Some of the very best things about WisCon for me this year:
- Talking with the totally awesome Karen Healey (who writes Girls Read Comics) and Robyn Fleming (an editor for Cerise, an online magazine for women gamers of all sorts), and (though I didn't talk with her as much) their friend whose name I never did quite catch. It was exactly the kind of conversation I come to WisCon for--smart, funny, feminist, nuanced, and suffused with geek culture. (Well, okay, I come to WisCon for other reasons too, but that's one of the big ones.) We stayed up until 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning talking, and could easily have kept going if I hadn't happened to notice the time.
- The hugs. People kept coming up to me and hugging me! It was great. One person whom I had never met in person (but whose name I knew from a mailing list) saw me in the hallway and said they liked what I'd posted on the mailing list and asked if I was still looking for hugs; I said yes. A friend gave me great hugs every time they saw me, with the idea that I could save them up for later use, and that if I need a hug sometime in the next year, they could text me to release one of the stored hugs. Yay for hugs!
- On Saturday afternoon, I went to the Fair Trade coffeehouse for a reading. The coffeehouse was too far from the hotel (something like four blocks), and the reading space was too small, and there was too much noise from the main room, so I was all set to be grumpy throughout the reading. (Later, I was chatting with Lena, who was the concom's Readings person, and she had pretty much the same concerns about the venue that I had, even before I voiced them; sounds like they won't be holding readings there again.) But the actual reading turned out to be great. Alice Kim, Meghan McCarron, David Moles, and Dave Schwartz all read really good stuff, and read well. Possibly one of the best con readings I've been to. (I attended some other readings over the weekend, and they were all fairly good; certainly none of them were bad. The other really strong standout that I heard was Ben's, which was practically tailor-made to appeal to me--all sorts of great stuff about gender, in a more or less posthuman setting.)
- Talking with Mary Anne and Ben on the drive to Chicago afterward, even though I was sick (and spent a fair bit of it just listening rather than participating). The kind of far-ranging, fast-paced, nuanced discussion that always seems to happen whenever either one of them is involved. At some point, someone said "How come we never record these conversations?" I would totally sign up for any podcast featuring discussions between M and Ben. Or either of them and anyone else.
- Talking about comics & stuff with Jen W and Megan (sp?) (whose last name I don't know), on Friday at lunch.
- Hanging out and/or talking with Mary Anne at various points during the con, especially a late-night conversation on Sunday night when I was pretty stressed about some stuff that had happened earlier, and she was both comforting and wise, and helped put stuff in perspective and helped me think through things carefully.
The above is just the very best bits; there were plenty of other good things too, of course. Seeing and chatting with assorted friends, most of whom I don't see nearly often enough. Meeting at least five SH authors whom I hadn't met in person before. (At least 40 SH fiction authors were at the con, possibly as many as 45, plus a fair number of nonfiction authors.) Meeting and/or playing with various newish babies. Watching the robot-rights rally that invaded the auction. Seeing Sarah P's new book (and the notes she wrote to the illustrator) and the ARCs for Dave S's. Chatting with Eleanor A about the upcoming sequel(!) to Ring of Swords. (Btw, can any of you recommend some really good OCR software?) Various people cheerfully volunteering to help with various things, mostly involving moving stuff from one place to another. Long conversation on Thursday night with a bunch of great folks, and other conversations throughout the weekend. Good food at various restaurants. People making it clear that they were happy to see me. And lots more stuff that I'm not thinking of offhand because I have very little brain left at this point.
There were, alas, some things that weren't so good. For example:
- My saying some stuff that (a) wasn't good ally behavior and (b) upset someone I like and respect. (I think we've worked this out, but it was distressing all around. Thanks to Jenn R and Mary Anne, among others, for helping me get some clarity on this.)
- My own relatively mild version of the stomach bug that was going around. Thankfully, it seems to be pretty much gone now, though apparently I'll still be contagious for at least a few more days.
- Lack of sleep. I stayed up 'til 4 a.m. on Thursday night, mostly doing magazine stuff (sent about 80 rejections and 5 acceptances on Thurs night and Fri morning), which I justified by the fact that that was still only 2 a.m. California time, which is about when I usually go to sleep. Then I was awakened by someone yelling in the hallway at 8:30. So Friday night I decided to get to bed earlier, but ended up chatting with a friend and then sending email 'til at least 3:30. Got something like 7 hours of sleep, but was still a little tired. So Saturday night I was definitely going to get to bed earlier, but stayed up 'til 4:30 talking with Karen H/Robyn/et al, and then was too wired to sleep until about 6:30. Woke up barely in time to make it to a 10 a.m. reading on Sunday. So I went into Sunday with a total of about 15 hours of sleep over the previous three nights. Sunday night I went back to my room at 2:30 expecting to go to sleep immediately, and then was up, sick, until 4:45, and then woke up at 7:45. And 18 hours of sleep is really not enough when spread across four nights.
- Everyone else getting sick. No good.
- Not getting nearly enough time with various friends. That's always true, but somehow it seemed more so than usual this year--though that may simply be because I spent quite a bit more time than usual with various people who I'd either just met or don't usually tend to hang out with much. All of which was time well spent, so it's not that I regret it; just wish there were more hours in the day. See earlier item about lack of sleep.
- Noise levels at parties. This is nothing unusual; parties are loud. But I really like quiet conversations with friends, and those are hard to have in a party environment, where I often just can't hear anything anyone's saying.
- Not getting any time to speak of with the SH authors who I hadn't met before in person. With most of them, we introduced ourselves and said hello in passing, and that was it. Even with the two who I got to talk with, the conversations didn't last more than about five minutes.
- Missing panels. I often don't go to all that many panels at cons these days, but this time I only made it to one (the Martha Jones one), and not even all of that. I often like WisCon panels, and I kept intending to go to them this weekend, but other stuff kept coming up--readings scheduled at the same time, SH tea party prep, working out how to rent a car for the trip to Chicago, etc. Also missed a few readings I'd have liked to attend, but that always happens.
- Phone problems. There were half a dozen times when Mary Anne and others tried to call or text me about various time-sensitive things, and either my phone didn't ring or I didn't hear it. In the past, I've had very little signal in certain parts of the Concourse (esp. the lobby); this year, the phone said I had lots of signal (perhaps because the iPhone uses AT&T, where my old phone used Sprint), but I nonetheless kept missing calls. Part of the problem was that the custom ringtone I had set for M was very quiet, and part of the problem was that I was often in loud environments; but there were a couple of cases where I actually looked at the phone, saw no messages, and then later discovered that M had called and I'd missed it.
- A couple of times, people I didn't know came up to me and engaged me in conversation, or rather monologue, on topics I wasn't really interested in discussing, in ways that made it difficult to disengage without being rude. Also, a couple of times people I didn't know walked up and joined a conversation in a hallway (not during parties) by stating their opinions on the topic loudly and at length, without listening much and without much regard for the existing conversation's dynamic. This kind of thing happens all the time at most sf cons, but I don't remember it happening to me much before at WisCon--especially not multiple times in one weekend.
- Having to step down from the panel I was going to moderate (my first time as official moderator, though I've quasi-moderated a couple of times in the past) because it was at the same time as the SH tea party--which meant that I was listed on a changes-to-the-program page as not being on the panel, which meant that some people thought I wasn't at the con at all.
I don't want to end this on a down note, so I'll take this opportunity to mention my favorite T-shirt of the weekend: David M's "The Revolution Will Not Be Telegraphed."
Oh, and I took a bunch of photos, but not sure when/if I'll manage to upload them for public display. We'll see.
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