This past weekend I was at WFC. I had a lovely time, meeting many people I formerly only knew online and seeing lots of old friends. (I would try to list everyone, except that I would inevitably miss someone.)
I also gave a reading, which was well attended despite being in the earliest time slot on the schedule. I read two stories (“Four Seasons in the Forest of Your Mind from the May/June F&SF, and “Please Approve the Dissertation Research of Angtor” from Unidentified Funny Objects 4). I also got it into my head that I would sing the Lovecraft Little Mermaid parody song that I wrote/performed for Drabblecast a couple months ago. WHICH WAS TERRIFYING. I practiced the song several times in the week leading up to the convention, but I had to tell myself that I was just ‘thinking about doing it.’ I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to sing beforehand, and I didn’t make the decision to actually perform the song until after I’d finished reading. Then I said, “so I wrote this song…” and INSTANTLY I was incredibly nervous (which makes it much harder to sing). But I managed to get through the song, and people assured me afterward that it was a nice addition to the reading :)
For anyone who couldn’t be there to hear “Part of Your World” with Lovecraftian lyrics, here is a recorded version:
While my personal experience at the convention was really fantastic, the con was not without its problems. I want to mention two, because I think these are things that need to change for future cons, and getting the word out seems like a good first step.
First, while the convention did make an attempt to improve upon their original harassment policy, the updated version still left a lot to be desired. A good policy helps attendees feel safe, and there are many examples out there for people to draw from. I am encouraged to hear (via Marie Brennan’s blog) that WFC is talking about implementing a standard policy for the convention as a whole.
Second, there were issues at WFC with accessibility. The con is for everyone. If there are elevated stages for the panelists, there need to be ramps so that all the panelists can be up there. I could say more, but instead I’ll redirect everyone to the post that Mary Robinette Kowal wrote on the subject.
There are a lot of things I really like about WFC, so it’s sad that there are some big problems. I see people calling for a boycott of the con, which is a totally valid strategy. On the other hand, I think there is also something to be said for attending, but calling for change. My hope is that more people will speak up about the issues at this year’s con, and that the issues will be addressed in future years.