This weekend just past was CanCon 2018. It was an event, and it was wonderful. Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the weekend, I just want to extend a deeply felt thank you to everyone who put this thing together and worked like hell to keep things going smoothly all weekend.
Two of my favourite humans, who also happen to be the CanCon co-chairs, Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, did a fantastic job this year with getting the convention up and off the ground for another year.
Kate Heartfield was responsible for accessibility, and I'd like to thank her for the work, even though it doesn't really affect me, and honestly I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Privilege. It's a hell of a drug.
Jaggy Sue was the volunteer coordinator, and she did a great job. Also, to all the volunteers who were there, and helpful and wonderful. I don't know all your names, but you are so valued. You did great.
Evan May and Brandon Crilly were responsible for the programming and boy did they ever outdo themselves this year. It was brilliant. Thank you, gentlemen.
I've been excited for CanCon pretty much since the last one, and it ramped up when I saw the first draft of the programming schedule last month. The problem with getting excited for an event is that often the event doesn't live up to they hype. No fear here. CanCon was absolutely brilliant, and I had a blast.
One of the things I really appreciated was the gender-neutral bathrooms. CanCon went to great lengths to ensure that everyone was welcomed, and that the convention remained inclusive and fun for all attendees. Not having gender-neutral bathrooms would not have affected me at all. Cis privilege, and all. But I have friends for whom it meant a lot, and so it meant a great deal to me in turn. I'll be honest, the first time in was a bit jarring. I'm not used to seeing urinals on the walls of the bathrooms I go to usually. But it quickly became normal and nothing. Gender-neutral washrooms are relatively common in Europe now, and honestly it took me no time to adjust.
I really appreciate that CanCon made an effort for our trans community. Thank you, CanCon, for leading the way with policies of inclusion. I heart you.
Thanks to my publisher and friend, Nathan, and his wife, I was able to haul all of my nonsense to the convention and set up well in time for the dealer's room to open at 2:00pm. It was absolutely wonderful in that room. I distributed hugs to all my old friends that I haven't seen in a while (shout out to Lesley Donaldson). I love hugs. They make me happy. It was so nice to see everyone again, and chat, and laugh. I do a lot of laughing, which feels weird, considering how much death and misery I write. Anyway...
Friday night I met with Miriam Weinberg, editor with Tor and Tor Teen. I was nervous, AF. I can't pitch. I'm the literal worst at pitching. Every time I've pitched I've wanted to cry. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to sell what I'm trying to sell. I get flustered and stumble over my own tongue. It's a mess. This time was really no different, though I didn't get all that tongue-tied. As it turns out, Ms. Weinberg is a genuinely lovely human, and we had a good chat. She gave me some really great advice regarding my pitch. It went well, all things considered.
I am, however, suffering a confidence crisis in my work right now. I pitched Soldier and now I'm terrified that it's just not good enough. That said, with the guidance I received, I have a number of changes that I will be making before I submit it to Tor. This story means so damned much to me. I want to make sure it's good. Really, properly good.
I celebrated the first day with drinks with Lesley, who is a wonderful human and a great writer, and I'm so happy I was able to reconnect with her again.
Friday night was rough. For no reason whatsoever, at 4:00am Saturday morning, I awoke. Not a slow, easing out of sleep. No. It was sudden and permanent. BANG! Eyes open, brain working a mile a minute, cats still happily asleep beside me. I tried to go back to sleep. Everything I did was all in vain, until just after six, by which time it was too late. My alarm went off and I had to start my day. Needless to say, I was utterly exhausted when I dragged myself to my table in the dealer's room at CanCon.
Luckily, JenEric beside me sell coffee, and there were free samples. I was highly caffeinated by the time I had to attend my first panel. I, along with K.W. Ramsey, Eric Buchanan, and Pat and Linda Poitevin sat down in front of a very packed room (seriously, we had people sitting on the floor and standing against the walls) and talked about what it's like to be in a fight for real, and what licenses you can take when writing fight scenes. It was absolutely fantastic. I really love being able to talk martial arts and, even better, my women's only kung fu class may have acquired two new students! That makes me happy. Also, I was later told by someone who attended that panel that I was, and I quote, "a formidable woman." Honestly, that's the most flattering thing anyone has ever said to me.
I returned to my table immediately afterwards. I didn't have help this weekend, so I couldn't be away too long. Chatted it up, and laughed with friends and readers, had a great time until my panel at 2:00pm. Reimagining the Hero was a great panel, but by this point, lack of sleep, too much caffeine to compensate, not enough food, and so much socialising had all colluded to turn my brain to mush. I'm not sure that I said anything useful, let alone intelligent. I hope it was good for the people attending. I honestly don't remember too much about it, except that I accidentally threw my pen at someone.
That was me.
I did that.
Couldn't have the whole weekend go smoothly for me now, could we?
Anyway, I did that panel, then returned to my table until we closed the dealer's room. Then it was to dinner with my good friends K.W. Ramsey, and T2. It was the first proper meal I'd had since breakfast, and holy hell, did I need that food. I perked up quite a bit after dinner.
Then it was off to Derek Künsken's launch party for The Quantum Magician. It was genuinely wonderful. I'm so proud of Derek, and so happy for him. He is genuinely good people, and nothing makes me happier than seeing good people succeed. It makes for a nice balm to smooth over the burns of shitty people rising to the top. In any case, I bought myself a copy, had it signed by Derek, and then fled the scene.
The room was entirely too full of people (which is a beautiful representation of the kind of person Derek is - so many people came in support) for me to be able to deal with, especially with how tired I was. I took my book, and stumbled to the bus stop. No, literally. I was stumbling. From the outside it might have looked like I was drunk. I wasn't. I was just so damned tired.
I slept all the way through Saturday night, which was nice, so I had a little more energy starting the day than I did Saturday. I had no panels or other responsibilities Sunday, so I stayed behind my table and chatted, laughed and otherwise had a good time. I faded fast, though, being well and truly spent before the room closed at 2:00pm.
If you happened to be in the room and saw me staring into nothingness, that was just my brain. Shutting down.
There was an after party, which I briefly attended. But having spent so much time socialising, I wasn't really prepared to do yet more, so I spent what time I did have at the party with a couple of good friends, rather than being properly social.
Then it was home and to bed. I slept like the dead Sunday night, and pretty much all of Monday. Now I'm at work, preparing for the week ahead. This week, I plan on rereading Soldier and making a list of changes required. Next week, I begin making those changes.
Honestly, CanCon was so damned good this year. I mean, it's good every year, but it seems to me that it keeps going from strength to strength. Another thank you to everyone who made CanCon happen, and I will see you all next year.