My photo was taken at Worldcon this year for the Fan Gallery photo collection. It's part of the traveling Worldcon/NASFiC exhibit presenting a photographic history of science fiction fandom. It attempts to set limits on who is represented, but since they list "Fan Hugo Winners, International Fan Fund winners including TAFF, DUFF, GUFF, and FFANZ, Worldcon Fan Guests of Honor (FGOH) and NASFiC Fan GOHs, Worldcon Chairs and NASFiC Chairs, Fan-related Worldcon Special Award Winners, Fan Hugo nominees, and Other Big Name Fans and Well-Known Fans", I'd say it's not that exclusive a bunch.
I'm there (or I will be now that they have my photo and fannish biography) because I was a Fan Fund winner in 1987. Yes! People paid me to go away! I mean they paid my way to Australia so I could represent U.S. fandom. That was probably the peak of my fannish popularity and activity. I was up against some very strong competition in that election, but I think I won because everyone figured I was the most likely to write a trip report.
I made a strategic error, though. Instead of taking notes (and remember, in 1987 people didn't have laptops or PDAs) I used a cute little tape recorder my friends bought for me and gave to me at a surprise going-away party. "Wow," I thought happily, "this will make it so much easier to write a report! I can comment on everyone I meet and then transcribe it when I get home!" I filled three 90-minute cassettes with comments on the country, my new friends, the conventions I attended, and of course quite a lot of angsty pining for my boyfriend back home.
Transcribe. Yeah, right. Do you know how hard it is to transcribe recordings without actual transcription equipment? It's vastly annoying. You have to constantly lift your hands from the keyboard to back up the tape, like every ten seconds, and you can't slow down the recording. I tried, I really did, but since the first hour consisted almost entirely of me saying how tired I was, how cute all the boys were, how hungry I was, or how boring cricket was, I got sick of the sound of my own voice very quickly. No witty commentary on Australia versus US fandom. Lots of commentary on how much like Northern California the land around Melbourne was, and what lovely sweets they had in the cake shops, and dubious explanations of drop bear mythology. Quite a bit of blather. Nothing useful. Nothing funny. Nothing, believe me, worth writing about.
So I failed in my duty. I never wrote my trip report. I ought to have, just to thank Perry Middlemiss for letting me stay so long in his spare bedroom. I should have, just to let everyone who spent time with me know how much fun I had and how much their friendships meant to me. I missed the chance to be gossipy and clever. Fifteen years later it's lost its context, it wouldn't be amusing, and all those people got married and had children so I don't suppose they'd much care for me dragging out the stories of their wild party antics. Though I could be underestimating them, mind you. Aussie fans are a fiesty bunch.
Anyway, I still have the tapes but that's not my point. My point is I had to fill out the biographical data for the Fan Gallery and I realized I'm beginning to forget some of my own fannish history. The names of my own fanzines, for instance. I did so many, and I changed titles all the time, and an enormous number of them were collaborations or one-shots. Really, the only fanzine I did by myself that had any kind of decent print run was Southern Gothic.
I also had to recall what my past glory days involved besides writing or editing fanzines. Guest of Honor anywhere? Technically yes, but not really, only a special Fan Fund GoH. I would very much have liked to have been a Fan Guest of Honor at a convention but it didn't happen. However, I did get to claim some darned fine fanac (that's fan activity) as co-founder of Corflu: the Fanzine Fans' Convention, and an instigator of the ultra cool San Francisco Lounge Lizards (because when I moved to San Francisco I was horrified that there was no regular fan meeting). I noted my official convention work, including chairing the 1996 Corflu. I left some things out. My job has usually been to ask the right question at the right time, to act as a catalyst for fannish activity. Fannish Catalyst didn't seem to fit into any of the data fields. So I pushed the button for "submit info" and it's done.
I have no idea what my photo looks like. I guess I'll find out at the next Worldcon I attend, either Toronto in 2003 or Boston in 2004. My information has been entered. I am officially enshrined as a Fannish Person of Importance Once Upon a Time.
When I graduate from college and have free time again I swear I am going to rescan and post my photos from that Antipodean adventure as a visual trip report. I feel obliged to fulfill my duty one way or another.