As always after a large event, particularly one with which I am so involved, I find myself, perhaps, overly reflective. I rarely find wisdom in these moments. I don’t spend time looking back at what I could have done differently, or said in a better way, or where I could have made a better joke. Those are all doubtlessly the case. Painfully so in some instances.

Nor do I feel satisfied that I did anything particularly well. I am a small cog in the Norwescon machine, and an even smaller one when it comes to the genre writing community. More like a loosely screwed nut on a well-used test dummy. I’m a newbie in the trenches, paying my dues, gratefully trading whatever I can for snippets of wisdom from far more experienced masters.

That’s the gig. That’s always the gig.

But Norwescon is more than that. I reflect on the absence. The missing connection that was, for a moment, there. I savor that feeling for as long as I can before I open my eyes, unclench my fists, and watch it trickle between my outstretched fingers.

I think about the moments I just had. Moments that, out of context, would be utterly meaningless to anyone else. How do you contextualize, “I love kale but I wouldn’t date Matthew McConoughey?” How can you place a 3:30 am conversations about entirely fictional realities into normal, mundane life? Discussions of vague folklore merging with the difficulties of FTL story continuity don’t easily fit into my work.

Nor should it. It wouldn’t be special then, and I wouldn’t miss it so terribly when it’s gone.

So shall I miss you, Norwescon.

But what does Norwescon mean? Simple. It’s the people. It’s the colored center in the Venn diagram where experienced masters overlap with fans overlapping with aspirants. The wayward spirits find refuge there. But then again, aren’t we all just a little wayward? It is where the creative, quirky interests we keep in check can explore. We can be children again, dream again, where I can once again hear the ‘what if’s’ of my youth mulling over how cool it’d be if I had magic.

Norwescon means I’m in the company of those who have kept that small voice of wonder alive…. if only for moment.

It is the people, and I salute you.

See you next year.

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