Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Time I Tried to Be a Scholar

This past week I had the opportunity to present a paper I wrote to the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. This conference is a magical place. People discuss Doctor Who, fembots, Firefly, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, zombies, and anything else fantasy, sci-fi, or horror at great length. This is a place where being a girl nerd doesn't raise an eyebrow. I wanted to make a good impression.

Of course, I'm also lazy. Before I left for the trip, I entertained the prospect of changing my wallpaper from this:

to something more professional. But that took about twenty seconds of initiative, and I was still working up the initiative to brush my teeth. Plus, I liked looking at it. It's an attractive naked man on a Royal Enfield, can you blame me?

Final edits done at long last, I sat on my panel next to a roguishly attractive Albertan PhD student, who happened to be writing his dissertation on the same subject I was about to speak on.

He asked all Canadian-like and composed.

I cleared my throat. This was my moment. "The environmental apocalypse and human transformations as a result of estrangement from the natural world in Paulo Bacigalupi's 'The People of Sand and Slag.' " I did not stumble, I did not mispronounce a word, I spat that mess of academic language out and god dammit, I sounded smart.

Then I opened my laptop.

And that's the story of what happened when I tried to be a scholar.