It was my first time.
You hear stories, of course, but nothing prepares you for that first experience. It’s thrust upon you, almost without warning. Emotion swamps you. Every sense is overloaded. Part of you can’t believe it’s actually happening; much less that it’s actually happening to you. But they were very gentle and kind…
I survived my first Dragon*Con.
This is the third time I’ve tried to write this post, because I can’t quite capture the sheer awesomeness of this weekend. Not only was this my first Dragon*Con, it was my first really big con. It was also my first con as an author, albeit one whose book isn’t actually out yet… As such, I had no panels and no obligations other than meeting people and learning how things work from the other side.
Oh my God.
I don’t know where to start.
Heaps of celebrities attend Dragon*Con. Personally, I’ve always preferred my science fiction and fantasy in literary form, whether print or podcast. So for me, the big stars weren’t the actors – they were the podcasters, writers, and editors.
I wish I could time travel and find my past self: ideally, the one jotting down notes for Hapax and trying to unravel my world’s circular rules. I’d grab her and say:
“Look, I know you’re determined. I also know that you’re not expecting anything to happen for another five or ten years. Guess what? In two years, you will be at Dragon*Con. You’ll meet your editor, Gabrielle Harbowy, in person. You will meet all these podcasters whom you admire so deeply, and you’ll discover that they are even cooler than you thought.
“In two years, you will leave the Parsecs with Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris to go have dinner….and they will be the ones making sure you get back safe to your hotel at night. You will be drinking with P.G. Holyfield and Chooch and Viv, getting advice from Christiana Ellis and Scott Sigler, and attending a party with the lot of them. Lou Anders will remember chatting with you. You’ll even get your first podcast interview, with Tim Dodge over at the Geek Side of Life. And you’ll meet a ton of like-minded people, people who love fiction and podcasts as much as you do.
“None of it’s going to feel quite real. But it will be the best weekend of your life.”
Many times during Dragon*Con, I was asked for my impressions. I responded variously that it was “total sensory overload,” “Frosh Week on steroids,” “absolutely incredible, but completely overwhelming.” It was all of those things, but it was also a dream come true.
The Atlanta streets are empty now, with no sign that Dragon*Con was ever here. It’s time to wake up from the dream, and return to reality.
But the friendships I made, and the things I learned…those will stay with me.
Thank you to everyone for making my first time so special.
Posted on September 4, 2012, in Writing and tagged awesome, Community, Cons, Dragon Moon Press, fantasy, geek, Hapax, Podcasting, Podcasts, science fiction, steampunk, Writing, Writing life. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.