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A moofable feast.

Be brave enough to burn and you'll be brave enough to fly.

STATUS: Wednesday, June 1st
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The Daily Report

Well, as frequently happens this time of year, I just got back from my best WisCon ever. I felt weird initially, as it felt like something was subtly off about the con or the reception I received there. It wasn’t hostile, wasn’t even unfriendly, just different in a way that initially registered to me as colder. When it settled into me what had changed, though, I realized it wasn’t a bad thing: I wasn’t giving off any “lost/newbie/overwhelmed” signals so no one was coming to my rescue or acting to put me at my ease. Because I didn’t need any such attention, I didn’t miss it, but because it had always been a part of my initial con experience each year, I did notice a difference.

As soon as I realized what that difference was, I made a point to pay things forward. I looked for people who looked lost. I listened for questions in crowded hallways. I broadcast on Twitter when we would be going to the pool so that other congoers would know 1) there is a pool, 2) they wouldn’t be the only con folks there if they went, and 3) they wouldn’t be the only trans and/or queer people in the pool, if applicable. I made a point to make myself available to people who felt alone or unsafe. I think in doing so I made at least one really good friend of someone I was only sort of tangentially in generalized internet/fandom contact with before.

When I lay it all out like that in paragraph form, it sounds like a job in the sense of a thankless chore, and while it is certainly labor that takes time and energy (and labor that is worth valuing as labor), it’s not a matter of “I did this instead of enjoying the con and hanging out with people”. It was the structure by which I spent some of my time enjoying the con and hanging out with people.

Because I saw this con from a very different perspective than previous ones, I also came from it with what I feel is a better understanding about certain dynamics. I will write a bigger blog post about this in more detail in the near future, but the short version is that I’ve realized the merit of doing fan events in giving people who admire and enjoy one’s work a context and framework in which they know that stepping forward and interacting with you is not just acceptable but welcome.

So that coupled with the knowledge (pointed out by Jack) that next summer is the 10th anniversary of Tales of MU’s launch led me to an off-the-cuff Twitter announcement: next year, at WisCon 41, I will be hosting a 10th birthday party for Tales of MU. Or maybe a 10 year class reunion. I don’t know. We have a year to sort that out, and if you’re a MU reader and/or a fan of mine who has been interested in coming to WisCon and/or meeting me, you have a year to plan your trip. WisCon always takes place on Memorial Day weekend, always in beautiful downtown Madison, Wisconsin, and is always is held at the Madison Concourse Hotel (so if you’re early enough in reserving your room that you can get one in the main hotel, you do not have to worry about travel logistics or going outside to get to the main con events).

Economic Outlook

Pretty good! I had really been hoping my Patreon would blow up before the end of the month in a way that it didn’t, but my WorldCon fund did in a way that I really didn’t think it would. I have everything except for the hotel taken care of, will be buying memberships as soon as funds clear.

I do have to unexpectedly buy a new bluetooth keyboard, as my old one died during the con. That’s a minor expenditure.

The State of the Me

You know, when I announced that I was going to get Tales of MU running on a multi-update basis again on June 1st and when I decided I was going to start all these cool new things in June, I was under a mistaken impression about the distance between the con and the end of May. I was figuring that would give me a bit under a week of recovery time and padding between the end of the con and when I needed to kick things into high gear. I’m not sure from where I got that impression, but I had it, and it was wrong.

Turns out that’s okay. Despite having come back to a house that was swelteringly hot and has very little of the sort of food that I need to be eating, despite having had a fairly restless night, today, the day after I got home, I am feeling pretty good. This is my best post-con day ever. Mentally and physically. I can feel the touches of fatigue, but I’m not exhausted, there’s not all-encompassing cognitive fog, I haven’t forgotten all my big plans and dreams, and I’m ready to go on putting them in order. I’m a little unfocused, insofar as I wrote most the daily report section of this post then got caught up in household-organizational stuff (putting things back in order after almost a week with other people living here instead of us) and talking on the twitters about the free speeches.

Plans For Today

Okay. So. Today’s the beginning of the next book of Tales of MU. Big doings there in the afternoon. Between now and then, I’m going to be blogging a lot, though I’m not yet sure if it will be lots of small posts or fewer, bigger ones. I have a lot to say.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/727844.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.

An observation.
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I used to have a lot of stress whenever I would notice two of my friends didn’t get along. I’d start wondering which of them I should be supporting, what each of them would think when/if they saw me retweeting/reblogging or talking to the other, stuff like that.

I’d see people about the internet get in these huge blow-ups around this kind of thing, and when I was younger I was certainly friends with people who would actively divide any community in which they entered into sides labeled “with me” and “against me”. Without putting it into words, I had internalized the notion that this is a thing that happens, that it’s part of the nature of friendship.

I recently came to a stunning realization that changed how I see the world and my place in it, though: I’m not friends with anyone who thinks this way. I actually have friends—good friends, very good friends—who have bent over backwards to avoid even the appearance of telling me who I can be friends with, who have kept their grievances against other people quiet around me out of deference for my friendship.

And the thing is, there have been cases where learning about the way one person I call friend treated other people (sometimes but not always other people I called friend) did change how I felt about that person to the point that it cooled or ended the friendship. But that’s me making the free choice about how my time and energy and affection are spent, not someone leaning on me to make me pick a side.

