Featured Fen -- Short Story: Sharon Ferraro Short
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Featured Fen -- Short Story: Sharon Ferraro Short is an interview printed in Menagerie #17.
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- Featured Fen -- Short Story: Sharon Ferraro Short (1981)
Finding my way into fandom was like falling into a swamp--and finding a secret special place amidst the muck of the rest of the world. A place where I found lasting friendships, challenging projects, empty pockets, and more ramifications and outcomes than I can count.
The S.T.A.R. Kalamazoo meetings were typical, I'm sure, of Trekfen meetings of the time -- we all sat around talking about Trek and figuring out how to raise and if/when we'd put out a fanzine. I remember being humbled by these people who knew the names of the episodes (Was that the one where Kirk & Co. jump through the giant doughnut?), being fascinated by the fanzines people brought (BABEL, T-NEGATIVE, and SPOCKANALIA), and being thrilled to find other people who were interested in my favorite show. The group was planning that first night a Federation High Council meeting to be held at the Detroit Triple Fan Fair in August. I chose to be the delegate from Altair VI, and spent weeks afterward working up a costume to wear and a history to submit. The first (and only) Council meeting, in Saline, Michigan, naturally broke up when Trek came on at 6 pm.
From here on nothing could stop us. TorCon II was my first worldcon (I missed a lot, though I have a vague memory of a cartoonist with a derby and a briefcase), StarCon my first big Star Trek con, and with this con came the second fateful meeting -- Harlan. I decided I wanted to see Harlan Ellison again so I thought of throwing my own con the next year. We did. I wrote to Harlan in February and didn't hear from him till July. Sandwiched in between were forming the sf clubs at WMU (Terran Council and KWeSTAR-- Kalamazoo/Western STAR Trek club), setting up the Hole in the Deck Gang for convention gofers, printing MENAGERIE #2 and joining STW as CM. Not to mention my academic load. We were off and running with the con by March or April, for Harlan -- in East Lansing for Clarion sf writers' workshop -- finally consented to be our GoH, and even gave us a break on his speaking fee. It was June of that year (1974) I received an order for the KEAC from someone who signed his name illegibly and drew some crazy-looking fellow next to the signature. On an impulse I asked for some art for our fanzine, and this giant packet came back almost too quickly to be true. Yep, this was the Inevitable Phil Foglio. From this point on fandom is like a scrapbook -- a page of images and memories for each con or issue of MENAGERIE. DisCon with an 11 hour bus ride and our Harlequin and the TickTockMan costumes, and introducing Phil to Kelly Freas. after having met him for the first time ourselves only a few minutes before. KWest*Con (November 2, 3, & 4. 1974): Harlan, the Dorsai Irregulars, Ruth Berman, and $500 in debt. I still keep track of everything in my life by that weekend -- did this or that happen before or after KWest*Con? Bringing Vaughn Bode to Kazoo, applying be a Dorsal, crying to help the Basta sisters get out the back issues of StarBorne to Its two or three thousand subscribers (failed dismally -- it never came out again). ReKWest*Con ("back again because you asked for it!") with Kelly and Polly Freas as guests; this one went like clockwork and many people said it was the nicest con they'd been to (we also won an award for Best Small Con of 1975 for it).
Then -- dum-de-dee-dum -— the Chicago Star Trek Spectacular. Head Gofer at the Conrad Hilton. Ask Debbie Goldstein or Phil Foglio or Doug Rice or Bjo Trimble about this one -- everyone has a story. Ask Kelly and Polly about the leash, ask Harlan about introducing me to the crowd, ask Robert Bloch about entertaining a hotel room full of people, ask any Dorsai, or read about it in StarToons --it's all true, or should be. But I'm the only one who can tell you about Mike. Poor fella. Made the mistake of looking competent -- found him stopping Walter Koenig from going up to the con floor because he didn't have a badge. Probably fate again. I lent him my floor to sleep on and he ended up in charge of the dealers' room. All I remembered after the con was his nickname, "Storyteller." At WindyCon II "Storyteller" became much more clearly defined as Mike Short (he's six feet tall) and he gave me a backrub and propositioned me -- nicely. "Thank you, no." This was 1975. I was accepted into the Dorsai Irregulars and in January, 1976 It happened. The New York Strektacular.
Too many things happened to remember it all now. Harry Friedenberg, the New York Hilton, Lisa Boynton towering over everyone, culling volunteers for gofers, hugging Harlan, helping Mike deal with the hotel after driving in from Chicago in 20 hours through a blizzard with a U-Haul truck overloaded by a couple of tons with program books, watching the crowd grow and grow and occasionally grow ugly, posting frightened but determined gofers to control doors with tremendous crowds on each side, timing things just right to get that crowd out and this crowd in, watching a NY policeman with trepidation as he came through the packed main hall, seeing Curt Clemmer drink honey to keep himself awake, sleeping two hours, hanging around the airport for 14 hours because all flights were cancelled on account of the blizzard Mike brought with the program books. And collapsing for three days afterward.