FIYAHCON and the value of my time

But when it came to it, I didn’t want to just write a typical con summary like others I’ve written before, because FIYAHCON isn’t like other cons.

What I will say is that my very positive experience volunteering at FIYAHCON aligned with thoughts I’ve been having more broadly about where and with whom I want to allot my available volunteer time (and work time, as well, but that’s a somewhat larger and more complicated topic).

There is no end to the causes to volunteer with and it can be easy to overextend yourself when you know you can help and, particularly, when you have skills that are in need. And a lot of them are perfectly decent organizations.

But there are only so many hours available and it becomes a matter of what is worthwhile, what will have impact, and what is of most value.

I’ve spent a lot of time on things (organizations, issues, etc) that are good (sometimes very, very good), but unlikely to result in meaningful change. And I don’t think that people who continue to be part of those things are wrong, necessarily, but within the context of limited time and energy, they’re not areas I want to put my effort anymore.

So what is of value? Doing whatever I can to contribute to the undermining of this racist, misogynistic, colonial, homophobic, transphobic, ableist system we are mired in.

FIYAHCON was a great weekend.

I am going to finish this off with a short bit about the panels at FIYAHCON, because every one I attended was amazing. Often at conventions, when panels address “diversity” or similar, the discussion is, at best, at a 101 level (what is this form of diversity? should there be more of it in SFF?). Hopefully the latter question is rhetorical (but sometimes you wonder).

But here is a list of some of the panels I had the privilege of watching at FIYAHCON.

  • Palestinian Futurism
  • They Came in Great Ships/First Colonization
  • Consciousness and Capitalism
  • Law in SFF, and Why It Matters
  • Homegoings: Death Isn’t Always Mourning

As well, there was BonFIYAH, fringe-style programming aimed at those in non-North/South American timezones. Which meant more awesome panels, like: 

  • A World Made for Us: Disability-/Neurodiverse-Friendly Architecture and Industrial Design
  • Time is an Illusion: Alternatives to the Gregorian Calendar
  • It’s Still Colonialism When It Happens to Elves
  • Sensitivity Reading While Marginalized: Workshopping Around White Fragility

Such depth and such wonderful panelists offering really thoughtful analyses. There wasn’t a bad panel amongst them and so, so much to think about in the content. (Never mind the additions to my to be read list which are … a lot. A wonderful person compiled many of them.)

Story A Day #4: what I’ve been writing

So! What I’ve been writing!

This story was about a pair of (maybe humans?) who find a novel in an antiques shop on a distant world. This find is complicated by the prohibitions on entertainment in the society they come from and their divergent reactions to the book.

The story I ended up with was a vague and dreamy one from the point of view of someone in the process of dying, or moving through the bardo (as I said, it is kind of vague, even to me).

And that’s all for now!  Take care.

Story A Day #3: what I’ve been writing

We are just past halfway through the month and this is my third ‘what I’ve been writing for Story A Day’ post, covering another six days.

I have sort of kept up with writing a story every day. It is September 18th and I have written 18 stories, but there have been a few no-story days and a few days of multiple stories.

Aside from the daily stories and these more regular than usual for me blog posts, I am supposed to be finishing my novella. This week was not great for that because of a ridiculous amount of day-job work, but I’m hoping to do some this weekend.

On to the stories!

I ended up with a story about a dying star looking back at their past life, over billions of years, and what was to come. Not much of a plot to it, more of a reflection, but it came out better than I expected.

And it sort of ties in with the novella.

This one was about a person living in the underworld answering annoying questions from a new arrival trying to find their bearings. The story I wrote was not particularly long, but I quite liked how it came together and I am definitely going to go back and develop this further.

The story was prompt-adjacent, but very stream of consciousness and not particularly useful in the end. But that’s the way it goes and not every day ends up with a story you want to develop. Onwards!

I wrote another novella-universe prequel story about leaving Earth. So far this month I’ve approached this aspect of my novella-universe from a few different perspectives, trying to find the right angle for what I’m trying to get at.

I really like how different the prompts can be from one day to the next and how this encourages me to experiment with varying approaches (what if character A is motivated by x instead of y, for example).

But my story does include a groundhog, so there’s that.

And that’s it! More soon.