Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Pros of Cons

            “Do you see all these people?” Tom said, holding the boy close.  They’d made a quick run to the bathrooms, and both gone “to the potty,” then washed their hands.  At the drinking fountain between the restrooms, Tom had been reminded what it had been like as a young man, being around fandom in a setting like this.  The comradery, the knowledge that what thrilled and fascinated you had the same effect on these people, the reassurance that, at least for a weekend, you were surrounded by friends.

            He tried to explain this to the boy, hoping Gino would understand his point.  “Even though we’re all strangers to one another, we all have a connection.  We’re all the same, in a way.”

A week or so ago, I went to a local annual convention (actually, it was more a conference or a symposium, one intended for writers, but still a couple of people dressed as anime characters or steampunkers) that has been going for twenty or thirty years now (I first went, semi-begrudgingly, in 1996 or so).  I hadn't been there--despite the mutha happening practically in my own backyard, in many, many years, but an old college friend of mine mentioned it to me (along with, "Do you still write?  You were the best writer!") and I started thinking about it.  My friend Jeff was going to go (it was he that first dragged me to it back during the Clinton Administration), but then he sort of lost interest (because he no longer writes, or harbors dreams of being a writer), and by then, I, knowing myself, feared I would regret it if I didn't go.  I was talking to Renee Chambliss, and she suggested I be a man and just attend the damn thing, alone or no.

So I did.

I can talk a bit about the content of it later, but the thing I wanted to mention, the whole reason I'm blogging this right now, instead of audio editing (which is just as fun as it sounds), is that, at the end of the symposium, I saw people--writers, amateur or professional--saying goodbye to one another, hugging, and actually shedding tears that the event was over for another year.

It gave me pause.

The above two paragraphs are from my short story "Unconventional," where a newly-divorced geek takes his little boy to his first (and last?) comic convention.  Is it a great story?  HellifIknow, but the above IS a great sentiment.  (And you're welcome to pick up a copy, available at this link)

Watching those people hug and get all emotional spoke to something in me, who had gone to the Spockdamn thing by myself, and had the opportunity to go to this thing (which was cheap, nearby, and surrounded by free parking) for the last half-dozen years, and never even considered it.*

I will definitely go next year, and will try to find another con between now and then to attend.

Last year (2014) was the first year I was unable to go to the San Diego Comic Con since I started attending back in 2005.  I'm still a little angry at them because a) they sold me a Thursday ticket and a Sunday ticket, but wouldn't sell me a Friday or Saturday one, b) refused to give me a refund on those two tickets when I let them know I couldn't go and wanted to cancel, and c) even though I paid for said tickets, they refused to let me register for the '15 show early because I didn't technically attend the '14 show.  Bastards.

But it really was disappointing not to be able to go last summer (it's my one yearly vacation, and I had to be content that I did drive to Las Vegas with my friend for a couple of days in January), and when it came time to try for SDCC 2015 tickets, I discovered I desperately wanted some.**  

Anyway, I like conventions.  I ought to go to more.  Did I say that already?  I ought to get in some kind of writer's group, be around people who try to create with words.  I ought to make a friend or two.  Or ten.

But yeah, I ought to take advantage of the conventions that keep happening around here (I suppose I live in a fairly affluent area, if they can afford to have four to six conventions a year in the state).  I looked up another one in May, and I ought to decide right now to attend it, since a) I can afford it, and b) I'm surely have nothing better to do that weekend.  The question is whether I (also) dare go to this one alone.

Rish "Conventional" Outfield

*I also had to ask myself the question of whether I was actually a writer, with aspirations to BE a writer in the future, because the people around me really did act like they were writers, taking down notes in addresses like it was the farligging Burning Bush that was speaking, and planning to write (and sell) several books this year.

**Though, in the spirit of full disclosure, I didn't want them enough to call in sick at work so I could be home to try to buy some.  No, I pretended to be an adult, and was there for my whole shift, even though my boss made me feel less than 100% welcome.


Journey Into... said...

Hey Rish, I'm going to OryCon in Portland, OR on November 20-22. I know it would cost you in Travel, but you could stay in my house.

I think I'd be interested in joining you at the Writers Symposium thing next year.

Journey Into... said...

Any word on when ComicCon will be near you?