As the pandemic batters our social lives and economies, it’s been particularly hard for conventions to stay afloat. WisCon, the feminist convention that happens annually in Madison WI, is making an appeal. In short:
We don’t have enough funds to pay for what happens if we don’t fill our contracted block of hotel rooms, and we can’t afford to cancel the hotel contract.
We are in a volunteer shortage crisis. It takes a LOT of people to make WisCon happen, and we lack dozens of volunteers in key positions.
–Kit Stubbs (they/them), treasurer and 2022 co-chair
I haven’t attended WisCon in a while, but it was the first convention I got attached to. For several years, Vylar Kaftan and I — along with some rotating folks like Jennifer Pelland — did a reading series called Taboo where we read stories with unexpected content. Here are a few of the stories we read:
“Even a god has human needs, if he resides in a living body.” Aki attends his incarnated god’s private functions, starting with the chamber pot.
I wrote this story as an exercise at the Iowa Writers Workshop based on the prompt “use the words: kiss dead and dog.” I decided to go for it and put all three in the first sentence. “Would you kiss a dead dog?” The story doesn’t get less intense from there. Definitely rated R or X.
Pelland’s Nebula-nominated piece tells the stories of the ghostly victims from several different New York disasters, including 9/11 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. I think this story may feel less like a hot button now than it did, but for a long time, even touching 9/11 in the way this story does–empathetic and intelligent, but unflinching–was daring.
In their call for assistance, Stubbs lists a few things people can do to help get the convention back on track, including:
sign up for their newsletter
volunteer for the non-profit that organizes the convention, or for the convention itself
attend the convention, May 27-30, 2022! (and book your room at the hotel in advance)
spread the word
I should also add: Stubbs writes that the convention is working to bring the convention into better alignment with its antiracist values, “particularly as experienced by our attendees and volunteers of color.”
“Would you kiss a dead dog?”
Either right before or right after I said “Good bye Rocky. We loved you.”
Then I left the room, walked to the front desk, and got out my checkbook to pay the veterinarians’ bill. That took longer than expected; it was a while before I could see the checkbook and for my hand to become steady enough to write the check.