ICFA: thoughts, reflections and ruminations

My trip to Orlando for ICFA was nothing short of a tale worthy of “An Incredible Journey” proportions. Seven hours to Dubai, then a two hours transit before flying to Orlando with a total of thirteen hours.

I landed at Orlando International and the first thing I saw were raptors in the sky. To me, seeing raptors with their huge wings soaring on thermals is a good sign. That means that things will/would go well. But Customs was something else for me: it was more than a hour’s wait to have my passport checked! I am glad that Jaymee waited for me patiently and I got to Orlando Marriott in one piece, very thirsty and very jazzed.

Walking into the corridors of the hotel and seeing the ICFA standee was mind-blowing. I am here! I am finally here! I went mad over the table with the free books (by the end of my stay, half of my luggage was books). Then we managed to get our room and gosh, a hot shower was the best thing on the planet.

Dinner was at the Crimson Tide and the company was solid: Jaymee Goh, Isabel Yap, Alyssa Wong, Fran Wilde, Ted Chiang, Sam Miller and Bradford Lyau. Then it was bed-time and my body clock trying to adjust to the time zones (Singapore is technically in the future).

The next morning saw us at Denny’s: John Chu, Emily Jiang, me and Jaymee. I loved the omelette. At the same time, while we ate, I saw an ibis!

I am fast forwarding a little,  bear with me.

Met Nisi Shawl and had a total fangirl moment. Met Tempest and I love her to bits! Then I met Nalo Hopkinson. And you know what? My mind is blown and I am in total awe of these fierce women.

Caught up with Helen Young. We had mussels. Talked about Australia and that we really need diversity in fantasy, not just lip service. Then I also met up with Keffy, Julia Rios, her husband Moss, Amal El-Mohtar, Rachel Swirsky, Gail Carriger, Mari Ness – and of course, the story of Febreezed male huly dulies is now storified. 😛

Friday morning saw me reading The Lessons of the Moon from the Accessing The Future anthology edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-ayad . I thought I really garbled the reading, especially from the start – and was surprised that people actually loved it, to the extent of nominating it for the Hugos! I was – and still am – very flabbergasted. Thank you, Shaun! The reading taught me never to self-reject, that my voice does matter. My work is good and I am proud of it.

And met Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman! It was warm and fun resting on the huge cushion (need to get one for the house)

Saturday morning, before I flew off, was a panel with Eric Flint, Madeleine, and me. Publishing, the hard work, the reality of it etc.

Thank you so much for welcoming me to ICFA. I loved the dawn swim with Fran, Julia, Amal, Moss and Rachel. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, Karen. It has been a very powerful experience for me. I do not get to attend conferences and conventions frequently – and this has been a miracle. ICFA this year was right smack in the week-long term break for me. Thank you so much for the conversations, for the hugs and for the encouragements.

I am very very very  grateful.

I can’t tell people that they must go to ICFA. This year was a confluence of luck, finances and timing for me. For me, I can’t drop everything just to attend a con or conference – so this is a very big miracle for me. For many, it’s just time, finance and work that affect our decisions to attend a con. Accessibility in so many levels matters – I hope to see that such opportunities can be given to people. Many thanks to Con or Bust for their help!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jaymee Goh (@jhameia)
    Mar 28, 2016 @ 03:19:03

    I am so, so, so glad you got to make it out and enjoyed yourself so much. It was so wonderful to see you being so excited and positive about meeting all these people and getting to spend precious time with you is always nice ^^ (Sorry if I got cranky a bit; dissertating and everything.) I love you so much!


    • jolantru
      Mar 28, 2016 @ 12:10:14

      Hugs! Thank you so much for being there for me when I was jazzed from the plane flight. And it was awesome spending time with you. I totally understand the need to dissertate though! No worries! HUGGLES!


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