So, I was asked about six months ago what I was doing in August 2015. Not being a person who knows what she's doing the next day, I said to my biggest geek friend, "I don't know, Erin. But I'm guessing you have a suggestions. If it's coming out to Boston, I can't just yet, though I'd love to. "
"No, not that far," she reassured me. "Just Spokane." I got all excited, "You're coming to Spokane?!" She laughed, "No, but we hope George R.R. Martin will be, among others." I assured her I'd rather see her, but, being a big Martin fan, I was geeking out a little. "Okay, what are you talking about?"
"I need help with the YA Area of Sasqaun, someone local, and it'll be held in Spokane. Do you think you could help?"
When I said yes I didn't know what I was getting into. Mounds of emails, important meetings, scheduling, contacting authors, researching the area, orientation, site-gatherings and talking to people, lots of people. Having never even attended a Worldcon, it was all a little overwhelming, but, more than anything, it was very very fun.
To be here now, in the thick of what I could only imagine when I saw the empty Convention Center not long ago, is awe-inspiring. Cosplay, costuming, characters galore: minions, Victorian ladies, Steampunk pirates, Girl Genius and Discworld characters come to life, Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Homestuck, LOTR, and even Zelda...So much geek that my head almost explodes from eyes bulging and taking in the fun.
I remember helping to schedule panels. It was the hardest, most time consuming, most confusing part of the process, and, looking at my Con guide, it still boggles me that all these little things I typed in the screen are coming to life, that people are attending them, enjoying them and talking about them. I've acted, done set design and directed in plays before, but working for Sasquan was like doing all of those things all at once, and the end result is the same: relief and joy.
I'be been asked, by several people, "Oh! Your first Worldcon and you helped put it together?! What is your favorite part?" And I can honestly answer:
Seeing how much people are enjoying themselves, making connections, meeting old friends and being with like-minded others. There is a a palpable energy in the air and it's very positive, and that's my favorite part.
I've met people who are fans of my work, people who know what I do and think I'm pretty okay at it, but my favorite thing to do when I meet them is not talk about my books. That's embarrassing. It's asking them why they come to cons at all. What they love about it. Because I, too, came to be connected: to readers, to writers, to other geeks who would understand my tattoo references and love of all things fantastical. And I feel very loved, very blessed to be where I am.
But, my favorite part, one that will stick with me forever, is when I was putting together the YA Meet and Greet for the Sasquan Teens and Preteens. I made sure the food, free books, games and things were all in their places and I stood outside the room to greet the youth and to stay outside of their hair. A father sat outside the lounge, letting his teen have her fun a part from him and, at the end of the meet and greet, she came out of the lounge, beaming.
"Dad! I found my kind! I found my people!" I can't say why, but that still brings tears to my eyes. Maybe it's because, when I was young, I did not live in a geek culture, so when I finally found people as passionate about the worlds and words behind my favorite books that was exactly what I wanted to yell, too. If my dad had been there, I would have rushed into his arms, excited and joyful.
Because, you know what? I've found my people, too. And it's a beautiful thing. Warm regards from a very tired but very blessed Sasquan staff member. May the rest of the Con be your time to shine. Enjoy yourselves, my fellow geeks. May you all live long and prosper.
The Youth of Sasquan
H.M Jones is the author of B.R.A.G Medallion Honor and NIEA finalist book Monochrome, its prequel Fade to Blue, the Adela Darken Graphic Novellas, Al Ravien's Night, The Immortals series, and several short stories.