WorldCon 2019: A Love/Hate Relationship

I went to Dublin on Thursday; flew back Monday. We were staying in the Grand Canal Hotel in Dublin (which was lovely) and were mostly based at the CCD (amazing building!) for WorldCon 2019. Obligatory “the organisation and volunteers rocked!” – it must be so much hard work to plan and organise something like that, and even though there were hiccups and problems, most of the ones I saw got resolved very fast, and everyone was very open to listening – everyone was wonderfully helpful when we needed it, and most of the events I saw were going very smoothly. So huge kudos to the con staff and volunteers for an amazing – if ridiculously huge! – job.

But as for my personal Con experience: I’m now back, and need to update after Friday’s somewhat grey post… and I’m really struggling over what to say or how to un-tangle the tangle, as it was definitely a love/hate feeling.

The LOVE is that it was amazing to see people: I had an absolute blast meeting so many people (I’m going to fail to namecheck so many so let’s just go with “ALL OF THE PEOPLE”) and EVERYONE was AMAZING. Everyone was chilled, enthusiastic, happy to geek out over books or reading or the people they’d met or travelling or just whatever was on their mind; I chatted and listened and geeked and it was awesome. I got to meet a whole bunch of friends I knew; met people I’d only met online, which was fantastic; and met people whose books I’d read or edited or simply want to read. The people were AMAZING, and that absolutely rocked.

And professionally, it was also amazing: I met agents and authors and didn’t embarrassingly fangirl over anyone (ok, I managed to keep it together until they’d left and then I did, so I don’t think anyone noticed) and got to talk books and schedules and future projects, and I met a whole bunch of industry people (how are there so many Kates?!) and I came back with half a box of cards instead of a whole one and that rocked too. So the people and meetings were so good, and a definite highlight.

The HATE is… everything else, I guess. I saw one panel, and that was mostly by accident; and actually when I looked at the schedule, there weren’t that many I thought “yes, that looks like one I really want to see!” They all looked interesting, and the lines and queues and huddles and chatter suggested that a wonderful amount of people saw them and enjoyed them – but just… not for me, I guess. (A complex situation with work also meant that I ended up having no time to see panels, but that’s a separate problem, although it definitely added to the frustrations.) The kaffeeklatsches were the same; there were some by authors that I love, but I have no idea what I’d say to them! I don’t know what I’d want to talk about, and felt that I’d be taking the place of someone who did have a desire to be there. And readings I struggle with anyway, as I struggle with audio (I’m not much of a TV or audiobook person due to that) so… and I got into the Dealer’s Room once (again, work issues) and that was frustrating, as there was stuff I wanted to buy but felt I couldn’t and…

(Ok, yes, I did buy some books – I’ve wanted Becky Chamber’s Wayfarer‘s series in hard copy since I read the first one, so I got those, and Marie Brennan’s latest. So I did get some treasures, despite ending up thinking I’d come back for others and then not being able to.)

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, really. It should have all been so exciting and interesting and it’s my world and my people and my subjects, and I just… felt grey. I was grey while I was there; and I’m grey now I’ve gotten home and decompressed. I’m not sure why I can’t just be pleased to have just spent a weekend in the company of fantastic people. I’m feeling like an ungrateful, miserable lump and I don’t really know where the feeling is coming from. I just mused over whether I’d go again, and my feeling is actually “I’m not sure” which… isn’t what you’re meant to do after cons. You’re meant to be drained and tired and have Con Crud but say it was wonderful! and brilliant! and ALL OF THE PEOPLE! and Look At My Book Haul! and I Went To Amazing Panels! and… I’m just “meh.”

I don’t know what I was expecting, so it’s not let-down expectations; I don’t think it’s come-down from a Con high of meeting people, as I had the grey feeling there too. It seems to be a complex tangle of Imposter Syndrome and feeling like I only half belong; a mix of feeling like I was always doing the wrong thing (work! rest! see everything! talk to everyone! why are you here? go there!) and feeling that I was doing too much, or not enough. It seems to be being talked over and overlooked by some people, and having too much attention given to me by others when I’m too small and unimportant to deserve it. It seems to be not knowing my place – writer? publisher? fan? – and somehow not managing to ever fulfil any of those roles with the right degree.

I always had slightly the wrong mask on or the wrong tools in my hands, wherever I was; I didn’t know what I was allowed to be, and ended up not being able to be any of it.

But overall, I guess that even though I’m not sure about my Con experience, I’m very glad I went, and I’m so glad I got to meet people and chat and smile and geek out. I have an amazing set of people who surround me, and I’m so so pleased to have been able to add to it, along with actually meeting so many of those I hadn’t before.

My friends – both old and new – absolutely made the trip worthwhile.

Worldcon 2019: A bit of a shaky start!

So… I’m at WorldCon 2019 for the next few days, and I’m struggling a lot already. Due to a bunch of factors I’m not here as an official Rebellion person, which is simultaneously making me feel guilty for not helping enough with prep/panels/author signings and giving me major imposter syndrome as I don’t feel I can introduce myself as part of a team I’m not really acting on behalf of at the moment. I’m also struggling with my memory issues (15 years of depression has left me with blanks and problems recalling things, which usually I compensate for – if you know me, you know I love my go-to lists and calendar!) but it’s always highlighted in huge social situations when I can’t always recall a name/face/book/connection as fast as I want for the conversation…

And then add in a dose of social anxiety and feeling like I’m just saying and doing all the wrong things, me feeling like a very small fish in a very big pond where I don’t know many people personally so am struggling with conversations, anxieties with food that mean I’m not always managing to eat when I need to, introvert exhaustion that means I don’t feel I can attend all the events I want to/should/could, professional and personal worries that I’m not seeing the right people/meeting People I Should Know/chatting to anyone I do already know…

I’m just feeling like a tiny fractured mess hiding in a corner and waving a small flag that says “I do like books, honest!”

It is just me, though: the Rebellion crew have been absolutely fantastic and everyone’s been absolutely lovely and so welcoming, and the con’s been friendly and open and looks interesting, so I don’t think there’s anything anyone else can do – I just need to keep going and keep talking to people! Had some lovely conversations yesterday and it was really great to meet some people I only know from email or books, so I just need to hold on to the highlights and take time out when I need it…

But if you are here and do spot me, come say hi. I am feeling very lost and would appreciate a friendly face to help wave the “I like books, honest!” flag.

(Probably wearing another ridiculous slogan today – likely “Books: helping introverts avoid conversation”!)

(Already having so many anxiety worries over even saying any of this, but… bah! I’m going to be ok. More tea, and then just go do things!)

WorldCon! Dublin 2019

I’m going to WorldCon 2019! I’m terribly disorganised with it (I’m tagging along with work, although I am technically there on my own, so David’s been doing most of the organisation) and I’m not on any panels, but I’m going to be there!

The schedule is also available now – and runs to a silly number of pages. I’m quite glad I’m not involved, but at the same time, I want to do EVERYTHING.


I think I’m officially booked for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; I’ve got a few people I want to meet (some face-to-face for the first time, which is going to be exciting!) but beyond that, I am FREEEEE!

Space fabric

So if any of you lovely folk (ok, any of my authors/agents/random people I know on Twitter) want to actually meet me, ping me an email 🙂

Also, I’m going to try to get my Space Skirts finished. It’s either that or I’ll be wandering around in a foxy one for some of the time!

(I’m also going between “this is going to be so fun!” and “ohFUCK I have to talk to people?!” so I’m a bit nervous about it… but it’ll be fine.)