I am both grateful and exhausted after spending the weekend at Flights of Foundry, the online convention hosted by Dreamforge. Volunteering behind the scenes was one of the highlights of my 2022, and this year was no different.
Participating in a truly international convention is a unique experience, with programming literally 24 hours a day. That makes the usual con FOMO even more intense (I try to not even look at the schedule for the middle of the night, because I refuse to feel guilty about being asleep at 4am), but it also means getting a diverse range of perspectives. And you can always catch up on the Discord chat over breakfast in the morning! And the FOMO is somewhat mitigated by the knowledge that most panels are recorded, and will eventually be released.
As an awkward duckling, I often have trouble finding my footing in a new space, which is where volunteering comes in handy. It not only gives a sense of purpose, but a built-in little community in the con-ops channel. And let me tell you, the people who run this convention are the nicest, funniest, most hard-working folks. The co-runners, Jessica and Cislyn, work miracles, and really all of the volunteers are amazing people.
This continues to be the year that I dip my toes into the water of paneling. I was on exactly one panel at Flights of Foundry 2023, but it was a doozy! I got to talk about Transfolk in SFF with the likes of Sarah Gailey (a guest of honor!), C.A.P. Ward, and Natalia Theodoridou. I think I managed to conceal my intimidation, and even made a coherent contribution to the conversation. All three were generous, insightful panelists, and I am so grateful to have had for the opportunity to talk with them.
All in all, the weekend has left me inspired and invigorated, if exhausted. My thanks to all the panelists, volunteers, and attendees for a wonderful time!