I spent this weekend pouring my sweat, my energy, and several layers of my vocal cords into the Fyrecon. This was Fyrecon’s first year and they made a fine showing. Most of the people involved are old pros at the con scene in one way or the other, but this is the first time they tried to start a con on their own, and a lot of us rooted for them quietly even as we kept our professional reserve. I can honestly say that I couldn’t be more pleased.
There were bumps, not all of them their fault. The person before me in Plot a Novel in an Hour was under the impression that he could tear down his huge display of weapons after my presentation started. I don’t know if this was his first conference or if he’d just gone over and this was an excuse, but it meant that my most time-sensitive presentation only had forty minutes instead of the normal fifty. It’s the only time I’ve ever not actually finished it (although we were close enough to the end that the audience had all the nuts and bolt, I just didn’t get that big finish moment that usually fires up the crowd). That made me sad.
I made new friends. I carpooled with my massage therapist and his wife. My massage therapist is an artist and his wife a writer, both professions had tracks at the conference. The first day we carpooled, only his wife wanted to wake up in time to go up together, so my massage therapist and a third guest rode up seperately, which was fine because I have this ritual. You see, my con personality, I’ve spoken of it before, takes a LOT of energy. I have to get into character. My current method of getting into character is to sing My Shot from Hamilton at the top of my lungs. I’m friends with Josh and Allison, we go to movies together every Tuesday night and we’re about to start gaming together, so I knew that even if she hated that, she’d endure it. I was a little worried about the last day, however, when Josh and this third guest, Haley, would be in the car.
I met Haley that day and she came to Plot a Novel in an Hour. She seemed nice enough, but I was a little worried about the ride up the next day because subjecting someone to 7 minutes of loud, non-consensual hip-hop isn’t always the best way to begin a relationship. Then, right before bed, she sent me a friend request on Facebook, which made sense because we used messenger to coordinate all day and that would allow me to not ask “Is Haley with you?” In every new conversation before coordinating lunches and dinners and the like. But under job, there in the friend request were the words “Musical Theater Major.” At that point, I suspected it would all be all right. I knew for sure, the next morning when I asked her, “How do you feel about Hamilton?” “I love Hamilton!” “Well, great. Then the next seven minutes aren’t going to suck for you.” So we sang My Shot. Then she told me that I had given her the Hamilton bug. Well, I could certainly do something about that, so I started the show from the beginning and had a UofU theater major sing to me the entire drive. Which is great when your throat is completely destroyed and you’d really just like to sit back and not have to entertain everyone else for a bit.
We had good classes, great debates. At one moment in the green room, actual tears tears flowed from all the sharing. More bonding related tears at other times, with other people. I got to sit and have a great conversation with Toni Weisskopf from Baen for almost two hours, which I can tell you doesn’t happen nearly enough for my tastes. No shop talk. No agendas. Just people sharing their lives. We discussed homes and pets and giving blood and childhood stories and the little things that are trivial to everyone else but mean so much in the moment.
I hear the conference did well financially. They didn’t have final numbers last I checked, but I think it did well enough for a second year. I look forward to it. They made a good space for the students. They made a good space for the presenters. All in all, I found it a great experience.
The next installment awaits...Slouching Towards Amazon: LTUE Post Mortem