Friday, July 8, 2022

it's ready

Amid all the disastrous succession of mostly public bad news (I don't consider Boris's resignation to be good news, but the cessation of bad news, not that it's likely to help the UK's sorry political situation much), I have one piece of personal good news.

I've finished writing my Mythcon Guest of Honor speech. I'll be delivering it three weeks from tomorrow.

This had been worrying me, because I get ideas for scholarly papers but have trouble bringing them to completion. I considered and discarded two ideas for this speech before settling on one that I thought would work. I'd dredged my way through about a third of the writing before I looked through the notes I'd made, oh, nine or ten years ago, for a previous conference presentation that was never finished or published, and which I wanted to draw on here, to discover that the notes were a lot more thorough and complete than I'd remembered. (I really could have finished it up then.)

All of a sudden my paper wasn't one-third finished, it was two-thirds finished, and that gave me the vim to finish the rest up in short order. My writing is a transcription of my talking, and I love writing when what I'd say if I were talking with passion and interest manages to come out through my fingers and down on the page or screen. For me that's natural. Authors whose writing doesn't resemble the way they talk startle me.

I read it out and it came to 58 minutes, so I cut about 5-8 minutes' worth, putting that in footnotes so I can restore it for the published version.

Since then I've been tinkering with it, correcting mostly unclear reference (pronouns where they shouldn't, jumps in thought where I left a stage implied, etc.) and a big flaw of my writing, compound sentences that could easily be separated. I write that way because I see everything I say as flowing together into a single entity. In school I had trouble understanding the concept of paragraphing. "Start a paragraph when you begin a new subject," the teacher said, and I replied, "But the whole paper is about one subject." Eventually I figured that one out, but I still write that way.

As a result of my style of writing, it's usually good for oral presentation, and I've always enjoyed giving papers at Mythcon. I'm looking forward to this one, and I hope my little coterie of fans (I know who you are) are looking forward to it also. I hope to spark some discussion with this one: I have a couple little surprises for you.

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