What I Learned: Adventures at my first SFF Convention

So, I was lucky enough to get to spend this past weekend at ConFusion in Detroit. It was my first con, and I was a little nervous/excited because I didn’t really know what to expect. I had read through the program notes, but I really had no frame of reference, so I was still in the dark.

What I found was honestly more awesome than I could have expected. I spent the last three days listening to panel talks given by some of the SFF industries greats. I learned a ton about writing as a profession, about getting published, and about social responsibilities that we as writers have. It was excellent. I met some amazing people, and I really, really had a ton of fun.

Things that I took away from my first con experience:

– Bring Airborne, next time. Not In a ‘There are creepy germs everywhere’ sort of way,but because I wanted to bask in every minute, not missing anything, I slept about five hours a night, and I’m paying for it, now. “Hello, Headcold. Thanks for joining us.”

– Pack less. The whole thing was really laid back and comfortable, and I didn’t need half the clothes I brought. My baggy geek tees and jeans were plenty.

– The biggest thing I took away from the experience, though, is hard to quantify. I guess it can best be called a sense of tribe. I’ve always been a little odd (Thanks, mom. I appreciated the snorting laughter that erupted, just then.) My mind works in ways that other people’s do not. I’ve made writing friends, and of course, I have some excellent non-writing friends, but there are very few people who really “get me.” I am very fortunate to have found a husband who does.

The thing is, everyone there was a little odd. Everyone there gets a little excited about swords and magic and spaceships. Everyone there has wondered whether they were dropped off by the mothership. Everyone there has felt self-conscious because they play RPG’s or they obsess about the magic system in Mistborn or that they dress differently, talk differently, look differently, think differently, whatever. For three days, the world was full of people just like me, and it was glorious. For three days, I didn’t hide my quirks, I reveled in them. For three days, I was unabashedly myself.

And in that time, I met and had meaningful conversations with best selling authors, award winning short story writers, amazing people who work in comics, awesome academics, and a whole string of people like me, who went there to learn, and left with a sense of renewed purpose.

I cannot express how grateful I am for the experience, and I will definitely be back *insert Terminator voice, here*.

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