So, Thursday got off to an interesting start.
Jack and I committed to going to the guest of honor readings (something I haven’t done since the year N.K. Jemisin and Hiromi Goto were our honored guests, as the venue, though charming, is also not very large) to support Amal El-Mohtar. This is the first year the guest of honor has been someone I’ve known in person before they were guest of honor, and while she was already Kind Of A Big Deal to me during my first WisCon, there’s still that little sense of “Hey, I knew you when!”
But Sarah, who was arriving separately, was travel-delayed and was arriving after an exhausting day right about the time we’d have been heading over. We stayed in the lobby to meet her shuttle coming in, then saw her up to the room and settled in, went over plans for the evening (hers were to sleep, and possibly eat a food at some point).
WisCon was running an accessible bus between the guest of honor reception (the largest and most significant off-site event on the schedule, and also the farthest away, in local bookstore A Room Of One’s Own), and we were quite possibly the last people to take it over, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have made it. As it is, it was standing room only when we got there. There might have been some disability reserved seating up front, but it was so crowded and the introductions had started, so we didn’t want to press through and disrupt things and then maybe have to do it again if the seating was all in use.
But it worked out okay. We found a place to sit in the front of the store (the back of the reception) where we could hear, if not see, and we were out of the press of people. Amal’s reading was as amazing and powerful as the one that moved me enough to overcome my wallflowerishness and step forward for an autograph all those years ago. Kelly Sue DeConnick had some A-plus-plus remarks on writing, creator responsibility, critique vs. hate, and fan entitlement.
We ducked out at the end before the receiving/autograph line formed, in part because we had a prior social commitment and in part because the bench we’d grabbed was directly behind the table and chairs set up for that.
Prior social engagement was something I’ve never done before: karaoke. There’s almost always at least one unofficial-but-traditional karaoke party before WisCon, and this year the event’s organizer (the fabelous Cabell) looped us in directly on the invites and asked us to boost. This kind of thing always sounds like a terrific time to me, in both the classic and the modern connotations of the word. Luckily for me I felt obliged to say yes due to the fact that I’ve been using her house as a dead drop for party supplies all month, because I had an amazing time. I did four songs, two solo, one with Jack, and one with Cabell.
WisCon is the kind of time and place where I spend a lot of time getting over my everyday social and emotional inhibitions. Some years it still takes me till Saturday before I’m really enjoying myself and not faking much of it. This year, despite what was at first a very tense and uncertain afternoon, I think I managed it in record time.
The con proper starts today with the Gathering and the opening ceremonies. I’ve never been much for the ceremony, but I might go this year just so as to have line of sight on our guests of honor. A lot depends on how I feel after the Gathering.