At WisCon this year, I spoke on a panel geared at “social justice newbies” about curbing the desire to pick a side and saddle up and ride when you see a conflict. Which is not to say don’t have principles or don’t stand by them, it’s simply to say: resist the temptation to reduce a situation to a battle between sides. I wasn’t thinking of this at all in terms of interpersonal relationships, but it’s there, too. Just because two people appear to be in opposition doesn’t mean it’s a battle and it doesn’t mean they need an army. They might just be two friends who have a difference of opinion or  a lot of feelings or even a friend who wronged a friend and who needs to make it right… but in that last case, what probably needs to happen first is for them to back away and get out of a defensive head space and the last thing they need is for someone to come along and join in just when it’s all dying down.

Or they might be enemies. They might have a deep philosophical difference that can’t be bridged. One or both of them might have wronged the other so badly they can’t possibly get along.

But if they’re not asking you to take sides, they probably don’t want you to and they certainly don’t need you to.

Nothing here against people who do ask for support when they’re having difficulty with another individual. Nothing here against people who point out that when you prioritize making someone’s abuser or attacker feel welcome in a shared/public space, you make them unwelcome and the space unsafe. Nothing here at all against the idea of making a stand or being choosy about with whom you associate based on how they treat others.

But, man… letting go of the idea that the world is made up of sides and the only way to interact with a situation is to pick one is just so terribly freeing.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write. Please leave any comments there.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/728297.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.

WorldCon plans.
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So, until about two weeks ago, the notion of me attending WorldCon in August, when it’s hosted by Mid AmeriCon II in Kansas City, was a pretty distant dream. This weekend, I made tentative plans to attend WorldCon 75 in 2017, when it will be in Helsinki. This possibility was not even on my radar, to the extent that I told one of the chairs of WorldCon 75 that I had supported the Helsinki bid, even though there was a close to 0 percent chance that I could make it there. This turned out to be the most awkward thing I could have said at that moment, because it turned out she had approached me to extend a personal invitation for me to be there.

Now, before certain conspiratorial tongues begin wagging, let me explain a few things about how this works in the real world. When I say that she invited me personally, I mean that she said to me, as a person, “You should totally come!”, a statement which grants me no perks or privileges beyond those of any individual who is aware of the con and its attendance policies. When I say I was invited, what I mean is I was invited to purchase transportation to Finland, membership in the convention, and food and lodging while I am there.

I say this not to shame her for expecting me to pay my own way, but because I am an adult human being who understands how things work in the real world. The chair of a convention has very little power and very much responsibility. She cannot waive the con’s fees that pay for its existence and operation. She cannot access some bottomless pool of money to pay for things beyond the con’s control, like airfare. A literary sf/f con does not have the budget of a big media con, and even big media cons wouldn’t last if they paid for the appearance of people who do not bring in even more money for the convention in return.

Yet there are people out there who don’t know how the world works, but who imagine they do, and who imagine that these affairs are endless circles of cliquish nepotism where insiders pay each other to travel and lounge around and speak as experts. Two years ago there was a trumped-up tempest in a teapot “outrage” where people who had barely heard of me and only just heard of WisCon believed I was being paid to fly in and speak about “Social Justice” because I was on a panel about internet culture. This year someone interpreted my announced plans to be at World Con to mean that I was likewise a paid guest, and that’s the charitable interpretation where that rumor didn’t start as a deliberate lie.

Now, I want to mention the fact that a chair of World Con 75 personally invited me to fly out to Helsinki and participate because, heck, let’s face it… that’s pretty cool, isn’t it? She told me, in so many words, “You’re part of this. You’re part of this world, part of the community. You’re the real deal. You belong here.” That’s cool.  Now, I don’t mean to suggest that the chair of a WorldCon has the authority to act as gatekeeper for who belongs in sf/f fandom, because she doesn’t. The chair of a convention basically only has the authority to throw a convention, and that only just barely. But anybody has the power to give another human being validation, and I got some from a person who is helping to head up the 75th World Science Fiction Conviction in Helsinki in 2017, and that’s something worth mentioning.

It’s just a shame that I can’t mention it without translating for those who fevered imaginations have overcome their grip on reality. Just you watch, come next year or even as soon as WorldCon 74 is over and I begin firming up my plans for 75, there will rumors swirling about what I’m being paid or what’s being paid for. I’d give even odds that someone even links to this post with a claim that if you “read between the lines” it says this, or there’s a “clear implication” it says that… I mean, we’re talking about the people who took David Gerrold’s ironclad (and very proper) insistence that all nominees and winners would be accorded all decorum and respect at the WisCon 73 Hugo ceremony last year as an open promise to do the opposite.

This is probably the last time I’ll bother qualifying something neat like “a WorldCon head personally told me she’d be jazzed if I were there” by explaining the real world to dedicated denizens of a carefully constructed artificial reality, for the simple reason that I know it doesn’t work. It’s more my fascination with the disconnect between actual reality on the ground and the stories that swirl based on a few glimmers of that reality and much speculation that prompts this post.

What a different world we live in than the one that is ascribed to us.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/728508.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.