Post Norwescon Thoughts and Feelings

Melissa and I got up late and basically went straight to the airport. I’m sitting relatively close to our gate, with a couple of free hours in front of me, and a whole lot of thoughts running through my mind.

Before I get too much into it, this is the 4th post in a row, which might look like I’m getting into daily posts again, but I’m not. My plan going forward is to write one post a week, unless it is October, or unless there are other circumstances pushing me to write more or less. I’m going to look into setting up an actual mailing list, which will be different from my blog. That’s an item for later. Right now, it’s retrospective time while I wait for a plane.

Questions floating through my mind throughout the con: Why am I doing this? Why Norwescon? Was it worth it? Did I learn anything? Did I have a good time?

I can probably answer some of those questions now.

Why Norwescon? Because it was the next convention. It’s on the same coast as my home, so it’s not that hard in terms of tavel. I like Seattle. I knew some of the people coming to the convention, and I like them, too. Jim Butcher was going to be guest of honor, and there was a little bit of a draw there. It’s a shame he caught Covid and couldn’t make it, but him being at the con was more of a bonus than a major reason.

I had never attended Norwescon, and this seemed like a good year to give it a try.

Was it worth it? It was not financially worth it. I met a few people. I hung out with some great people, especially dinner on Friday night. I’m not so transactional as to think of these meetings, these friends and acquaintances, in terms of how they might advance my career. Hanging out with people should be its own reward.

“But will it?” asks the devil on my shoulder. Who knows? Gun to my head, I’d say “probably not” but this is a funny industry. Heck, maybe someday I’ll be the one helping them out.

Did I learn anything? I went into several panels with an open mind, and I listened to intelligent, articulate people talk about craft in a compelling way. Much of what they had to say involved practices I have already embraced. Much of the material in these panels is targeted at people with less experience than me, so I’m not sure if I learned anything worth mentioning.

Whether I learned anything or not, I feel the hint, of a notion, of a possible quantum of inspiration. I felt like writing while I was there, which I haven’t felt strongly in over a month. I finished a revision I had been putting off for a long time. I’m thinking about stories, and collaboration, and the next, big thing. That may or may not be better than learning something, specifically.

Why am I doing this? and Did I have a good time?

I’m putting these questions together and answering them together because, if it’s not obvious, I’m still working through depression. I’m not having a good time, even when I’m hip-deep in my favorite activities. The knob on the “fun” volume was turned to a low setting and then snapped off.

I can still laugh, and make jokes, and in the moment, be perfectly fine. I’m fine right now! But… I’m kind of not fine, too.

Last night, I played in a tabletop roleplaying game, and I did my best. This is one of the activities I love the most, and while pick-up games like that can be terrible, this one wasn’t. The person running it was pretty good, and the other players were okay. It was fun! But the enjoyment I felt playing the game felt distant. It was someone else’s good time, and I was getting it second-hand, if that makes sense.

That is why I do this. I go through the motions, feel what I can feel, and keep working at it. The alternative is to just sleep a lot and wait out the clock. I’ve done plenty of that this month. It’s better to pretend everything is okay than to give in to the despair.

Anyways. No need to make this one a complete bummer.

I’ve had at least one event every month this year. I think April is relatively clear. I’ll attend Michael’s next Bard for Life show, but that’s not quite the same as attending a convention.

April looks like a good month to do some writing and maybe finish some projects. We will see.