Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not far from the tree...

I went to my Ph.D. advisor's Christmas party last night. They're always potluck, and they're always fun, and they're always full of people who love to talk about what they're studying/researching/working on. Last night there were a lot of people working on language learning and technology. Lots of discussion of foreign countries and languages and cultural differences.

The great thing is, I still fit in with this group. My advisor and the folks there loved hearing about writing science fiction. Thing is, I'm still doing a lot of what I was doing then: working with foreign culture and subtleties of misunderstanding in communication; looking closely at language and analyzing it for how the message is delivered and all that. I told several people that I really have gotten where I am with my writing because I took Claire's (my advisor's) discourse analysis class. Yes, Claire said, but you also have the creativity and imagination.

I see her point, but the fact of the matter is, she really contributed something crucial to where I am today. I gave her a copy of Analog magazine containing my story, "Let the Word Take Me."

For the title and illustration page of that story, Dr. Stan Schmidt wrote an exceedingly astute summation, namely:

Language is more than just words. Sometimes much more.

Whether in academia or science fiction writing, fundamentally, that's what it's always been about.