November 9, 2016

I gave up on sleeping.

I am going to sit here and write.

I’m just going to outright say it. 2016 is well and truly fucked.

Where is God in all of this?

There is so much fear. There is so much turmoil. I’ve lost too many people. There’s been too many changes. And now Trump.

Where is God in all of this?

It is obvious that yesterday is the culmination of a backlash that started 8 years ago. I have received so many messages last night from friends, dear friends of mine, who are terrified. And I fear deeply for so many of my friends. Because the backlash will not only continue, it will just get worse. For my Muslim friends. For my queer friends. For my friends of color.

For my family. For my son.

God, where are you in all of this?

I sit here, in the dark, and I remember.

“I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.

I remembered you, God and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;” (Psalm 77)

I sit, and think of my ancestors who were brought over by slavery.
I think of all those who marched for the freedom we have now.
And I feel the Holy Spirit gather me close.

It hasn’t changed, the mandate from Him. To act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.

If anything, this is the time where it’s needed most.
It is time.

I think of earlier this year, when I visited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s grave.
I think of legacy. Of following in footsteps of those before me.
I think of stories.

The need for stories has never been any stronger. And the Holy Spirit uses stories to knit people together.

Where are you? I ask God.
Here, he says. In the margins. In the fight for justice. In the caring for others. In the listening, and the silence, and the creation of safe spaces. And in the stories.

If we truly believe God is Love, then the God I serve is the God of the marginalized. Of the persecuted. Of the disowned. Of the ones who don’t fit in.

This is where the fight begins…
…except the fight has always been happening.
History has shown this.

My job is simply this:
to continue to fight for unity.
to continue to fight for equality.
to continue to tell stories
to treat people with dignity
to show God’s love and grace
to love
to love
to love

Come, Holy Spirit.
Because we will need you now more than ever in these following days.

It is morning. November 2016. And I am awake.

Rest in Peace, Jack Chick?

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/october/died-jack-chick-cartoonist-controversial-gospel-tracts.html

Today we learned that Jack Chick, Evangelical Cartoonist, died at the age of 92. 

I could’ve sworn I’ve written about him before. I remember doing so. It was a long post about horror and taboos and fundamentalism. Maybe it was on a reivew, or maybe it was on a blog post. The point is, I can’t find it. So I’m putting it here, again. 

I grew up on Chick Tracts. My church had them in their bookstore growing up, and I used to read them all the time. There were the “This Was Your Life”, with the protagonist more bleah on his faults until he gets tossed into hell. “Somebody Loves You”, which was a pretty grim about a street urchin, who is told by a girl that “Jesus Loves You” and then the urchin dies because, well, the girl gave the urchin books for a pillow and a jacket for warmth, but didn’t like, take the urchin to a shelter. But that’s okay because Jesus took the urchin in the end, so yay? 

It hit me even at that early age that Jack Chick did not like Catholics. Or drunks. Or sinners. Or atheists. Or people who played Dungeons and Dragons (which I never understood). Or anyone, really. And neither did Chick’s God. He was always faceless, shining so bright, but faceless. An angry, angry God that would readily condemn you for doing anything, anything wrong.

 

Jack Chick also did comic books, which went beyond putting the fear of God in you into, well disturbing. The comic books was where I learned Jack Chick really, really hated Catholics. There’s an image that’s been burned on my brain of some people (can’t remember if they were the Inquisition or not )torturing a young pregnant woman. They had strapped her to a chair, pried her mouth open, and forced her to swallow some sort of bristly cloth by dripping water down her throat. 

It was a grisly image, and I don’t think our parents ever knew such a thing was right there among the bibles and story books. 

Looking back on it now that I’m older, I’m realizing that what Jack Chick did could be considered horror. There’s always a feeling of dread that almost bordered on demonic when you read his works. I got a stack of them now packed up with the rest of my books. I can’t read them for long before feeling sick. Maybe it’s because he saw anyone who wasn’t Christian as a villian, so they became these sneering caricatures that made you wonder why God would be trying to save them in the first place. And if they did become Christian, in a way, it was worse, because they became these grinning, dead-eyed dolls praising God. It was really creepy. Even the art was always this ugly 60s-era grotesqueness, sort of like Mad Magazine back in the day, but eviler. And over time, it just got worse and worse.

Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t bother me to write horror sometimes. Jack Chick certainly had an impact on me growing up, and it shows in some of my work. And I’ve grown enough theologically to know that there’s always something deeper to my faith. But still, I also recognize that there’s a side to my faith that yes, can be brimstone and fire. It’s a dark place, something to wrestle with.

