It’s Monday morning, and Can-Con 2017 is over. I MADE IT, I MADE IT! WHOOOPIEEEE!
Oh, let me explain. The one thing I really wanted to do no matter what was attend Can-Con this year. I’ve had a wonderful 12 months of networking with amazing authors, many of whom are now friends, and I knew this conference would be like a class reunion that didn’t suck. This time around, I’d be more actively involved by sitting on two panels and giving a reading. There’d be one activity each day where I had to speak, but then the rest of the time I could learn and socialize. Easy on the spoons, I thought.
Two weeks before the conference I had a freak accident and did something ungood to my right foot when Noola (my rollator) bucked after getting her front wheels stuck in an unexpected crack-indent-rift-in-space just before a curb. The back wheel smashed into my right foot. As I tried walking home, things felt worse and worse and when I removed my sock, I almost barfed at the sight. But, a late-night walk-in clinic later, I was told it was mostly likely a nasty contusion and x-rays confirmed that. Whew. I would be okay to go to Can-Con.
The Friday before Can-Con, I was Google hang-outting with a writers group when I noticed a fever. But only a slight one, so I took Tylenol and rested. I’d be fine for Can-Con.
Okay, by Monday my throat was sore, but it’s probably a little bug. I’d still make Can-Con.
On Tuesday, both my eyes were running like a faucet, but at least my sore throat was better. I mean, I had a wee sinus cold. But I’d be fine for Can-Con.
On Wednesday, HOLY FUCK, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LEFT EYE? WHY IS THERE GRUNGE AND PUSS AND WHY IS IT PINK? Maybe it’s just a viral side effect. I should be okay for Can-Con.
On Thursday, MY LEFT EYE IS SHUT! HOW DO I GET IT OPEN? OH, NO, MY RIGHT EYE HAS TURNED PINK! At this point my husband yanked me to another walk-in clinic where I was diagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis. Never had it in my life. Got it in both eyes, the day before Can-Con. Ohhhhh, crap. I might not make it to Can-Con.
Friday comes around as Fridays are wont to do, and I cautiously look in the mirror. Hey! My eyes look like eyes again! Thank you, Jesus! Of course, the viral part of my cold makes me feel like total crap, but dammit, I’m going to Can-Con!
And I did. Even though moments before I sat on the Absurdist British Humour in Science Fiction panel I wasn’t too sure if I could put a sentence together, I went in anyway. And had so much fun discussing the mad funny shows and books that influenced our absurd lifestyle as humour writers. Really well-moderated by Ira Nayman, too. (We even bought each other’s books!) After panel, I went home to sleep.
I woke up at 4:35 a.m. hacking up a lung and spitting out unholy things. I had a book signing at 10:00 a.m. and my panel was at 9:00 p.m. Um. Yipes? However, resilient soul I imagine myself to be, I got into the car and went to the conference. Btw, I love wearing eye makeup and felt naked without it. Also, even my hair looked sick. I’m convinced my hair gets sympathy illnesses when I’m not well. My face was puffy, too. Nevertheless, I persisted!
But you know? Hanging with my friends, meeting online friends in person for the first time, listening to great talks, having deep discussions over lunch, gorging on pizza in my BFF’s room for supper, and then sitting on a panel that was 100% spoonie peeps was worth it. The Spooning with Spoonies: Disability and Sexuality panel was not only fantastic, but it also symbolized a dream come true for me. Last year at Can-Con, I saw many people with visible disabilities and knew there had to be more with invisible disabilities. I thought to myself, What if we had a network? I created the Spoonie Authors Network (SpaN) last November, eventually acquired 15 other contributors, and all six people on the spoonie panel were SpAN contributors! Wow! I was so happy having all these amazing humans up there with me, and their responses to questions were intelligent, insightful, and educational. Not to mention hilarious. I went home happy.
Sunday morning was my reading. I love doing readings. Annnnd, I woke up with laryngitis. GO ME! I was also running on maybe two spoons, so I stayed sitting and managed to eke out enough voice to get through it. Still fun, though. So glad people laughed. #cakeblocked
After the conference ended, I had a couple of quiet one-on-one meaningful chats. So nice to grasp onto those precious bonding moments. It was lovely.
My long-suffering husband then collected me, we picked up an untold amount of wings, and questioned our safety when a weird windstorm/thunderstorm created almost zero visibility on the rural road near our burb. BUT WE’RE OKAY, FOLKS! I ate my own weight while wear my minion onesie. Finally, I could rest.
Sooooo. Why didn’t I just stay home and nurse my double-eye infection and virus like a reasonable person? By now if you think I’m reasonable, you don’t know me very well. Yes, it was super annoying to have to put my eyedrops in at certain times and hork up goop, but I feel that the endorphin boost from so many people happy to see me and the building of friendships and the camaraderie of my fellow authors was totally worth it. We often write in isolation, so it’s nice to come together and share our experiences and some hugs! Also, I learn so much from these workshops and convos. The information I gain there helps me understand people better, makes me a strong writer, and helps me become a compassionate person. Most of the panels I attended were #ownvoices, and did I ever get a lot out of them. It’s so important to get the right message from people’s own mouths!
So, Can-Con . . . totally worth being patient zero for! (I managed to keep my germs well to myself, so yay!) Now, I don’t recommend risking your health for a conference and I would have stayed home if I had a fever. (Be smart with your health and listen to your doctor. Mine told me to enjoy the conference, so I knew I wasn’t in real danger.) But you can see how much I love this yearly event. To learn more about Can-Con, visit their website and follow them on social media!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a furry blanket.
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedic space opera where boy meets girl, but girl doesn’t notice boy because she’s sharing a body with another boy. She is also the creator and editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. You can follow Cait on Facebook and Twitter.