The Loneliest Lighthouse and Other Wackiness

It’s a pretty good Sunday. My first paper of my three thesis papers is ready to go, which puts me a little behind, but has given me a much better handle on what it takes to write a paper at this level and the kinds of things I need to be thinking about. My research and plans for my second and third papers are already finish, and I start my work on the role of authenticity in social media tomorrow. 

All in all, it’s been a pretty quiet week. I spent most of it in my office, trying to get this paper ready and designing games with my officemate (we’ve been averaging about one game a month this year, and it’s a lot of fun, if a little distracting). I also had a couple of meetings with some academic societies concerning their social media strategies, which were highly productive. I’m working on a couple of short posts for the Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization, which examines the way we look back on medieval life and represent it in the media. It’s all over the place, from Diablo III to the Avengers to Capital One commercials. We’re a world fascinated with the middle ages, whether we realize it or not. There’s some pretty interesting things coming down the pike from them, including a Cloud Conference for this year’s International Conference on Medievalism.

I also orchestrated the relaunch of Labyrinth, a blog and student resource for classical and medieval studies at the University of Waterloo. We tried to start it up back in fall, but fell short because most of our committee was swallowed by graduate school, and we didn’t really have a handle on what we were doing or how to plan it. Now that I do, I’m working with some of the students and alumni to put together some great posts on classics and medieval elements in movies, books and games, as well as bits of fiction, lessons in Latin and ancient Greek, some music, some video, and general tips for student survival. Check it out, or chat with us on Twitter at @UWLabyrinth.

Mostly though, it’s been a week for weird ideas. I keep wanting to write strange pieces of short fiction, whether that’s about Sharon, Lois and Bram as lost warriors from a fantasy world or a Puritan train station where the guards nervously check unattended smiles. A lonely lighthouse that hasn’t seen a ship in decades; Billy, the little catapult that could; or a detective novel parlour scene that happens in an elevator. Strange things really, that I might make a space for here or somewhere else once I recover some focus. I can’t shake the feeling that these are ideas that matter while the academic stuff is so many farts in a whirlwind. I’ll learn something by writing them, and I will write them, hopefully before the end of the summer. I have a fiction project I want to launch as well, but I’m trying not to lose focus on my papers. Fifty more pages and a pile of editing and I am ready to go. What are the weird ideas that dominate your brain when you’re not looking?

TPK this week touched on using touchy subjects in worldbuilding, and had a wiki update about dwarves, because dwarves. Concept Crucible featured a post about being wrong, along with the second last substitution rule, Exportation. On top of that, I reblogged a post I wrote about why it’s important to study classics over at Labyrinth. Let me know what you think.

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