A few months ago I received a message from someone I had never met.
I had been promoting one of my books on Giantess City and caught the attention of a gentleman named Bryan. He told me that he was putting together the first size based convention and wondered if I'd be interested in attending, writing a story for the Con, being on a panel, and possibly having a booth.
My first reaction was that this was some sort of con game. I'd been lurking on and off in various size communities since I had a safe computer to lurk from (over 20 years btw) and I had never heard of anyone even seriously suggesting such a thing. I almost dismissed it out of hand, but couldn't figure out how the con job was supposed to work. It wasn't as though Bryan were asking me for money. And it's not like I'm some super rich person who would make a good kidnap target.
For the record -- I'm a shitty kidnap target anyway.
So I used my google fu to see what I could find out about this SizeCon. I found out about a failed Kickstarter. Not the best sign, but I've seen failed Kickstarter campaigns for other things I loved (I'm still sad about the third Lost Skeleton movie not making it) and was willing to look deeper.
What I found was a lot of hate. Not from Bryan or any of the other organizers/allies, but from a dedicated base of people who seemed personally insulted by the very idea of a group of size enthusiasts getting together and sharing their experiences. Some saw it as a way to exploit the community; some had less obvious motivations. There was a fight going on and the loudest voices seemed to be the ones against the Con. I scrolled through forum posts and saw the organizers and friends of the Con constantly defending the basic idea. They didn't seem like they were out to trick anyone, but I was still a little leery.
As I kept on reading and coming across more and more people putting SizeCon down the more I wanted SizeCon to work. I've been in other fandoms where the cynics tell you to give up even before you get started. Babylon 5 is the one that leaps to mind.
So I chose a side.
I spoke to my wife about it. First as a bit of a lark, with the conversation growing more and more serious as time went by. I asked Bryan for some follow up information and asked some friends who live in NYC if their offer of sleeping on their foldout couch was still good.
Slowly I began to talk myself into going, and doing the things that I needed to do. I began to interact with some of the other people. I wrote a story that featured a shout out to SizeCon and saw it posted in several places. I went through the headache of figuring out how to get some print editions of some of my work, saved the date with my NY friends, got my first ever business cards printed, and worked with other people on the SizeCon slack channel to get things done.
But there was still a part of me that wasn't sure if this was really going to happen. Not because of any lack of faith on Bryan and Veronica's part; they were giving so much of themselves for this that it would have been a crime if it didn't happen, but crimes do happen. I had my doubts and I held off on buying both my ticket to the con and the bus tickets to NYC.
The thing that gave me the impetus to take the plunge and buy my tickets was Kreeyz. Not that I'm calling Kreeyz a thing, it's just that my brain is still swirling from a great vacation. Kreeyz had to travel from France and when I saw the update that he'd bought his ticket I just had to commit.
I can complain about traveling (and I probably will in a little bit) and the 1001 inconveniences that happen when you leave your comfort zone, but here was a person willing to cross time zones, customs, and deal with an entirely different language. My problems were so small in comparison. There were a lot of people going above and beyond to make SizeCon happen and Kreeyz was one of them.
Tickets were bought and books were ordered. I made the final confirmation call to my friends in NYC. Somewhere along the line the number of panels I was going to be involved with blossomed from a couple to five and I found myself upgraded from guest to volunteer.
To make this work for my family, I had to make the trip without my wife. The logistics just wouldn't work out any other way. So she dropped me off in the dark at the bus station and watched me drive away to NYC with my bag of books and business cards and a notebook with my notes for the panels that I was going to be involved with. And a Bizarro comic that she had snipped out of the paper to put on my booth.
The trip was long, but mostly uneventful. I had hoped to be in the city in time to help with setup at the Con, but my bus got stuck in traffic and I ended up getting into the station about two hours late and by the time I got something to eat that was not an option.
I didn't get too much sleep that night on a strange bed, in a strange city, without my wife, having no idea how the next morning was going to go. I probably got three hours of sleep; from what I've heard, I probably had more than most. Certainly more than Bryan or Jitenshasw did.
My friends navigated me to coffee and the venue. I'd come out of the cupboard (a term I first heard at SizeCon) to them about a year ago and while they didn't share my fetish they were willing to go above and beyond the call of friendship to support me. They knew that I was nervous about going. I was worried that no one would be there or that everyone was going to be very standoffish. I was picturing all of the awkwardness of a middle school dance combined with the shame of a fetish that no one talks about.
My friends volunteered to attend the Con.
I can't stress how huge this was for me. I knew that even if my worst case scenario happened that I'd have them there to help and support me. Knowing that they would be there let me focus on what I needed to do and not freak out about what might happen. If you attended the Con you almost certainly saw them sitting at my booth with me or had the chance to speak with them when they covered the booth while I was off working panels.
Well it turned out that I didn't need to worry about anything. SizeCon was better than I could have hoped it would be.
The Con was set to start at 10 and we got there early in order to set up the booth. My set up didn't take long and I started working my way from table to table looking at the amazing art and trying to link names I'd seen online with faces and possibly track down some of the panelists to ask them some questions when things were quiet.
I'm going to fanboy out and say that I had the chance to meet with the Minimizer. I think that his site and the Shrinker's Literary Companion (by Dreamtales) were my two favorite sites back in the day and it was great to actually meet the man and a bit mind blowing to hear how critical he is of his own work. To me, he is one of the top artists in the field. I think I was his first customer of the day, but there may have been someone who beat me.
I did get the chance to meet and (all too briefly) speak with Kreeyz. Talked about Doctor Who with Valeyard Vince and Mac Rome. Had the chance to talk about neck tie options and Colossal Boy with Giant Toby.
