wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Not ready to walk away just yet

I'm probably not going to go to Otakon next month, if only because expensive hotels are expensive and cheap hotels are too far away...I'd considered staying at the Laurel Days Inn Suites and commuting via BWI and the light rail system, but this program was clearly full of fail and almost certainly would have led to losing my hat. Bad plan. Still mulling over Capclave, the successor to Disclave; while some acquaintances of mine will be there, I have less than no interest in the GoH and the vibe I get from it is Minicon right after the HRMP Wars ended. Sod that for a game of "trufen". So most likely the next con I'll go to will either be Katsucon next February or Detour. (Because I pretty much HAVE to go to Detour.) Whether I'll do anything at these conventions is another matter, as far as volunteering or being on staff goes.

P and RS have been pushing, gently but consistently, the notion that I should just get out of fandom and get on with a life of my own, so to speak. I can see the merits in that suggestion; God knows fandom has taken quite a bit out of me and not returned all that much over the years. On the upside, I've made some great friends through fandom: thaadd, stuckintraffik, and jolest, just to name a few. I've also had a couple of rock star moments and had the satisfaction of seeing something I helped create make it big and do well. On the down side, it's also cost me some friends, a lot of time I almost certainly could have spent more productively, my MA from St. Mary's, and arguably my health. Much like politics, it's often forced me to spend a lot of time with people I would otherwise have crossed the street to avoid.

When I was a young kid just getting involved in fandom back in the 1970s, it looked pretty attractive to me. Pubbing zines, getting to know people who had similar interests to mine, staying up all night singing filksongs, shooting fireworks off the hotel room balconies partying as hard as a high school kid knew how. Looking back on it now, thirty years on, I wonder how much of that was me still smarting from suddenly finding myself on the outside in junior high school. I say that because when I got to see it up close in Minnesota, well, it just wasn't all that attractive any more. Maybe I'd changed too much to want to belong any more, maybe it was just the people, maybe it was a matter of blindly accepting my then-wife's take on the scene...whatever the reasons, it just didn't have the same luster it had six years before. Then the kids arrived, and there just wasn't money or time to indulge in fandom*, except for the Baja Manitoba Free Press, a perszine I was cranking out mainly for the benefit of my Washington-area friends.

As best I can recall, I got back into fandom in 1995 when Space: Above and Beyond came on the air. The show's producers, Glenn Morgan and James Wong, were very responsive to fan feedback, and the "59th Squadron" attracted hundreds of fans around the world. Many of the "Space Ready Reserve" had military backgrounds and gave good commentary, and the show's quality went up in an almost asymptotic curve. When Fox killed the show, the 59th agitated for its return, and celebrated when its re-runs came to the SF Channel. Representing for the SRR got me involved in Diversicon starting in 2000, Arcana in 2000 (mainly because David Drake was GoH), and later on (2003, IIRC) CONvergence and Anime Iowa. I did a lot of volunteering at all of these conventions and eventually wound up on staff at most of them. More significantly, all that volunteering got me to the point where I felt confident taking one of the lead roles in launching Anime Detour.

All of which is really irrelevant to the main point. I didn't spend much time volunteering at Balticon, Disclave, Unicon, August Party or any of the other DC-area conventions I attended in the 70s and 80s; most of those conventions have gone into the dustbin of history anyway. Not that I knew very many of the people involved in them to begin with, really; most of the fans I knew then were young punksneos like me who were at the conventions to have fun with their friends, not to spend our weekends working on the convention. Most of those fans have gafiated in any case, for the same reasons I did - lack of money, lack of time, and more pressing demands on the time we did have. I don't know that I'm quite willing to quit going to conventions, though. I also don't know that I'm ready to quit working on them - the idea of throwing a small party for a few hundred close friends where we can talk about SF, movies, anime and other stuff we like still appeals to me, and I might just get back into it someday. Just not this year.

*Let's face it, fandom is mostly a middle-class pursuit. If you're spending most of your time scrabbling to support your family with temp work and the rest of the non-sleeping time on child care & house maintenance, you aren't going to have a lot of time or money to spend on going to conventions or doing any other fanac. FIJAGH has always been my attitude.
Tags: back in the day, the bush of fandom

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