teacher for one year in High School and oy, it was tough. It was nothing like it was when I was in school.

    With all the distractions and the lack of leverage (“Go ahead, flunk me, I’ll just go get my GED”, “My parent’s don’t give a crap, etc”) made teaching hard. Very.

    I couldn’t imagine being a full time teacher. Just give me nightmares thinking of it.

  2. VP XIII sounds like it went extraordinarily well.
    (I had dinner with Kate, Bart and Mac last night. Don’t worry. No confidences were broken.)


  3. I’m hoping to apply for VP next year, assuming a lot of things fall into place (not the least of which would be me actually writing something for the application).

    My question (which I’m sure is ridiculously premature) is whether you think you’ll be teaching again next year.

  4. *squeal*

    Uhhhh… that wasn’t me. That was… uhh… my new pet micro pig. I swear.

  5. You really HAVE to have a laptop to attend VP, don’t you?


  6. “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

  7. Xopher @6, we had one assignment we had to do “on the spot” (by hand) and at least one student who wrote her longer assignment story longhand. It’s quite possible to do it without a laptop.

  8. Each time I do this my respect for people who teach full time, and in front of kids who may not be there of their own free will, goes up another notch. This stuff is work, even in the relatively small and easy dose I take it.

    Thank you for that. I’m an English adjunct at a couple of community colleges (150% of a full time teaching load at half the pay), and this is the tough part of the semester. Your comment might have just given me the encouragement to return to that stack of essays I just put down.

  9. Darice 9, I was thinking more about editing. I guess I’m not sure what the VP curriculum covers, but I think of the hard part of writing as coming AFTER you’ve written a draft (though that’s hard enough, it’s not intellectually challenging, just time-and-patience challenging).

  10. ohhh – Melbourne. I could be tempted to pop over the ditch from New Zealand if you are going to be there too. I’ll be in need of a break by that time next year and Melbourne is a great place to hang out.

  11. “Each time I do this my respect for people who teach full time, and in front of kids who may not be there of their own free will, goes up another notch. This stuff is work, even in the relatively small and easy dose I take it.”


  12. Xopher 12, I found that editing/rewriting discussion was mostly part of the critiquing process, which is limited to the pieces you submitted for entry and is all done with paper and pen. I currently have a nice stack of manuscript to go through; most of us didn’t have time to jump into rewrites while on the island (not to mention the responses you get are a LOT to process).

    In lieu of laptops, many people (including my roomie and Our Genial Host) brought netbooks, and that seemed to work well for them.

  13. If you make it to one or more of the Michigan cons next year, I’ll probably see you. (I know to check the bar, after all; in fact, even though I knew you were at VP it still felt odd not to see you there when I walked into the hotel bar at ConClave.)

    I would (selfishly) like to see you come to Readercon since I have plans related to a Significant Birthday, but since I can’t rock mine the way Deanna Hoak did hers I doubt that’s much of an incentive for you….

  14. Thank you very much for your time, Scalzi. I learned a lot, and I plan to put it all to good use.

  15. Scalzi has the chops and is a good teacher. Natural talent counts for a lot, even if you’ve only done it a couple of times.

    I could say that the advice Scalzi gave me will probably change the direction of my writing career.

    Yeah. I could say that.