I went to my first WorldCon this weekend.
Hit up an open coffee event with the relentlessly awesome Stina Leicht. Scoped out the dealer's room. Hung out with my DFWWW posse in all sorts of permutations and exotic locations. Skadged ham sandwiches and cheesy poofs from the con suite. Got autographs. Went to about fifteen panels, an author reading, three room parties, and at least a couple of not-really-an-event late-night lobby congregations. Stayed up past 1 AM, twice, having amazing conversations with people who'd been complete strangers only that morning. Attended the Hugos. (Didn't get to the dances or the masquerade or any of the stroll-with-the-stars events, but that's okay.) Met about 538 fabulous new people, most of whom I still desperately need to email/friend/follow.
In short, I had an AMAZING time. The best single word I can think to describe it is "generous". Like really. Everywhere I went, there seemed to be plenty of everything: plenty of space, plenty of food (there wasn't even a donation jar in the con suite!), plenty of things to do, not only on the program but just spontaneously and for the hell of it. Plenty of folks ready to welcome you into whatever was happening. I didn't once have to wait in line (except for the autograph sessions, natch), and although a couple of the panels were standing room only, I didn't see anyone turned away from anything.
And except for my one brief turn as a Solaris panelist and a couple of exceptional dinner dates, none of that had anything to do with my status as a freshly-anointed initiate of the SFF literati. That was just the nature of the thing.
Anyway, I'm home as of this afternoon, and already the glow is fading. In seeking to extend the post-con buzz, I've started reading about The Problems With WorldCon, which can't be ignored. For many reasons, it's skewing dishearteningly old, white, and wealthy - I've noticed that about the writers' conferences I've attended as well - and it's hard to fully enjoy something like that once you start thinking about all the people who aren't there, and why.
But before I surrender to rationality, and while I'm still new and fresh on this whole con-circuit thing, I want to write it here for posterity: this was without question the best convention I've ever attended - really, one of the best times of my whole life - and I feel so, so fortunate to have had the time, health, and money that made this experience possible. I understand now why there are charities who raise money for fans who wouldn't otherwise get to go to these things, and absolutely must start throwing my weight behind them.
In the meantime, I have about 538 fresh ideas on how to survive between now and WorldCon 2014, and a vast, faintly menacing number of tasks to complete in the meantime.
And may I just say, 'yee', and indeed, 'haw'.