So here I am back in Madison, Wisconsin for the annual feminist sf convention, WisCon. I just figured out that this is my seventh WisCon, while that’s nothing compared to the folks who’ve come here since the very first one way back in the olden days, it’s pretty damned amazing. There’s no other gathering like this of any kind that I’ve been to that many times. Such a committment!
Not only have I been coming here since 1996, I’ve also been actively involved on the convention committee. First organising the academic programming, and for the last few years, the readings programme, (that is organising the writers who want to read their work aloud for the enjoyment of the rest of us). In the hotel car on the way here from the aiport I got to overhear two of my readers discussing their preparation for their reading. (Don’t worry, I’d already outed myself as the person who organised the readings–I wasn’t spying.) One had read her piece out loud more than ten times! She was determined to have it fit the short time allocated to her and have it make sense. Not easy when you’re reading something from a larger piece. I could have hugged her! That’s just what I want my readers to do. Realise that they’ve got an audience, work on their pieces to make sure they’re not too long, or too boring, get them just right. Those two readers had never been to WisCon before and were nervous and excited and I wanted to hug them for that too. There’s nothing like your first WisCon.
And for the first time ever the con hotel (it’s been in the same hotel for a very long time now) has wireless throughout. I ask you is that a good thing? I mean here I am sitting in my hotel room blogging when I could be out enjoying the beautiful day and buying the damn toothpaste we forgot. Well, it did just enable me to do some actual work, ie send off the last essay of Daughters of Earth to Wesleyan Uni Press. A damn fine essay it is too. In fact, the whole collection is so much better than I’d hoped for (and, trust me, my hopes were high!). I feel like hugging all my contributors too. Hell, WisCon makes me want to hug everyone in the whole world and it hasn’t even started yet.
Here’s to another fabulous WisCon and I hope the newbies have as good a time as I know I will.