I’m pretty sure though, that when it comes time to unpack my books, those Chick Tracks may stay in their box just a little bit longer. Maybe a year. Or two. Or ten.

Thoughts on the Fireside Fiction Report (Because everyone else is talking about it, so I guess I should too? Maybe?)

Antiblack Racism in Speculative Fiction – Fireside Fiction – Medium

I’ve been meaning to get around to writing about this-oh, hold on…

::goes to pack books to get ready to move in two weeks::

As I was saying…oh…hold that thought…

::goes to stand in sister’s wedding…::

So, yeah, this Fireside Fiction Report about black writers and–ughhhh…dang it…

::goes to handle a crazy thingamajig at work::

SIGH WOULD LIFE JUST STOP BEING SO GOSH DARN BUSY FOR ONCE SO I CAN DO THIS STUPID BLOG POST? 

I’m busy. Like really busy.

Obviously I don’t speak for all black writers, but I can tell you why I haven’t been submitting. The past two years I’ve been coping with longer hours at work, and other stuff. but you know that. It’s wasn’t until this year that I finally got off my duff and started submitting again. For me, the biggest reason I don’t submit is time. 

Oh, I can do the writing. That’s no problem. That whole time I was not submitting, I was writing. I worked on my novel…and then from last November I took a break to write a novella totally by accident (no, really. I was aiming for short story and I made a novella instead. How did that even happen?). And then I submitted it.

Granted, it wasn’t something that happened within a week. The novella, from creation to submission, took about 9 months.

There was an article not too long ago from a writer who wrote her first novel, then promptly went broke. I had meant to share it on Facebook because I was like yeah! I also want someone to pay me to write on a full-time basis. But then I did some thinking and realized…actually…wouldn’t that happen anyway? I write, I submit, I get paid. Write. Rinse. Repeat. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. And if a writer really wants to be paid to write, there’s Patreon, which a lot of writers are doing now. But even with Patreon, you still need to show some sort of output. So, yeah, sorry, Tierce, actually you can get paid to write. You just need to put in the work. And that doesn’t mean quitting your day job first. Now, yes, I do wish I have time so that I could write more, but if I want that to happen, I need to start laying the groundwork for that now. Which means treating writing seriously, and pulling the bits of time I do have together to focus on writing.

Tierce did have a point where she said that her dayjob took away her headspace for writing. That there were days where she felt less of a writer and more of a postal worker. Yeah, there were many times when I felt that way too. But that was where planning my writing day came in. I learned how to write in between the cracks of my dayjob: breaks, lunch, etc. Scribbling thoughts on a notepad, my phone. Learning how to write anywhere—in the car, waiting for dinner to cook. I stopped beating myself up for only writing things for five, ten minutes at a time. It all still counted towards my output anyway. And sometimes, those brief minutes primed the pump for longer periods of writing in the evening. Slowly, gradually, I began to really feel like I was a writer again. (Of course, not going on social media so much also helped.)

But back to the Fireside Report. The whole reason I’m writing this post…Look, I’m going to be straight up honest. I’m not really dwelling on it all that much.

That doesn’t mean it’s not true, nor that it isn’t pertinent. I’m very much aware of how the markets are. I’m aware of the statistics. But responding to a report like that takes time, and frankly, I don’t have time. 

And perhaps that’s one of the symptoms in the report. Not many black writers have oodles of time at their disposal. If I’m going to fight against the conditions that are outlined in that report, the best way for me to use that time is write. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I want to write and submit more. I want to get some more stories under my belt, but what I really, really, really want to do is finish my novel. So..here’s what I’ll do.

This month there’s a couple of writing pieces I want to finish. A couple of things I promised some people. I also plan to re-establish myself in the novel. And then, starting November 1, I will focus exclusively on getting this revision of the novel finished. I’m about 60% done with revisions in the current draft. I’ll give myself to the end of April 2017 to finish this draft. That’s six months. 

You realize, in telling you all this, I want you all to hold me accountable, right?

Because that’s the other thing I fight against when it comes to submissions. Thinking that my work isn’t good enough. Nisi Shawl wrote an *excellent* essay called “Unqualified” in the January 2015 issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone that I think is a great reply to the Fireside Report, and it sums up my own feelings as well. Encouragement helps. Fighting for diversity helps. And creating a space for black writers like me really, really helps. Go read Nisi’s essay. It’s that good.

