It’s Arisia weekend. I’ve written about Arisia a lot over the lifespan of this blog, though of course only the last iteration, from last January, is still around. Arisia is a general interest geek/fan convention with a focus on speculative fiction and media (though it’s also about art, and costuming, and history, and science, and martial arts, and steampunk, and swordfighting and robotics and theatre and dance…)
It’s been the highlight of my year for nearly a decade; four days where I get to stay in Boston — one of my favorite places — with a few thousand other people with similar interests, where I get to hang out with my brother (who regularly works at the con), where I can introduce my son to and encouarge him in his own nerdy interests and endeavors, where I can talk about and listen to others talking about my interests and passions, where I can be around artists and makers and creators and just sort of exist among people with who I feel comfortable. Some cons I am very social, some cons I am only incidentally social, but I always come back from Arisia feeling excited and rejunevated and inspired.
Needless to say, Arisia is not happening this traditional sense this year. Which is hard. At a time where I feel the need to escape and “get away” the most, I’m absolutely unable to. And — I’ve said this on Twitter already — don’t mistake me, it was absolutely, 1000% the right call. No one should be attending or hosting a convention right now. But it still hurts. It’s still a major fucking bummer, and I think I’m within my right to be bummed out by the situation even though I understand it’s necessity.
So this year we went virtual. It’s… different. It’s impressive how, between the convention’s interface, the zoom panels, and the Discord, they’ve made it relatively immersive and have replicated, as closely as they can in a virtual domain, the feeling of the convention. I’ve really enjoyed the panels I’ve attended so far, and despite all odds, I’ve managed to capture a little bit of that excited, creative spark, in spite of the situation.
It’s not exactly the same, of course; my brother isn’t here, for instance. He usually works security for the convention, and this weekend is generally the only one the entire year where I can guarantee some time with him, and neither is my mother. Bear isn’t running through the hallways doing karate and donning hand-made bat wings and a steampunk fascinator. There are no endless lines at Starbucks, or wandering the lobby barefoot at 1 am, or grabbing curry fries to go at MJ O’Connors before hitting the Masquerade. No sketching in the backrow while I wait for the Dr Horrible Shadowcast to get things set up.
Oh, man. I’m making myself sad. Suffice it to say, it’s not the same. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. This has been (hell, this is; it’s not over until tomorrow at like 4) a great virtual convention.
I just missing… going place, you know. Doing things.
But for even this virtual con to make me excited to make? To make me eager to create more? That’s something. Come on. That’s got to count for something.
Arisia, I can’t wait to be back in person in 2022.
Take care of yourselves, everyone.