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Notes from the first two days of WorldCon

When I’m working a booth, I have to be radiating energy. I need to be alert and watching for people who need help or have questions. I try to remember names and faces because in a five day show many of those people will come back to the booth. I also need to assess new people to figure out what flavor of patter will best engage them and be comfortable for them. Some people want to browse in peace. Others are brightened by having me talk to them and explain what they are looking at. I was not doing any of that yesterday morning. It puzzled me until I realized that lately I’ve been in a retreat and re-group emotional state. Running a booth is very much an outreach event. I poured a can of caffeinated soda over that realization and suddenly I was able to be fully involved in all the booth running.

It helped tremendously that so many familiar people are here. I love turning around and seeing someone I haven’t seen for months or years. Each day is full of a dozen little catching-up conversations. They are like little appetizers. Hopefully I can find some of those same people in the evening hours when I can sit down to really talk. I did exactly that last night. I found groups of good people and reveled in conversation. The night was capped off when Howard and I were among those who found John Scalzi’s forgotten laptop bag. We went on a quest to return it to him and succeeded. As a suitable reward for this effort, Scalzi bestowed upon us SFWA guest stickers. This means we have weekend long access to the SFWA suite which is full of lovely people and food containing nutrients rather than preservatives.

As is usual we ended up being a meeting place for friends and sometimes a bag repository. We planned for this, deliberately trying to create a space big enough to invite folks in to sit. Having our own little lounge space means that we have people to talk to when there is a sales lull. Sometimes it seems like WorldCon is made of talking. My head gets a little over full, then I step away from the booth for a bit and talk to no one. Or I pull out a notebook and scribble down thoughts. If I pin them to paper they won’t get away and I can stop trying to hold them in my poor overstimulated brain.

Today’s delightful moment which inspired a scribbled note was the moment when I introduced my friend Sal Sanfratello who is former military and a current weapons instructor in Michigan to my friend Larry Correia who has done much the same in Utah. Standing nearby was Ethan Skarsgardt who is current military. Within three minutes they’d covered the sad lack of concealed carry reciprocity in Nevada which meant none of them were armed. But then they all three flipped out their folding knives almost at the same time. The knives all looked the same to me, but they traded them around talking edges and manufacturers. I love it when I can introduce friends and have them instantly get along.

Next I’m headed into another convention evening. I’m not sure if this one will run as long as the other one did. I was up until 2 am last night, which is a wee bit late if I want to be effective the next day. Fortunately it seems to have energized me. I have had a marvelous day and expect to have an even better evening.

Oh, and yes the sales are going well. We’ve paid our expenses and have three days left.

1 comment to Notes from the first two days of WorldCon

  • Alex Gordy

    I know how you mean about having to judge what people need while at a counter, booth, etc. Working at Hardee’s I had a chance to talk to people, some needed a chance to let things out, reassurance and even a hug or a handshake. I talked to the police chaplain the day 3 officers were shot here in rapid city. One died that day. The other died about a week later. I got the news about that from a cameraman. Both seemed to need somebody to talk to. And now I find myself needing people to talk to since I just got fird today. Funny how those things happen. I hope your stay at World Con was successful. I hope to see you guys sometime at a convention.