I don’t think I’m ready to do a Patreon this year. I’m still dealing with dayjob stuff that promises to lighten up within the next year. (I know, that was promised to me last year…oh well). There’s also the matter of buying a house (ha! See? When I started this blog post, we were just starting to pack and now, voila, we sold our house). But I’ll continue writing. I’ll do my part to get more stories under my belt. And next year, I’ll revisit the Patreon idea. 

In the meantime…I got a book to finish.

2015 Year in Review: Busyness, Burnout, and Balance

People are asking me, “So, will you be at such-and-such-con this year? You should really come to so-and-so-con!” 

At first, I would say, “maybe”. Then it was more “I don’t know. And now? Honestly, it’s more “I don’t want to do this con thing anymore…” I could chalk it up to finances, but really, Jaym put in perfect words what I’ve been feeling for the past two years. Which is sad, because I’ve only been to cons since 2009. But with what happened with WisCon, last year’s Hugo’s fiasco, and general SFF drama, has made me leery to go to any more. 
 
I was also in this place where I didn’t have the energy to post anything I wrote. See, the drama I was dealing with the past couple of years went beyond the SFF world. Much of it mirrored what’s happening in the genre world: dealing with diversity, anger and outrage over many things. Some of it was also personal stuff. I had totally forgotten that it was around this time last year that I stepped down from Podcastle because of dealing with issues in my life. And then there’s the dayjob. Last year, we became short staffed, so my workload intensified. It’s a little better now, but things will still be heavy for me work wise, not just in my department, but organizational wise (things have been pretty interesting as of late).
 
And, okay, I’m just going to admit it, I got a little salty last year. On top of that, last November, I started working on a new short story, which meant putting off working on the novel. Why can’t I do both at once? Oh yeah, dayjob is sucking up most of my headspace. So here’s me, dealing with stress and drama, struggling to find time to write with my dayjob, and working on one writing project at a time. Then I get to watch other people coming out with great stories, new books, winning awards, having fun at cons, and I’m feeling that that the genre world is passing me by, and I’m making no progress, which must means I’m sucking as a writer and it makes me want to just and hide in my room and play Skyrim forever…
 
It got to the point where I started to wonder what, exactly, is my goal of being a writer? Is it really writing fantasy fiction? Do I continue to move towards becoming a professional science fiction writer, when it feels like I’m not making any progress at all? Do I give up my dream of being a full-time writer when it’s obvious that’s not going to happen this year, or next year, or even at all?
 
It’s not like I don’t want to stop writing. Ever. I love writing fantasy stories. And as a whole, although I didn’t produce scads of stories, I did indeed do a lot of writing, mainly because I learned how to do so while under dayjob stress. And I did publish a couple of things in 2015. My short essay “The Danger of the False Narrative” published in Jim Hines’s anthology Invisibility 2, and my flash story “The Summation of EvilCorp Subsidies HR Meeting Agenda Minutes, Compiled by Olivia Washington” I wrote for PodCastle 384: Flash Fiction Extravaganza! Vintage PodCastle:  (and which I haven’t even updated on my blog yet, I see. Whoops.)
 
Last week I got around to reading Jaym Gates’s latest blog post about cutting back on cons and freelancing and stepping back from the SFF world for a while. And as I read it, I was like, “Burnout? Wait…that’s it. That’s me. THAT’S WHAT I’M FEELING.”  Shortly after that, I stumbled across John Klima’s post, which basically said the same thing about burnout. And I realized that maybe it wasn’t just me. Our genre, as a whole, had a really, really sucky couple of years and there are people out there who feel it. And that includes me.
 
The thing is, it’s not so much I’m burnt out because of the whole SFF drama. It’s more due to sheer busyness.
 
So…how do I balance that?

First I think I need to fall back to the lesson I learned at Viable Paradise. I can only control what I write, when I write, and when I send it out. I can’t control where I get published or what awards (if any) I get. I need to remember that everyone are in different points of their writing career paths. I just so happen to be in a busy time of life where the full-time writing dream will have to take a backseat. It sucks, I know, but I just need to keep writing. My output won’t be the same as a full-time writer, and I’ll just have to accept that for now. The good thing is that there are others like me in the same boat. So consider this post as an encouragement shout-out. Although really, I think I’m writing this post for me…

That said, I do need to look at how and when I submit things. There’s a couple of stories that I was submitting a year ago before dayjob intruded, and I haven’t really found a place for them. I think they’re really good stories still. The question is, how do I proceed? Submitting them to new genres I think they’ll fit? Self-publish? I also have a couple of reprints too that I need to get out there. 

