Picking up the WisCon…

Picking up the WisCon reporting with report #4. I'm still going to skip over one panel, in the hopes of getting a transcript to work from. So back to that later.

I managed to swing by the Strange Horizons 10th anniversary tea party; I just caught the tail end, but it seemed to still be going strong. Susan paused the party to lead the crowd in a round of applause for me, which was lovely. I had a little piece of celebratory cake, even though I was starting to overdose on sugar, for luck. One decade down -- many to go! I still remember who told me that we were unlikely to last more than a year...but I will be kind and not name names. :-)

Then dinner at Ventiane Palace with a whole horde of people, too many to name, and honestly, I don't remember some of their names. But still fun -- had my typical Thai iced tea and spicy plate, and it was good (though a bit saltier than I remember). Back to the hotel to read my speech aloud once, editing as I went and timing it -- 18 minutes. Told it to print. Then got dressed in my sari (love the new sari, it's gorgeous), had a thought about order of paragraphs, sat down and made one change that make the piece much better. Told it to print again. Gathered myself and headed down to join the crowd. Was too nervous to eat, so I held Jed's hand, listened to the intros, listened to Nnedi's great GOH speech, and tried to calm down.

The Guest of Honor speech was frankly terrifying. Some of that was the content of the speech, some of it was speaking to almost a thousand people, including a ton of people whose opinion I really value. I've addressed WisCon in the past, but only for little blurbs for Carl Brandon and such-like. This was different. I could wish that I'd started a week earlier, so I could have fine-tuned the speech a bit more; I was a little repetitive, and some of the jumps were perhaps a bit too jumpy. (Though I did mean them to be actual jumps, rather than smooth transitions.) I was editing up until the last minute -- until they started introducing Nnedi's speech, I was scribbling little notes on my print-out. But all caveats aside, I'm reasonably happy with the speech.

It feels a little weird putting it online, since it's aimed rather specifically at WisCon attendees, and in some ways, a particular subsection of them at that. But maybe it will be of interest to others as well. And several people have asked to see the transcript, so here it is. A video will be sent to me; unless I chicken out, I'll put that up on YouTube when it arrives. I'm told that the speech brought tears to a few eyes, which I think I'm going to claim as evidence of success. One person did tell me she thought it was the best WisCon speech ever, and while I don't agree with her, that was certainly nice to hear. :-)

Wrap-up in one last post to come.

12 thoughts on “Picking up the WisCon…”

  1. I knew I’d regret not being able to come this year. Getting to read your speech both confirmed and consoled that regret!

  2. Mary Anne, I thought you were so brave speaking up about the stresses of taking care of a baby. Most people have a delusion that a woman becomes the epitome of patience the moment she gives birth. Your speech was great over all but that bit struck home with me.

  3. That was an amazing speech, so real and raw and honest and encouraging. I certainly had tears in my eyes.

    I’m so glad I finally got to meet you in person! As soon as I take the pictures off my camera, I’ll send the one of us to you.

  4. i am so thrilled to have met you ever so briefly after the language of fail panel. i thought, wow, she is brave and honest and smart as hell.

    your absolutely gorgeous speech confirmed that first impression and then some. i was weepy, bouncing up and down, and screaming for joy during that gigantic standing ovation that you richly deserved. thank you for sharing so much of your beautiful self with us.

  5. Some of what I guess were ad libs are missing from the posted speech — such as your line about always having wanted the opportunity to call you’re parents and say “I’m going out with a Sri Lankan doctor… you’re going to love her.”

  6. Ben, I think that was actually from the Thursday night Guest of Honor reading? Although I may be confused…

  7. Ah, that’s where it was! Okay, another missing ad lib: after predicting TransFail, DisabilityFail, etc., you added something on the lines of “Or maybe they are happening, and I just haven’t noticed them yet.”

  8. Ah, that’s a good one — I thought of that on the fly, because of something I’d read on Twitter earlier in the day. Maybe I should add that back in to the typed version?

    I don’t have a copy of the video yet — I don’t know if I should try to reconcile the two, make the text version a transcript of the actual speech? Or let them be separate and slightly different?

    Some of the ad libs were very specific to that time and place — referencing the imposter syndrome panel, for example, which got a big laugh at the time, but is certainly tangential to the post.

  9. And everyone else, thanks very much for the kind words. I’m so glad you liked the speech.

  10. Well, you’re right, it may not be worth going over everything again. Best just to call it a draft rather than a transcript, especially if you’re going to post the video anyway!

  11. Philosophical musing re speeches: on the one hand, it seems to me that when people (such as politicians) send out copies of their speeches (to newspapers, say) for publication, what they’re publishing is the speech as written rather than the speech as delivered; in fact, I think they often send out those copies before the speech is delivered.

    So yesterday when Mary Anne asked me what I thought about the discrepancies, I said there’s no need for this to be a transcript of the speech as delivered; it can be just a copy of the original speech as written.

    But now it occurs to me that when I’m looking for a text copy of a speech online, what I want really is a transcript; it can be a little frustrating to only be able to find the original.

    So I’m less sure than I was yesterday. And yet, going through and transcribing the differences seems like a lot of work. Maybe the thing to do is just to add a note to the top of the text version mentioning that this is the original version, not a transcript? And that the video will be forthcoming?

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