I never thought that I would be the type that would like presenting in conferences. I’m fine with writing the paper and researching for the paper, but the presenting part…eh, I’m not too fond of. I’m an introvert, so getting up in front of people to speak makes the butterflies flutter relentlessly. I think that I’m starting to get the hang of how to do these things. It sure has been an interesting journey up until this point.

My first conference that I participated in was last year. It was my university’s English Graduate Conference. It was a nerve-wrecking experience, because this was the first time that I had ever written a conference paper. My paper was terrible. It was more plot summary than it was analysis, though I did have an interesting topic. My topic was a comparison between Jack Joseph, the main character from Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder, and Bruce Wayne. I think most of us should be able to figure out who that is. My paper examined the psychological similarities and differences between the two, as both had deaths in their family that shattered them. I’m glad that I still have this paper saved because I would like to go back and touch it up, since I have more experience now.

My second conference that I did was a month later and it was for Steinbeck Day, which we had at Florence-Lauderdale Public Library. I chose to analyze John Steinbeck’s short story, The Vigilante. My paper focused on how Steinbeck’s short story was similar and different to the lynching that took place in San Jose, California in 1933. Steinbeck changed a few things, such as the race of the victims, in order to touch on subjects that were going on during the 1930s. I felt as if my attempt was similar to my graduate conference attempt. I finished my paper extremely late. Matter of fact, it was the night before the conference and I never want to do that again.

After the Steinbeck conference, I had two more attempts that I didn’t capitalize on. The first one was the opportunity to present at the PCA national conference during the summer of last year. I let my nerves get the best of me, as I decided to not participate, due to the event being in Chicago and my fear of being in a city that I don’t know anything about. My second opportunity was this year in February again for my university’s graduate conference. I struggled to find a comic book or graphic novel that I wanted to use and I decided not to submit a proposal.

I received a shot at participating at a Whedon Studies conference in the summer and I couldn’t pass up the chance for redemption. I felt as if everything came together nicely for this event. I wrote a paper that had more analysis than summary and I finished it ahead of time so that I could spend more time editing my work. The folks behind Joss in June 2015 were great and Middle Tennessee State University has a beautiful campus. I still have a few things to learn that I saw others do at the conference. For example, how to make comic book pages/panels as the background to your PowerPoint presentation or incorporating YouTube videos into your presentations.

I’m already getting prepared to write another paper and it’s about my favorite character, Clint Barton. He’s a man who has received several second chances and when he acts on them, he can make one hell of an impact. I can’t wait to attempt another conference.


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