As for cons,  I do plan to be at Oddcon on Saturday April 9, and I’ll definitely be at WisCon the entire time. I’m even thinking about going to Convergence, mainly because I now know people up there. But this year I’m scaling back on volunteering. I feel like after what happened last year,  I need to remember why I like going to cons in the first place.

So, there you go. I’m still around, still writing. You probably won’t hear much from me, but I’ll try to keep things posted. Best place to keep track of me would be on FB and Twitter. I still post there. I like to think of it as creating a small oasis of fun amidst all the drama and hate. And I’ll just keep on writing. Because I’m a writer. Just keep on keepin on…

(And maybe because the whole Hugos slate thing appears to be starting up again, maybe it is best to keep my head low for now…)

Initial thoughts from Urbana 15

1. #BlackLivesMatter 

2. Writing for Urbana Today: Probably the most balanced Urbana Assignment I ever had for my introvert and extrovert side.

3. Being in a black space to process #BlackLivesMatter through the use of song, spoken word, and poetry. Wow. Wowwww…

4. My hotel had an underground casino. Did yours?

5. My hotel had so many more black people chillaxing by the casino. Did yours?!

6. BLACK PEOPLE BLACK PEOPLE SO MANY BLACK PEOPLE IT WAS AWESOME.

7. Being with my family for my uncle’s funeral completely fit in with Urbana’s unspoken “Being Present” theme. 

8. Ferguson looked exactly like my neighborhood. Not the one I grew up in. The one I live in now. 

9. Still processing the trip to Ferguson. So many feelings.

10. I am incredibly tired.

and 11. So. Many. Black. HAIRSTYLES.

 

Urbana First day (sort of)

Currently in St Louis, attending the Urbana Missions Conference, and based on my job here, thought I should get back into the habit of doing quick journals. So I’m going to post these at my journals and FB. Let see how it goes.

So. Urbana. This is going to be a most interesting week. My job here at the conference is writing articles for Urbana Today, the daily newsletter. My schedule will basically be like this: at 7pm, all the writers meet with our editor Lisa, who will give out assignments for the following day. The assignments range from quick statements from students focused on a question of the day, to full blown interviews, to seminar write ups. The next day, we go out to our respective assignments, then first drafts of article write ups are due by 4pm. The articles get sent to proofreaders, yada yada yada, and we re-convene at 7pm to get our next assignment. The articles go to print at night and are ready the next morning.

This works well considering that tomorrow I’m going to be taking the Greyhound to my Uncle’s funeral and coming back the same night. Our assignments are flexible, so I can make it super light, such as just talking to students, or more involved. Wednesday, I’ll be covering the “Ferguson is Now” panel. I also hope to get to the different ethnic lounges. 

It feels weird that I’m finally putting my Journalism degree to work…19 years later.

Right. Off to my first assignment, which involves interviewing the IVP bookstore. BECAUSE BOOKSTORES.

My whopper of a doozy Wiscon 39 report

It’s done! It’s all over! I can finally relax!!! Actually, no I can’t because my brother in law comes in two weeks but ALL MY CONS ARE DONE (for now).

This was the most intense con season I had. Not so much because of the work I had to do as WisCon’s GoH Liasion for Alaya Dawn Johnson. That was fun and easy. A big part of it had to do that that WisCon took place during the same week that my dayjob moved to a new building, which was a culmination of six stressful months in the making. But the biggest part of why it was intense was because WisCon, like so many other things happening in other circles of my life, is going through a shift, mainly due to fallout from the last couple of years and people leaving the concom, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Too long a story: you can catch it here and here.

Being on the ground here in the Madison, I got to hear a lot of views .I listened to those pushing for change. I listened to those who were hurt and outraged at what was going on. I listened to those who didn’t understand what was going on. I listened to people on the concom, those who left and those who came on. I listened to people here in Madison and those who came to WisCon from far off. I’ve listened and watched and had numerous conversations with people. 

I’m going to be up front. I don’t know feminist movement history well. I can’t even say fully that I’m a feminist. My reluctance of labeling myself as such falls in line with the whole feminist/womanist discussion, the latter of which I gravitate more towards. (Note to self: add Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose to the to-read pile.) So it was interesting to hear all the different opinions of how WisCon was in regards to first wave feminism versus second wave feminism versus…whatever wave we happen to be in now. I think, however there’s more to it than that. 

Before I get into that, first, I feel compelled to give you a back history on my own experience with cons. Because context and all. 