Then I met Miss Kaneda.
I didn't know what to expect. We'd exchanged polite messages while organizing the panels, but really hadn't had the chance to get to know one another. We also ended up playing Skype tag when the volunteers were tele-organizing.
I did know that we seemed to be on the same wavelength in terms of how the panels were going to be run, but aside from that, I only knew her as the sadistic giantess who crushes tinies souls in Twitter and beyond.
I hate to break it to her fans, but Kaneda is a sweetheart. She was so welcome and opening that I couldn't ask for a better SizeCon buddy. Which was great considering how many panels we were on together.
Then, all of a sudden, the mostly empty room filled up. It wasn't a gradual process; it just went from a small group of people chatting and setting up shop to a full house in the blink of an eye. The place was packed; pleasantly packed in my opinion. There was just enough room for everyone to get around, but not enough that people slunk off to the side. I've heard that the final head count was 130 and that seems right based on what I saw.
I am lousy at checking people's name badges, so there are many people who I spoke with whose names I didn't catch. Some that I spoke to for some time. But there are many people that I would like to thank for making the day and the night something truly amazing.
Thank you Richard Riptoe for talking about obscure history and PDQ Bach (even if my friend the music teacher only got most of the latter.) Every Con has it's lulls and it was great being able to talk with you in-between all the crazy fun.
Thank you Dionyza and Josh for geeking out over size in Shakespeare with me. I'm going to have to see Pericles.
Thanks Lors Jonzz Tauran for having the coolest name at the Con even if I only knew one of the references.
Thank you Giant Toby for sharing your amazing sketches and singing Gilbert and Sullivan to me to wile away the time in the bathroom line. Your friend is right; you should be drawing professionally.
Thanks Agnu Crescat for your questions during some of the panels I was moderating and the good conversation we had.
Thanks JDO for saying such nice things about my writing and putting your money where your mouth was. I had no idea that anyone at the con would have read anything by me and it felt great when you told me you had. And you're just fucking awesome in general.
Thanks to Emma for wearing the coolest cosplay at the event. And sorry if I seemed to be a little spacey when we talked. I was trying to tell you how much I loved your cosplay, but my brain spaced the word cosplay.
Thanks to Anoka for sharing her writing experience with me and almost sharing her cookies (completely my fault that I missed out; I kept meaning to, but kept getting pulled away.)
Thanks to all the people that I had the chance to talk to at my booth, during the panels, or just standing around. There was Rooster, Dusk, BrianDVD, Micro Mike, Predatorius (special thanks for being an honest guy in a city with a bad rep,) DJ, Adrianna, DH (which isn't his “real” name, but that's how I remember him now,) JulieKat, Kevin, Nyx, and many many other great people whose names I'm forgetting.
And thanks to Bryan, Jitenshasw, and the other members of the NYC meet up group for getting this Con started.
The highlights of the night for me:
Giving people my card – it made me feel like a grown up.
There was a moment on the Size and Relationship panel where Bust Artist said that he'd never win the lottery because he married Julietkat. It may sound a little corny written out on the page, but he said it with such a look of love in his eye and sincerity in his voice that I'm literally getting a little teary eyed thinking about it.
Moderating a panel with DJ on it. The man is fucking hilarious and made me look good just being up there with him.
There were so many times on the Dark Side panel where I could just see the audience nodding their heads and just “getting it.” Some of us were into the physical aspects of the darker side of our kink, others the psychological, but we all seemed to understand.
The bonding moment that Miss Kaneda and I shared on the same panel. She's pretty damn amazing.
The VR display. Putting on the goggles and seeing a giantess loom over me was amazing.
The fact that the audiences for the panels were so open and willing to talk. I could see that there were some people who were more than a bit scared of public speaking, but they shared their experiences and asked their questions. I can only speak for the five panels I was working, but there really weren't any long dead silences, which was one of my worries coming into this.
The fact that my non-size fetish friends loved the Con.
After the Con when we were walking to our subway stop they asked me questions about macro stuff. They know I write sm fiction. They have both read my first book so they have some idea of the dynamics of the kink. And I've tried to be as open and honest with them about that aspect of myself.
At one point, when they were covering my booth, they were describing my books to an attendee. The gentleman in question told them that he was into giantesses and proceeded to tell them the size categories that he preferred. I met him briefly after the panel I was running and he showed me some pretty nice collages of some pretty big women which I can appreciate even though I'm more a sm/sw fan than “real” giant women.
My friends didn't understand why there was a distinction. Their thought was that a woman ten times your size is a woman ten times your size. So I was able to tell them what the difference is; at least to me. Something that would never have come up if it weren't for this experience.
And now for the lowlights:
I felt terrible for the people on the Commissioning Art panel. Most panels were scheduled for a panel room just off the main area, this one was set up in the main stage area. Which meant that almost no one could hear what they were trying to say over the background noise in the room. They tried valiantly to go on, but it didn't work.
The Pop Culture panel ended up being abridged for the same reason, but the video montage they played was great and deserves to be put in the highlights part of this long and rambling post.
Fortunately the Ladies' Panel was moved to the panel room and turned out to be great.
Other people have talked about how hot the panel room was. I spent five hours in there and I was regretting my decision to wear a long sleeve shirt, necktie, and big yellow hat. I ditched the hat.
I know there were some technical issues that kept some of the equipment from being used, but I think that's pretty much it for the lowlights. People were talking about doing it again next year while we were still there.
That's the big stuff that I can think of right now. As soon as I press "publish," I'm going to think of more to add, but it's getting late and I need to get to bed.
So good night all and may you sleep well when sleep comes for you.