An improvised Wednesday

Today was interesting, although in much more pleasant ways than yesterday was, despite the rain.

At the office, we had one our semi-regular “brown bag lunches,” meaning not only free pizza (and not having to venture out in the rain for lunch), but a surprisingly fun interactive presentation on the basics of improv — what it is, how it’s done, and how it applies to business and life. I had some improv experience with the Penn State Monty Python Society, though with mixed results and more short-form games, the sort you’d see on Who’s Line Is it Anyway and the like. Today’s “class” was more about basics of movement and communication, and, as I said, it was surprisingly fun and only a little embarrassing. Despite my own limited success with it, practicing improv games with the Python Society in, I guess, the late ’90s, was probably some of the most fun I had with the group.

After work, I did eventually have to go out into the rain, to attend yet another panel discussion at Manhattan’s Center for Fiction. Tonight’s was “Big Read: The Wave in the Mind: A Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin,” with authors John Wray, N.K. Jemisin, Ellen Kushner, Michael Swanwick, and moderator David G. Hartwell discussing “Le Guin’s legacy from the Earthsea books to her influence on today’s new writers.”

“What is her influence in the field?” Swanwick mused at one point. “You might as well ask what is the influence of salt in the ocean.”

It looks like video from at least the first two talks I’ve been to have been put online, if you’d like to take a look. The utopia/dystopia one skirted a little too far afield of the topic, I think, but both it and the “why does fantasy matter” discussion were both quite interesting. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before last week’s YA talk and tonight’s Le Guin tribute find their way online.

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