debgeisler: (headshot2)
[personal profile] debgeisler
Eleven years ago, we started a count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. A week before the convention started, we were putting together displays, laughing, packing many, many boxes, laughing, eating take-out together at the NESFA clubhouse, laughing...

It was exhausting, but rewarding. We were building something special for fandom, and our ego-boo was in seeing it all laid out and running. Not running perfectly...but hell, we didn't do this professionally, we had to do it on the cheap, we did it in our spare time. We wanted it to be perfect, but we settled for 90-95%, most of the time. That was damned good.

Today, there is a group of people who are starting their own week-long count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention. This one is in Spokane, Washington. Their convention has been fraught with difficulties. Many of their people are not laughing. They're not even grinning.

They are still trying to build something special for fandom. They're often not getting much satisfaction. In fact, some are sitting around right now, wishing they were somewhere else, dealing with something else. Perhaps at a villa in Tuscany...perhaps in Port-aux-Fran├žais (since that's as far away as one can get from the Spokane Convention Center and still be on land) in the Kerguelen Islands (also known as the Desolation Islands - you can get to the irony of that on your own).

Perhaps any Worldcon that lost its co-chair two weeks after winning the right to host the convention would be taxed. Certainly, it was a devastating blow. This Worldcon has also borne the brunt of attacks on fandom's prized Hugo Awards and, as a result, some of the most difficult and disruptive public scrutiny ever for the convention.

I'm not going to point fingers at anyone here. Not one person. I'm attending the convention and taking part in its program, but none of my sweat has gone into making this year's "fannish family reunion." (Yes, I'll listen when my friends need a, that's not the same thing as sweat equity.)

What I will say is this: If you are going to the convention, say something nice to the people you meet with a "committee" or "staff" or "volunteer/gopher" ribbon. You don't need to compliment them on things. Just say something nice. Or maybe something that will make them laugh. Or smile at them and say nothing at all. (This last works particularly well when you don't much like them.)

For those of us who have slogged this slog, sometimes a smile from someone is better than a paycheck. Hell, it *IS* the paycheck.

on 2015-08-12 06:34 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] judith carol bemis (from
Absolutely. This convention runs on a "Thank you" economy. And thank you for saying it.

on 2015-08-12 07:13 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]

[reading various places (not FB), keeping head down]

on 2015-08-12 07:16 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] elizabeth mccarty (from
Well said as usual. See you next week.

on 2015-08-12 07:32 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Looking forward to it.

on 2015-08-12 07:31 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Amen. I echoed your comments in a comment on Kevin Standlee's LJ just now, in less well put prose.

on 2015-08-12 07:32 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
It doesn't matter how it is long as we keep saying it.

on 2015-08-12 07:34 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Well said. If everyone who puts their lives into putting on these events is continuously castigated for doing so, eventually there will be nobody left to do them. One wonders if this is the deliberate intent of some of the critics. Perhaps some of them are just clueless and assume that we're all paid employees of the Mighty WSFS Inc Entertainment Conglomerate.

Shorter version: "This is why we can't have nice things."

on 2015-08-12 07:37 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
This is not to say that everyone deserves praise. But they do deserve to be acknowledged.

on 2015-08-12 07:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thank you, Deb.

on 2015-08-12 08:14 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thank you! A kind word (or words) will go very far this year.

on 2015-08-12 09:19 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
As one of those people, thank you.

I for one plan on visiting program ops

on 2015-08-12 10:51 pm (UTC)
ext_22798: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile]
while I am there and making a point of saying thank you for everything that's been done by Worldcon. And ask them to pass the thanks on to those volunteers who work behind the lines, as it were, and whom I might not even be aware of.

It can be a thankless thing. Usually the rewards are worth it. This time? With the crapstorm going on which Sasquan is the unfortunate recipient of the fallout from? It's tragic that they got to put on a WORLDCON and that the only feeling they will have at the end of it all is relief that it's all over, not regret.

Re: I for one plan on visiting program ops

on 2015-08-13 12:18 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Visit Ops, too, and give them a smile. They have a very serious weight on their shoulders.

Re: I for one plan on visiting program ops

on 2015-08-13 12:28 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Yes, the program folks have done an exemplary job. It was clear, smooth sailing, and they kept in touch every step of the way. Since both the program division head (Laurie Mann) and her director of program operations (Jim Mann)are dear friends of mine, I'd encourage everyone to tell them if they think program rocks.

And offer to buy them beers, maybe...*after* the convention. :-)
Edited on 2015-08-13 12:42 am (UTC)

on 2015-08-13 02:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thank you for saying this.

on 2015-08-13 03:24 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I for one am really looking forward to Sasquan (I'll have books for sale, whee!), and am very grateful for all the work that goes on behind the stage.

Thank you

on 2015-08-13 05:28 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] cat rambo (from
You folks have had an uphill battle, and so much to deal with this year. I am really looking forward to the convention and the result of all your collective dedication. Thanks for this timely reminder.

on 2015-08-13 07:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Thanks Deb. I remember 11 years ago very well. We built a beautiful thing. It was over too soon, but there was much smiling before, during, and after.

This year, I have two huge jobs, but not at the same Org Chart level as N4. They are important, one has helped with making some of the behind the scenes stuff better, and the other will (hopefully) be a great show for the Sasquan members.

I can only hope that Sasquan will be remembered for the good things when we look back on it 11 years from now.

on 2015-08-13 08:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I hear that. :-) We all want people to look back and think, "That was a good time, despite the nuclear attack."

We'll hope everyone's sheltered from the (nuclear) storm. Hope your bits go well!


on 2015-08-13 11:53 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] elizabeth ann scarborough (from
I've been lamenting not being able to go to Sasquan until last week when someone volunteered to make it possible for me to go. I'm really looking forward to it and excited about it.
I will certainly do my best to thank all concerned for their effort while I'm there. This was an excellent post and needed saying.

RE: Sasquan

on 2015-08-14 01:56 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
How delightful that you can come! Safe journey, and thank you for your kindness.

on 2015-08-18 05:16 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Well said, as always.
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