Artist in Residence 24: Is there a way outta here…?

So, I got the shot. Well, shots, plural – I got the Pfizer two-shot wonder, the requisite number of weeks apart. I’ve been watching a steady stream of people I know posting  gleeful “I GOT SHOT!” images on social media, showing off bandaids or stickers or someone poking a needle into their arms while they turn their masked faces to the camera and do their best to show that they are smiling. and then there’s the “oh the things we’ll do (again)” posts that follow. From people who can’t wait to go back into the world. From people who are wary of going back into the world. From people who are frankly scared of going back into the world. A world that has changed.

I’m looking at cons. Not that I used to go to a huge number of them – but things like Orycon, in Portland in the fall, have been something of a mainstay and this year they seem to be on track to have an in-person convention again. And I am looking at it with honest yearning, and it would probably be a magic wand of sorts, assuming enough people are brave enough to go there this year, that enough people I know and MISS, dammit, might be there for me to talk to in person again one day some day soon when the plague ends.

But is it safe? will it be safe? How do we learn to trust the world again?

We can make plans, and they can come to pass, and have consequences we may not have anticipated -are we prepared for that? Or are we prepared for the “best laid plans” scenario where we might MAKE those plans and have every intention of putting them into action and then something can happen at the last minute and it all falls through and we’re going to be even more bereft and despondent than if we had never made the plans at all?

Factor into that whole mess the fact that this year I would need to really figure things OUT, if I went – because this time there is nobody to take care of the cats while I am not home and I hae to organise this in a way I have never had to organise it before.

Add to THAT imbroglio the sad fact that a favourite bookseller who was a fixture at this con passed away this year and won’t be there – and THAT changes the face of things, again….

I am living a different life. A different life than I know how to deal with, righ tnow, Is there a way out of here? Because I am kind of blundering about in the dark right now trying to find a new way of living. There is a definite sense of a life before and  a life after – except that I am not quite yet at teh “after” destination, and am still waiting for the sun to come up in that new day, to show me what this unknown country around me looks like now.

It feels a little like I”m living one of my own “fractured fairy tales” (yeah, there’s a new book out. Fractured Fairy Tales. If you need something new to read…) I started out at the proper Once Upon a Time starting line… but I can’t see the finish anywhere. I’m not even sure I know in which direction it lies. One day, one moment, one step at a time, And maybe I’ll see some of you over a cup of coffee or one of those accreting con dinners where new tables just keep getting added to the end of the group as new people arrive to join it. Maybe we’ll meet again, on the other side of the shadows.


About Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander's life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with her husband and two cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma on her website (, her Facebook page (, on Twitter ( or at her Patreon page (


Artist in Residence 24: Is there a way outta here…? — 3 Comments

  1. I’ve signed up for Rusty Con at the end of September in Seattle. This has always been a smaller con, more books, less costumes and media stuff. David Gerrold is GOH. Jim Wright, Stonekettle Nation, is planning on coming in from Florida, and my publishing partner at B-Cubed Press will be there. Investigating train schedules.

    Since it is usually only 3-500 members instead of 2-3000, I figured it was a good place to start.