That I attended the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association’s (SFWA) Nebula Awards Weekend last weekend is not half as important as how I attended. I attended as a brand new associate member of SFWA. Squee! Or, to put it more manly, with a clenched fist held aloft: Squrn!
That’s right, I applied for membership and SFWA accepted me right before Nebula weekend started. I met its most minimum requirements: one short story published in a qualifying market. I even went to the business meeting, waiting for the Fraud Police to barge in, declare me an imposter and prompt John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal and the rest of the SFWA Board to take turns punching me in the gut.
I am generally not a big joiner of organizations (I have a genetic defect where I attend every meeting and ultimately become the guy who does too much and burns out.) This would be only the second professional association I have ever joined.
But I wanted to join SFWA in a really bad way. It could have been that it provided validation that I am a pro writer. It could be that it gave me an excuse to hang with ‘real’ writers in my beloved genre, and learn from them. I’m not exactly sure, but it was a bucket list item and it is now crossed the hell off.
I had a great time at the Nebula Awards when I wasn’t too terrified to talk to actual science fiction stars who I have nothing to express but fanboy appreciation. Andrew Fox busted me right out of that with a ‘Hey Mark!’ and I owe him thanks. And I owe thanks to the ever-friendly Myke Cole, who subbed for Paul Krugman on a panel on economics in world-building, and not only kept it on subject, but made it a blast as only he can. I did not approach many out of sheer, shy terror. (John Scalzi and I passed one another at the Nebula Awards reception and did the nervous-mutual-nod thing, for what I bet were completely different reasons, neither of which probably reflect well on me.)
I loosened up in time for the banquet and awards, and had a great time at the banquet with RJ Anderson, Diana Peterfreund and her husband, and Alethea Kontiss, among others. Neil Gaiman, James Patrick Kelly, Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice and Alethea all made me get something in my eye with their acceptance speeches or award presentations.
My fellow SFWA members were awfully gracious when they heard I just joined up. Someday I hope to have more in common with these folks, maybe even talk to them, and perhaps view myself as an equal. I will endeavor to heed Neil Gaiman’s excellent advice and Make Good Art. But for now, I am proud, and full of squee (I mean squrn – yes, I just made that term up).