I started this last night, saying I was too tired to do full justice to CatalystCon in one post, and in the midst of a book tour (see you tonight at 7:30 at The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco!), I still am this morning, except to say that I am so glad I attended. It was a busy long weekend, and a lot to take in. I talked to old friends and made new ones, had the honor of sharing rooms with two groups of wonderful attendees in my writing workshops, learned and asked questions and talked about everything from slut-shaming to kilts to theater to sex work to purses to The Story of O to Hello Kitty. I realized sitting in a panel on sex-positive parenting how smart the people in the room were, and I don't necessarily mean book smart, though they are that too. I mean heart smart, compassionate, dedicated to creating an open and free and equal world for their children, and, by extension, all children. The level of knowledge I encountered, along with bravery, a willingness to ask questions, to raise attention to things people may not have known, to foster discussion, to be kind and share, to say hello to strangers, to engage, was something I don't truly have words for, but was wonderful. I thought about aspects of sex and relationships I'd never thought about before, and I'm sure will be thinking about for along time.
I connected like-minded people and did my best to pay attention, by which I mean some of my games on my phone lapsed and I didn't read blogs but I read tweets and then memorized names and faces so I could follow up on all the thoughts sparked by the conversations I heard. There were moments where I was so tired I could've cried, but by the end, all I could think was that I wished it were one day longer.
More even than previous Catalysts, I felt like I learned that I am on the right path, doing what I am meant to be doing, surrounded by people passionate about their areas of interest. I met people who were brave enough to hear about Catalyst and not necessarily know anyone who'd be there but come anyway and learn. I encourage you to submit panel ideas starting tomorrow, September 16th, for CatalystCon East, to be held March 27-29 in the Washington, DC area. I hope to be there, and once again have my mind blown and walk away inspired and awed. That may sound hokey, but it's true. Hopefully I will have a chance to pause and capture a bit of why I enjoyed it so much.