Last weekend I attended ConFusion 2023 with my partner Zyra, from Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon. This was my ninth ConFusion, and Zyra’s second. Her first experience was last year, still in the middle of the pandemic. 2022 was not, through no fault of their own, the best year in ConFusion’s history by a long shot. Fortunately 2023 was much improved, and though still small by the standards of many of the previous years, it was a lot of fun and felt like the ConFusions of old.
This year I volunteered as part of the Operations team and as a general dogsbody, taking care of those things which needed taking care of and lifting heavy things, as well as sitting at the Ops table in the early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday. I am used to waking up at 5:00 to feed the cats, work out, and write, so waking up at 5:00 to sit at a table in a mostly-empty hallway was not difficult, except when it came to staying awake.
I participated on two panels this year, “What do Trends in Artificial Intelligence Generated Art and Writing Mean for Artists and Authors?” on Saturday with Jason Sanford, Rick Lieder, and Bill Higgins, and “Creativity in the Age of AI” on Sunday with Jason Sanford, Rick Lieder, and John Scalzi. I moderated the first, and Jason moderated the second. I had a great time on these panels, and will be posting about the content therein over the next couple of weeks.
The best part of conferences, of course, is the people. I spent most of my non-panel, non-Ops time hanging out in the bar area, talking to many wonderful people, and this experience filled my heart to near-bursting! Over the course of the long weekend, I spent time talking to, among others, Dave Palmer, Kathe Koja, Jason Sanford, Patrick Tomlinson, Maurice Broaddus, Rick Lieder, Jordan Kurella, ZigZag Claybourne, Saladin Ahmad, Catherine Stein, Rami Ungar, and Storm Michael Humbert. Many of these people I already knew, and the rest I met for the first time this past weekend. In both cases, my life was enriched by their presence.
I also spent a lot of time hanging out with the members of the ConFusion ConCom, talking about the history of ConFusion, the day-to-day tasks, the unexpected issues when working with hotels and bars, and the scores of other details which must be dealt with as they arise. These were fascinating discussions and only increased my respect for the volunteers who run fan conventions of all sorts.
So what’s next? At the moment I plan to be more involved with the next ConFusion in January 2024. That means that, after a few weeks off for rest and recovery, I will be sitting in on meetings with the ConCom and figuring out where I may be of the most assistance. And I am very much looking forward to this experience. ConFusion is one of my favorite events of the year, and I am happy – nay, eager – to contribute to its continued success in any way I can.
And before I forget, I treated myself to a new fountain pen, courtesy of Brad, the Pen Guy. It is beautiful to see, and a joy to write with.