It’s a strange world where I need to write a blog entry about this topic.
Recently Editor Megan Fitzpatrick and I have been getting e-mails and phone calls with this basic question: “Why isn’t Schwarz going to Woodworking in America?” Then they ask:
• Is it because Popular Woodworking Magazine doesn’t want him there?
• Is it because I don’t want to attend?
• Is Chris finally getting that gender-changing operation he’s talked about for years?
• And etc.
Here is the real story.
Megan approached me about speaking at the 2014 WIA, and I pleaded for a break. I’ve been a speaker (and usually an exhibitor) at every single WIA since the first one. Whether you know it or not, WIA is exhausting. The month leading up to it is crazy for me – and I don’t even have to help organize it anymore.
I have been trying to reduce my travel schedule so I can spend more time at home. This year I’ll be on the road for almost 18 weeks, and that is an easier schedule than 2013.
So I asked for a year off, and Megan gave it to me.
As it so happens, I have been scheduled to speak to the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association on Sept. 12-14 for almost two years now (we started negotiating this in 2010 when I was still editor of the magazine). That particular weekend is, you guessed it, where F+W decided to put WIA in 2014.
As a result, the conspiracy theories have abounded: I am snubbing WIA. I purposefully scheduled a conflicting event. I’m not really cutting back on traveling. Those are all false.
I’m going to honestly miss Woodworking in America this year. It is probably the single-strongest line-up of speakers the event has ever had. And it’s in Winston-Salem, N.C., where you can sample Old Salem and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), one of my favorite museums in the country.
If you haven’t been to WIA, I recommend it. It’s the biggest woodworking geek-fest I’ve ever attended, and you will make new friends and learn a ton of amazing stuff.
And, as a bonus, you don’t have to watch me rub my nipples (a nervous tic) when I’m presenting. A double victory.
— Christopher Schwarz