Confusion is my home science fiction convention. It’s held every year in January in the Detroit area. I went to my first Confusion in 1998. I have not been every year since then. There were a lot of years I missed. I would say I’ve been a very regular attendee since the early 00’s. Something amazing and bewildering that has occurred is that Confusion has become a major literary convention, drawing dozens of authors from all over the country. Editors and agents have begun showing up, too. It’s awesome because it’s great for the convention, and it’s great to have another option for a networking event in the industry.
On the other hand, I’m feeling wistful about the cozy community we used to have. For many years there was a core group of writers attending Confusion, with a rotating writer guest of honor joining the group. There was usually one writer table in the bar, and I always knew where to go when I wanted to decompress from a panel or just get a hug from friends.
Confusion is not like that anymore. There’s no “home base” clump of writers in the bar, and the familiar Michigan faces are spread out among many other writers. That means it’s not that easy to walk into the bar and find “my people,” which is a little sad. On the other hand, that old “writer table” thing was probably overly on the cliquish side, so it’s not all bad that new people have shown up to disrupt the old default rhythms. I also spend a lot more time with fans these days, both because fans are what it’s all about and because so many of them have become friends in my everyday life.
At any rate, I had a great convention and enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making new. All of the panels I was on seemed to go really well, with great topics and great audience participation. I felt a bit spread thin because there were so many people I wanted to see and so little time to squeeze it all in, but that’s a good problem to have. I am beginning to question my introvert identity. It seems like the reason I used to be so fatigued by social stuff and new people has been due to anxiety–overthinking interactions, worrying too much if I was offending or pleasing or even making an impression. Now that I’ve cleared some internal stuff, I find I don’t spend any energy at all on that old overthinking, and socializing and meeting new people doesn’t drain me like it used to. In fact, I wouldn’t say I find it draining at all. I still enjoy my alone time, and quite times with one or two friends, too, so I am probably more of an ambivert these days and enjoying having the option to meet new people without the need to “recover” after.
Staying up too late and having an inadvisable number of drinks? That still requires recovery time.
tl;dr: Confusion was great, but I now need a new cozy writer relaxacon.