A long overdue note here about my recent experience at Geek Girl Con in Seattle last month. It was a tremendous event: thoughtful, well-organized (great volunteers, no A/V issues, everything on time!) and very welcoming. Perhaps it goes without saying, but this is the kind of event that 15-year-old Tammy could have only dreamed about. Among my favorite things at the Con was seeing whole families decked out in costumes together.
The panel I put together was Sporty Geek: How Roller Derby and Quidditch are the Changing the Game for Women. I was lucky enough to have one of the founding skaters from Rat City Rollergirls on the panel, along with the two co-founders/co-captains of the Cornish School of the Arts Quidditch team. I have to say: all four of us were pretty surprised at how much these two sports had in common — not in terms of the sport, but definitely in terms of the sporting culture. Also: I learned about KIDDITCH (muggle kid Quidditch) and I’ll be darned if it doesn’t sound like the most awesome thing ever.
Here’s a write-up of the event over at CNN, along with a shout-out to my panel. Hooray! Many thanks to the team over at Geek Girl Con for putting together a great event.
It’s early summer in Brooklyn, which means that Greenpoint, where the new StellarEngine HQ is located, often smells like rain and warm cinnamon rolls. It’s conventional wisdom that everyone wants to get out of New York City when the temperature goes way, way up, but I think this is often New York City is at its sweaty best. No green space goes unused, and everyone seems to be taking it just a little slower.
Ehren and I recently did this for Slate: Ugh, You’re Probably a Directionator, which reminded me again why fandom will always and forever be one of the best things to write about.
Also: I’m going to be doing a panel at Geek Girl Con in Seattle in August. Talking ‘bout geeks and sports, both near and dear to my heart. Give me a shout if you’ll be there, too.
Let’s all enjoy the sunshine and take care of each other.
From the shameless promotion department: I collaborated with Ehren on a Hunger Games slideshow for Slate this week. Big props to our friend Darrel H. for the snaps.
So a couple of my articles from recent years have found second homes in educational texts:
Making Geek Chic is here.
Ladies Camp Rock is here.
I don’t know that I’m supposed to admit this, but I’m delighted on a million levels that my essays about tech crafting and Wizard Rock might be used in college or high school classes. It’s the same feeling I have when I’ve come across my work on horror movies included in a college syllabus.
I started a PhD program at the age of 23 and left it two years later for a giant list of reasons. I spent years afterwards feeling like a Big Failure, and when that feeling subsided, it was replaced with a feeling that graduate school was going to be the Big Unfinished Business (BUB) of my life. I moped around a lot in my own head, wondering if my inner academic had any reconcilable place in my life.
Right before I left Berkeley, I had a conversation with a wonderful professor who didn’t start down her career path in academia until she was in her thirties. She had sort of a meteoric rise to the tenure track, but she was super down-to-earth. When I shared with her that I was leaving Berkeley, all sweaty palms and barfynervous about letting her down, she told me two things. The first was that there was more than one way to be a part of the conversation — why not be an independent scholar or writer? The second was, simply, “Life is long.” At the time, I didn’t believe the first thing and I didn’t understand the second.
More than a decade later, I totally understand the first thing and I’m starting — really starting — to believe the second.
Most of my energy these days is devoted to the great and sprawling craziness that is running StellarEngine. It seems like we’re growing busier (I mean both of those things) every day. I don’t make much room for writing. But it’s here. It ebbs right now, and that’s fine, because gone is the BUB. I’ve realized: I’m just getting started.
Life is long. The past six months should probably make me feel that life is actually short: I lost my last living grandparent last fall, a woman who was a fierce mentor to me, and then I watched my mother and my partner spent time in the hospital battling through a lot of health issues. But here we are. We’re in it, and we’re in it together, and it’s so important to celebrate the moments when we feel utterly awesometastic because we’ve got a long way to go and no matter where we are, we’re probably still just getting started.