You know, these days I…

You know, these days I go to SF conventions because it's part of the business of being a writer; that's why I don't bring my little kids, because I'd inevitably be on mom-duty some of the time, and while I'm at the con, I'm in full writer mode. I'm usually presenting on panels, like the one I'm doing at ICFA next weekend, and when I'm not on panels or attending panels, I'm often having conversations about my work or other people's work, conversations that push my ideas further.

Today, for example, I spent a while talking to Kevin Andrew Murphy, another Wild Cards writer, about the stories we're working on for the next volume, and I figured out new things about the story and the collaborative process in the course of our conversation. Last night, I met another Sri Lankan writer, Naru Sundar, and this morning, I read his poetry and fiction and they opened up new pathways in my brain and we write very differently but we are writing about many of the same things and that is a gift, that new lens on the material. We talked about ghosts and stakeholding and diaspora and much more. And that's just two of many enriching conversations from this past weekend.

I've been going to cons for so long now, that I have good friends at these things that I met twenty years ago. When we meet, once or twice a year, when they ask, "What's happened in the last year?" and "Are you happy?" the convention gives us the space to really think about it. We can process the last year or two, build narratives about our lives and our writing, make sense of what we've been doing. Conventions serve as therapy, for art and life, as much as anything else they do. After three days among my people, I feel so much more grounded in myself.

I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to the field of SF/F and all the incredible volunteers who run SF conventions the world over, from teeny-tiny ones, like the first Star Trek mini-con I attended when I was ten, to massive ones like next year's WorldCon in Helsinki, Finland (Good luck, Crystal Huff, co-chair! It was lovely to meet you this weekend, and I'm sure it's going to be great!). Thanks to all the FogCon staff -- Wendy Shaffer, great job, go get some sleep!

Our cons are an incredible resource for writers, and I'm pretty sure no other artistic field or literary genre has anything quite like them. Huge thanks as well to those who donate to the funds that help all those people who can't afford to attend. You make us better.

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