My first con was OddCon in 2009. It was the first time I met an editor, Jim Frenkel. We wound up talking for a while about the writing biz. I thought him an odd bird who swore too much, but it was neat to learn that there was an actual editor who lived in my town. Later, I was taken aside and given the missing stair talk. You know what I mean. Since I had just met him, I duly noted it and decided to keep an eye on him, just in case. I should also note that to me, he was professional, courteous, and generally friendly.

To me. That’s something you should note.
 
My next con was Wiscon. Although Oddcon was my first con, WisCon I consider to be my home con because it was there I meet other geeks of color. I didn’t feel like I stood out in the crowd as the only token black geek person. For someone who grew up in a Christian household, WisCon shook my worldview by introducing me to people I would have never met otherwise: atheists, Muslim. queer, trans, poly and yes, feminists, mingling with straight, Christian, monogamous folk. For the first time, I begun to get a glimpse of what the words ‘mullticultural’ and ‘diversity’ meant. Not just in a racial sense, but in a community sense.
 
Here’s the thing about diversity, though. When people talk about wanting more “diversity”, they seem to have this this magical kumbaya utopia of happy smiling people of all hues holding hands. Look at us, we’re all different and yet look how we’re all the same. In reality though? Diversity is messy. Complicated. Filled with groups stepping on each others toes and then looking hurt when those groups yelp in pain. A community could either let that happen and alienate the very diversity it is trying to draw in, or they can work to make all the groups within itself feel safe. It’s a tricky balancing act, especially when have a group who have worked for years to get the community to its diverse state. 
 
In the case of Frenkel, that was a no-brainer. With all the testimony and evidence that’s out there, there’s no question that he needed to be banned from Wiscon. The problem with that is that it felt to me that everyone dusted their hands off and said, “Well done. We don’t have to deal with Frenkel anymore.” And that was that…until I saw him at a local function three months later. Just because he’s barred from Wiscon doesn’t mean he’s barred anywhere else. 
 

And that’s the thing. Being local, Frenkel always shown me that side of professional courtesy because 1) I’m local, 2) I’m not his type (thankfully). A lot of people are yelling online for his head, but here, in Madison, he acts different. There are people who’ve known him in Madison and have always seen that friendly side. And if they never go online, they don’t know. So yes, they find it hard to believe when they hear the stories. I’m not excusing his behavior. Nor of those of his supporters. But I want you to see what I’m dealing with. 

So what do I do? Treat him like a pariah? Go out of my way to avoid him forever and ever? Or do I keep on doing what I’m doing now, keep a wary eye on him,  Those who know his harassing side have done their best to warn others of his behavior. I reckon I’ll fall in the same boat. I don’t know.

And if you are someone like me who’s conflict avoidant, that can be a hard thing.
 
It’s almost the same thing with Richard Russell, to a lesser extent. I’ve only seen Richard at cons. In fact, got to play a zombie game with him at this year’s Oddcon. I also was on WisCon’s concom last year, so I got to see the emails he were sending regarding the POC safer space. That was disappointing, because I remember him coming to the first panel I ever moderated (Why are all the Black Kids Sitting in the Middle of the Cafeteria). I could’ve sworn he was the one who sat and listened to our stories, and then him speaking up saying now he understood why safer spaces were a good thing. Maybe that wasn’t him. I don’t know. I do remember the emails from him in the concom leading up to that panel, which intimidated me a little.  He saw POC safer space as us ‘segregating ourselves’. 
 
I don’t heavily use the POC safer space, but as a black woman, I totally understand why there’s a need for one. We have something similar at my dayjob when we do conferences in that we present ‘lounges’ for staff of different ethinicities to sit, chill, and process what’s happening at the conference in a safe place. It’s not exclusive; technically, anyone of any ethnicity can come into the lounge at any time. But here’s the thing–the privacy is honored, because everyone respects the space and its purpose. Everyone knows it’s to provide a safe surroundings for those People of Color to talk and process what’s happening around them in a safe environment, without the eyes of other (read: white) staff.
 
I would love to have the same thing happen at WisCon, but I don’t think we’re at that point. I would love to explore more on how culture dynamics change when another group that is not the normative comes in and grows, but that’s a whole other blog post, and this is supposed to be a con report. Interestingly enough, at this year’s WisCon, I don’t think the POC safer space room wasn’t used all that much. Because this year’s concom was committed in limiting microagressions, a lot of POC felt safer and were able to interact more outside the room. That didn’t mean everything was hunky dory, but it did feel that this year’s WisCon was a lot more relaxed, at least from my perspective. 
 
