Halito! Hello! When Jennifer Liang asked me to be Toastmaster for 2023 I said yes almost instantly. Attending JordanCon caused many new beginnings for me. I can’t imagine the last decade of my life without the connections and opportunities stirred by the winds in Dunwoody, GA.
This will be the 15th year for JordanCon. The 10th anniversary of A Memory of Light and the first season of the Wheel of Time show were two pivotal moments in the WoT fandom. How will the next few turnings of the wheel change the fandom and JordanCon?
JordanCon’s 5th year was a turning point for many fans and attendees, including myself. A Memory of Light was newly published. An ending had occurred. All of Team Jordan and Brandon Sanderson were attending. Leigh Butler, leader of the Tor Wheel of Time Reread, was the Toastmaster. A large number of the Leigh’s Loonies, my online fandom group, were attending for the first time. I told my spouse I had to go, for “It might be my only chance to ever meet them all!”
How I laugh at my “only chance” comment now. JordanCon friends became a new family. Since 2013, I’ve attended all but one year. The weekend energizes me in ways hard to put into words. The friends I have online every other week are next to me and we can just talk, or hug, or chill together in person. This joy is shared by all who post using #IsItAprilYet.
Since the 5th year of JordanCon, the community has grown in multiple ways. I thank the community for enabling my growth as well. The confidence I gained in becoming the (former) Workshop Director and a panelist filtered into other aspects of my life. From sharing my fan art food creations, to sharing my opinions and writings. I went from reading Tor.com blog posts to writing articles for them. I went from entering the costume contest to judging the contest. I went from a book lover to a beta reader for multiple best-selling authors. My younger shy dyslexic self could never have imagined being an active part of creating a novel, let alone over a dozen. Parts of the last ten years boggle my mind, while also bringing me great joy.
Now I get to share a part of this joy as Toastmaster of JordanCon. The Toastmaster is the master of ceremonies. They help kick off the fun and welcome everyone to the convention. I remember feeling thrilled while watching Leigh Butler give her welcoming speech. It was the start of an amazing weekend. I hope to start the 15th JordanCon on a similar entertaining footing. JordanCon has found a wonderful recipe for success, and I plan to highlight several flavor notes as Toastmaster.
JordanCon is about welcoming people to the buffet table. This includes our amazing Guests of Honor. As this year’s Toastmaster, I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to interview this year’s author Guest of Honor, Wesley Chu. I’ve been a fan of his for years, since reading his Tao novels and his season 12 co-host role on Writing Excuses. His newest novel, The Art of Prophecy, is his “love letter to the wuxia genera.” It is the start of a very promising journey.
Equally impressive is our artist Guest of Honor Omar Ryyan. His art is full of whimsy, grace, and fantasy creatures. His work reminds me of the best of Romantic era paintings. My costumer’s heart delights in the fine detail he pours into clothing, accessories, and finer details. What a delightful addition his work will be to the Art Show!
Welcome home to JordanCon everyone. I look forward to sharing the community table and ribbons with everyone in 2023. Come talk to me about your favorite flavors, cuisine or literature, your choice.
By Deana Whitney