Eleven years ago, we started a count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. A week before the convention started, we were putting together displays, laughing, packing many, many boxes, laughing, eating take-out together at the NESFA clubhouse, laughing...
It was exhausting, but rewarding. We were building something special for fandom, and our ego-boo was in seeing it all laid out and running. Not running perfectly...but hell, we didn't do this professionally, we had to do it on the cheap, we did it in our spare time. We wanted it to be perfect, but we settled for 90-95%, most of the time. That was damned good.
Today, there is a group of people who are starting their own week-long count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention. This one is in Spokane, Washington. Their convention has been fraught with difficulties. Many of their people are not laughing. They're not even grinning.
They are still trying to build something special for fandom. They're often not getting much satisfaction. In fact, some are sitting around right now, wishing they were somewhere else, dealing with something else. Perhaps at a villa in Tuscany...perhaps in Port-aux-Français (since that's as far away as one can get from the Spokane Convention Center and still be on land) in the Kerguelen Islands (also known as the Desolation Islands - you can get to the irony of that on your own).
Perhaps any Worldcon that lost its co-chair two weeks after winning the right to host the convention would be taxed. Certainly, it was a devastating blow. This Worldcon has also borne the brunt of attacks on fandom's prized Hugo Awards and, as a result, some of the most difficult and disruptive public scrutiny ever for the convention.
I'm not going to point fingers at anyone here. Not one person. I'm attending the convention and taking part in its program, but none of my sweat has gone into making this year's "fannish family reunion." (Yes, I'll listen when my friends need a shoulder...no, that's not the same thing as sweat equity.)
What I will say is this: If you are going to the convention, say something nice to the people you meet with a "committee" or "staff" or "volunteer/gopher" ribbon. You don't need to compliment them on things. Just say something nice. Or maybe something that will make them laugh. Or smile at them and say nothing at all. (This last works particularly well when you don't much like them.)
For those of us who have slogged this slog, sometimes a smile from someone is better than a paycheck. Hell, it *IS* the paycheck.