And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


So, I'm here at Confusion. It's Saturday night and the batteries have been exhausted to the point where I can't shut down. That sometimes can happen. Last night, it's widely accepted, we acted as if it were Saturday night. So tonight found a lot of us wondering what was going on. Or at least our bodies felt that way.

Which is why at 11 o'clock I came back to the room to crash. I'm feeling my age in a bad way. Also, apparently my brain has been working on things I didn't think were a problem, and I don't think they are. But with various issues at the day thing, the reboot, and here on the intranets I've been thinking about these challenges. So I have a feeling I brought some people down, for which I apologize. I obviously haven't had time to process these thoughts and I feel comfortable around you all, so it's leaking out in ways I didn't expect.

But I wanted to talk about cons in general. See, Confusion is the con I've gone to the longest and continuously (I've missed one year since I started coming). A lot of people I know here I consider friends. I've broken bread with them and drunk their mead as it were. The con has grown and changed, as these things do. I find I miss some of charm of the smaller con (I don't miss the drum circle disrupting our bar con at midnight, though), but I'm happy for my friends who put this con on that it has grown as successful as it has. I've seen their hard work, blood, sweat and tears and it's a tribute to them that Confusion is the celebration it has become.

Cons have their own lives and when you go to one you have a variety of experiences. I've found every year is a different relationship. Some years it's a joyous hecktishness, some years it's a struggle to go to everything you want, some times I haven't gone to any programming, sometimes I've partied, most years it's been bar-con. Some years the programming it hot and some years I'm indifferent to it. There are expensive years, years I eat most meals in the con suite, years I drink too much, years I hardly drink at all. There are years I'm outgoing all weekend and kind of drive home in a shocked silence. One year I hit extrovert overload Friday night and had to spend a lot of Saturday in my room. Some years I want to meet everybody new, and some years I just want to spend with the people I'm closest to.

I think it's probably the same with any con you might attend.

I don't have any real point here, I think. But for the last few years I've wanted to write a post like this. There are people who say that cons are the best things ever, and some say they're a waste of time. I guess what I'm saying is that if you go to a convention and you find it to not be to your taste it may just be that year for that convention.

My friends are here. I really love that I get to see and hang out with smart people here. I love the people I know here, and even the people I don't know, but have seen often enough we say hi to each other. I love catching up with everyone's lives. There have been years that I didn't know if I'd come back, but I'm glad I have. This year I'm grateful I've been able to come. I think part of me really needed this... whatever this feeling is; friendship, contentment, belonging, comfortableness.

It's also reminded how much I need to write, which is the part of me that has suffered from being ignored the most during this reboot. Today, while listening to programming I've put down about a thousand words of a short story I've been wanting to rewrite. And I think they're good words. Writing them was exercising a muscle I haven't used consistently in a long while.

There are plans afoot with the reboot that would take more time away from the writing. I now have to rethink them. I don't know that I want to go on for another year or three before I can get back to the words in a more consistent way. And maybe that is my take away this year.

I am a writer. While I may let those coals of that particular fire die down to embers, it won't completely burn out. And I can't afford to let them if only to protect my sanity. And being here has reminded me of this.


Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

Similarly I miss going to the big annual Physics conferences. Even though I don't play the research game anymore, there was a recharging the batteries aspect which was important to me. My writing gets a similar boost from SF cons -- and I sorely missed ConFusion this year.

But you're absolutely right. Every con has its own vibe, it's own ecosystem. Revel in the uniqueness rather that dwell on disappointment that it isn't "just like" the last one.

Dr. Phil

Mer said...

I feel like I saw you less than I wanted but more than I got to last year (and last year's not seeing you as much was simply a lack of thinking through all the schedule implications, I think).


Steve Buchheit said...

Dr. Phil, yea, it sucks when there are things that give you a boost and the things that are sucking the boost then also reach out and interfere with going to the first things.

Also, for the vibe, I've also experienced it in reverse. There was one con I really liked, but subsequent years were never the same.

Mer, I made it a point this year to spend time with friends over going to programming (it also helps I wasn't on panels this year). Also, sorry for the delay, email sent.