The trip to Spocon ended up becoming one of those lovely summer events that turns out even better than expected. I hadn’t done this con before, but since Worldcon is going to be in Spokane next year, I thought it would be a good idea to scope it out.
I’m glad I did. Epic and lovely things happened on this trip, both personal and professional.
We arrived early and went on a walking tour of the area around the convention center. I will admit that my Worldcon experience is limited (four), but I do think that Spokane will provide an excellent location in many ways. It’s beautiful with good walking accesses. This picture is from the riverfront trail behind the convention center.
There is a food coop one block from the convention center, as well as a vegan/gluten-free deli and bakery next door. The Rite Aid has some grocery supplies. If you have a car, it’s not far to a Fred Meyer (supermarket) which has everything. Heck, we figured that out just from flying stops for gas en route to Miscon. Easy on, easy off of I-90 and there’s probably even non-freeway routes to get there.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly as both panelist and fan. My fellow panelists were an interesting mix of familiar and new to me, and I came away having learned new things or acquired some things to think about. That’s always fun. Plus while elders were definitely around, this con had a lot of younger fans present, not just in gaming and anime panels but in writing panels. They asked a lot of good questions, and I predict we’ll see some rising young writers from this bunch in the next few years.
On the technical side of things, I was happy with my schedule, and Spocon did some very nice things with the table tents. The tents had an event map as well as a panel listing. The primary focus of the writing track was on characters, and by the time I was done talking about characters, I’d absorbed wisdom from other panelists and thought through my own process a little bit more. I had a story that I was working on throughout the con, and I think that spending con time talking about characters, then getting up the next morning to apply some of those techniques after sleeping on it, helped develop that story more effectively. I know I walked away from this con feeling energized and ready to go write more, and that’s not something that happens after every con.
Then there was the networking, and this now-infamous incident:
I didn’t think Phyl was going to do it, until she suddenly put her purse down and started taking off her shoes. But once she did, I realized I wanted to take the pictures. That did happen at the end of a night where we’d gone to an Irish pub, investigated the garbage-eating goat, and looked at the falls.
The Upper and Lower Falls of the Spokane River are an easy walk from the main convention hotel. I took many pictures.
I also roughed out the end of a story and have developed some project ideas to be breathing into life here soon. Western-SF crossovers are beginning to tease my brain. Could be interesting. Other good stuff is in progress after this con, and I feel like it was a much-needed transition from past teacher life to present writer life.
At least that’s what I’m hoping for.