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Con Smarts

A typical DragonCon goer takes an early morning smoke

Sometime between college and Crescent Blues, I lost the ability to sit still in a classroom. Maybe it was the chairs or the fact that "Supervisory Time Management" taught by a guy who isn't directing major projects for several federal departments, running a weekly magazine, writing books and short stories, and managing three households simultaneously lacks a certain degree of credibility.

Though why I should believe anything my college profs taught me about poets and artists four hundred years dead opens a whole other can of worms. But I won't go there. I'd much rather go to DragonCon.

These days, a lot of my continuing education derives from conferences and conventions. At last year's World Fantasy Con, for example, I learned that although I could snag an agent, although I could even snag a very good agent, that didn't mean the agent would be right for me or my writing. (Fortunately, being professionals, our parting proved as genial as our brief relationship.)

So far, in preparation for this year's DragonCon, I've learned that I don't do so well trying to be funny on command. This could be a major problem, since the con drafted Assistant Editor Teri Smith and me to play two of the little robots in a Star Wars version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. You'd think that anything you could say about Attack of the Clowns -- er, Attack of the Clones would be guaranteed to inspire gales of hysterical laughter. I mean, consider the time…

Wait -- I don't want to give away my best lines.

The problem could be that nothing we can say can top the bad acting and worse dialogue of the source material. How can you satirize something that effectively parodies itself?

Of course, that won't stop Teri and me from trying really, really hard. And if that fails, we can always duke out over who gets to play Crow. That, our husbands assure us, should really make the audience scream.

Which qualifies as yet another con-related learning experience -- spouses can be so mean.

Jean Marie Ward

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