I love WisCon. I really do. It was the first SF/F convention I ever went to. It’s my hometown convention. And I’ve yet to see a Wookie, Cthulu, or Hobbit walking the halls. (I love my friends who are into Cosplay and if Renaissance Faires are cosplay, then I’m into it as well. But I like my ‘cons to be about the writing and the craft, the stories and the business, creation and exploration. BEING a character from my favorite bit of Scifi just isn’t my thing).
This year’s WisCon was the 37th iteration and perhaps my 15th. I’ve gotten better at finding panels that will be beneficial or interesting and a wee bit better at mingling at the parties. This year, as well, I did a reading. It was perhaps my 3rd or 4th time I’ve read. But more on that in a bit.
It may have been me, but it seemed that there were fewer people at WisCon this year. And yet, the panels were as full as usual, the Tiptree Auction was packed, the Guest of Honor speeches standing room only per usual. Maybe I sensed less energy or excitement about the place. The fault, Dear Brutus, may have not been with the ‘con. I had my reading on Sunday night to look forward to, my friend and colleague Kat Beyer was reading from her second novel, and the Guests of Honor, Jo Walton and Joan Slonczewski were interesting to hear and great writers. But the whole thing seemed a bit off.
There have been changes, over the years. I started at WisCon because they had a great track for Writing, including critique groups held on the Friday before the ‘con proper began. I haven’t done one of those for several years (not really since I found my fantastic group of writers) but the focus on writing used to be pervasive. Now it is still a track, but not with as much focus or importance. Just another track of programming lost amid all the others.
There have been great changes. The schedule — always innovative — has moved to an electronic format, an app for iPhone and Android and damn, it is fantastic. Made it so much easier to find what I wanted, when I wanted to go to it, who was on those panels, what other panels are they on, oh I didn’t know that about them! It’s a tech wonder and was one of the most exciting things about this year’s ‘con.
But see? I think that’s the problem. The most excitement I got was from the app! So, my ‘con high had been deflating from about Friday on. Then came Sunday night and the reading I was a part of. I hadn’t met any of these people before Sunday, but they were all good folks, all published writers. They did a drawing for books, and I had none to give away. The reading began after the Guest of honor speeches, 10:00PM on a Sunday night. I had a few friends there and the turnout — considering the time — was actually pretty good. I read, and thought my delivery was fine. My friends there said the applause was sustained and genuine: I didn’t really hear it myself.
That night and all the next day I was in a pretty deep funk. It reminded me nothing so much as of the Mondays after Renaissance Festival: tired, wrung out, worn down. It lasted a day or so, and then I began to feel better, find my energy again.
Good thing, too. Two days later, I had my first writing job.