In late 2012, I quit my dayjob to become a full-time NFL writer. I spent that offseason watching film and studying up, trying to raise my game and improve my credibility. After the 2013 season, the thought hit me: I’m a full-time writer now. I always wanted to write science fiction. Why don’t I?
I delved back into the SFF scene, after having stopped reading entirely when my eldest was born. I was hooked by all the new online magazines, dazzled by the talent and diversity of a new generation of writers, and compelled by all the exciting (and heated) debates about what fantastic fiction can and should be.
I brought my eldest to the following ConFusion
, and felt even more at home. Many SFF authors will tell you ConFusion is one of the best cons going: profoundly inclusive, incredibly friendly, and a high signal-to-noise experience for pros and aspiring pros alike. Every year I go, I leave brimming with ideas, laden with swag, and buzzing with the energy of so many amazing, smart, cool people all in one space.
This year, I’m on a panel for the first time! I’ll be moderating “Worldbuilding Fantastic Sports (And Sportsbuilding Fantastic Worlds),” a discussion of how including sports can make a fantastic story world feel more real, and how to make up new sports that feel like the real ones so many love watching.
But the problem with being one of the best cons going is, that, well, people have to go. And like many cons that canceled last year and weren’t sure about this year, Omicron is making an in-person convention right now seem dangerous. Despite both a vaccination/negative-test requirement and a mask requirement, plus all kinds of safety changes to layout and flow, many regulars are still understandably feeling they can’t safely go.
The trouble is, according to ConChair Lithie DuBois, ConFusion
is both contractually bound to happen (they signed the paperwork during the “my fall plans” phase of Hot Vax Summer), and financially necessary to keep the con from going bust. They haven’t yet filled their hotel block, membership-badge sales are slow, and the con’s financials are all built around breaking even every year. Two straight years of not breaking even means there might not be any more years.
Nevertheless, they’re working their tails off to make it as great as it can be:
As a person who has been involved for many many years running not only fan events, but corporate ones, I can say that I have never had to push my team so hard, so fast, and ask for so many pivots than I have had to do this year…They’re all STILL working at breakneck speeds. They are each amazing. While the community may not have witnessed all they have faced, I have. Truly our community is blessed because of these individuals. Truly.
ConFusion has been an integral part of my reconnection with the SFF scene, an annual reunion of friends I never see anywhere else, and a regular mental boost that keeps me pursuing my other lifelong writing dream.