My schedule as Piedmont Laureate has been a bit light to date. It's taken a little time to get stuff onto calendars, but I'm about to launch into a veritable whirlwind of laureation. Most of these events are listed on my schedule, but I wanted to give a bit more detail as to what they are about and who they are intended for. Some also require sign up!
First, while it's not an official Laureate event, I'll be a guest at ConCarolinas in Charlotte May 29-31. If you've never attended a science fiction convention before, this is an excellent one to dive into. It's a celebration of science fiction, fantasy, and superheroes in books, film, games, and more. The schedule is still going through some final tweaks, but as of now I'm on close to a dozen panels, most of them science related. Some of the most memorable conversations I've ever taken part in have unfolded at ConCarolinas, since you can't roll a D20 in the place without it bouncing off of some kind of hyper-intelligent geek. If you don't want to spring for a hotel room, it's on the north side of Charlotte, an easy 2 hour drive from Durham, so popping down just for Saturday programming is easy. Check out their web page at http://www.concarolinas.org/events/
After the Con, I'm back in Hillsborough, this time appearing at the library here with my co-host Nathan Kotecki for a discussion of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. Whenever I list the books that have had the biggest influence on my writing (and on my world view in general), this book is always near the top.
After a very brief week of rest, I jump back into the fray the following week with a discussion of superheroes at the North Regional Library. I'm fascinated by superheroes not for their larger than life adventures and superhuman powers, but by the fact that they figure so prominently in our universal mythologies, and are so easy for us to believe in despite their total contradiction with our observed reality. Why do we believe that a man can fly? Perhaps not intellectually, but certainly on a gut level.
The following week, it's the first of a two-part writing workshop on June 11 and 18 at the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh. Authors have long found inspiration in the natural world. Careful observation of the visible world reveals powerful truths about unseen things. Learn how to make nature your muse. On the first week, after a brief introduction, students will be sent to hunt through the museum to make detailed observations that will provide the seeds for stories. The following week, the participants will share their ideas and fragments of their writing in a group discussion to flesh out their ideas into fully developed stories. This does require advance registration, and there is a small fee. Click this link to register:
The following Saturday, I'm back in Hillsborough for a panel discussion joined by fellow authors Samantha Bryant and Nathan Kotecki. It's "The Hero Showdown," where the panel and the audience will get to debate matchups between iconic fictional heroes. (Not just fights, but some oddball questions as well. Who makes better use of their money? Tony Stark or Scrooge McDuck?) You can visit the library website to nominate heroes in advance!
Then, a mere week later, it's time for yet another workshop, in Raleigh at the Cameron Village Library, entitled "Every Hero has a (Back) Story." Most characters are defined by some major event of their past, a trauma or a triumph that occurred long before the current story starts. How do you integrate this important stuff from the past into the present story in a way that improves both? What are the clichés and pitfalls to avoid? This workshop is free, but does require advance sign up via the event page on the library website.
Then, finally, on the last Sunday of the June, I'm going to be at the West Regional Library in Raleigh for another discussion, this time on Superheroes in Pop Culture. These days, you can't flip through channels without landing on a show where at least one character has a superpower or at least a mask. Every other week brings a new superhero film to the box office, and the graphic novel sections of bookstores have grown from a single small shelf to entire walls. How's a superhero junky to keep up? It's the golden age of superhero media, but can there be too much of a good thing?
Whew! That's a lot of stuff! Did I mention I'm also planning to do a "Century Ride," 100 miles on a bike in a single day on June 21 for the Summer Solstice? It has nothing to do with Piedmont Laureate, of course, but just adds to the general craziness of my schedule next month. Fortunately, I've got two weeks at the beach in July to unwind, before leaping into my next workshop in August!