Which in itself was interesting, because again, I was hearing reports from those who were local who weren’t having the same experience–they reported that people were being rude, challenging them when they brought up Richard Russell. There was one point where I was checking out my social media, and it was as if there were two WisCons–the first being where a lot of my POC friends were saying this was the best WisCon they’ve been, and some of the local friends saying that they would never attend WisCon again. I don’t know how to bridge that. I doubt if I have the responsibility. And right now, frankly I just don’t have the time or the energy to do so. 
 
There was a panel that addressed the whole thing very well, I think: the “What Happened at WisCon Last Summer” panel on Sunday. I was only able to attend the last 20 minutes of it, but I was heartened to see it packed with people from all different sides of the issue. There were many people who spoke at the panel, including myself, who shared some raw things and feelings that should not have gone outside of that room. And as I tweeted, it was a hard panel. But it was a necessary one. Jeanne Gomoll was up on the panel, bless her heart. She did a hard thing, being up there in front of everyone, but I was glad she was there, as well as Mikki Kendall–who, may I say, was absolutely a rock star as a com chair. She took a hard hard job, but she did it. A lot of people voiced their hurt, and there were misunderstandings that needed clearing up. Debbie Notkin was also on it. I wanted to hug her.
 
I wished it was taped, though I understand why it wasn’t, but Kat Tanaka Okopnik tweeted most of it and its up in storfied form, thanks to Sasha_feather. I highly suggest reading it, even if some parts would be difficult to take in. But that is what the true meaning of living in diversity means. It’s recognizing that there are others who don’t see things the way you do, and then working through those hard bits to make things easier for everyone. I was so heartened to see not just remote fans, but local fans, in that room, and it gave me hope. It showed me that both sides were willing to fight for WisCon. The direction it’s going is ultimately going to be awesome. And for those who said that they aren’t going to Wiscon ever again, that saddens me, but it’s within their rights. There’s always Oddcon, and that seems to be where they’re gravitating to.
 
I had the privilege of going through not one, but two rough church splits. This is a pretty much par for the course.
 
One more thing. There was almost a period last summer that I seriously did consider stepping down from the concom–that was when I saw I also saw people railing against others on the concom who, while not innocent, were also working the best they could under the circumstances. But the amount of anger was so great, so vitriolic, that it made me wonder: if I screwed up in my job, would they talk that way about me?
 
I’m not going to wring my hands and cry out “Can’t we all just get along?!” I’m not that naive. If there is one thing I got out of what happened last year is that anger can have its place, and when it’s used to address a wrong, it has power to bring about change for the good. I don’t show anger easily, but I respect the ones that do. We need their voices, desperately, otherwise the harmful things will continue unabated.
On the flip side, it doesn’t do any good to attack people just because you don’t like the way they do things. I had enough going on in my life without watching the people I care deeply about trash other people who I care deeply about. So because I am nonconfrontational in nature, I disengaged. I don’t speak for all concom volunteers, but I’m pretty sure many are conflict averse people like me, preferring to keep quiet, stay to the sidelines, and if things don’t look like they’re going to change, they quietly slip away. You get enough of that happening, and that can kill a con. 
 
The reason I stuck it out was because there were a few who, despite their anger, were dedicated in making WisCon safe for everyone, even those who made them angry in the first place. They also acknowledged the hard work that the former concom members had done, and wanted to honor them. It was those gestures that made me stay on. And thus, I’ve come full circle to the main point of this report. It’s all about respect. Cons are hard work, and there needs to be a balance between anger and restoration. And yes, I’m letting my Christian tendencies show, but really. If WisCon is going to move full steam ahead, we need to acknowledge the hard work the local fandom has done to get Wiscon to the point where it is now. And yes, local fandom needs to understand that WisCon needs to change, needs to make itself safe for all participants, if it is to make any difference in the future. 
 
So how was my WisCon this year? I had a blast. It was a real joy to serve as Alaya Dawn Johnson’s liaison. It was good to see friends again, and make new ones, and even see ones that weren’t attending Wiscon. I am looking so forward to next year, with Justine Larbalestier and Sofia Samatar and (gasp) Nalo Hopkinson. 
 
And I’m going to keep on figuring out how to do the local con thing. And oh yeah…I went to the Nebulas. Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. But that will have to be in the next post. This con report has been two years in the making, see, and frankly, I’m exhausted. Y’all can wait until next week for that report, can you?
 
Sure you can.