Last week, I was at DragonCon in my best dresses and new hat.
Today, I’m at home in Slytherin lounge pants.
Con season is always weird because it’s either a year away or it’s tomorrow and the in-between does not exist. This marks my sixth (seventh?) DragonCon, and to be frank, I wasn’t looking forward to it. The past two years left me a bit cold in terms of programing and direction. Year one I chalked up to new management; everyone has a poor year on occasion. Last year, though, I was equally bored. I’m sure it didn’t help that I had to commute all weekend.
When I looked at the panel listing this year, I felt much the same ennui. The saving grace this year (as any year) is getting to see my friends, and as I mentioned in my last post, I finally met Kira Butler. We’ve known each other for a few years, and when she told me she was coming down for DragonCon, I freaked right out. Guys, this gal is awesome.
What I love best is when I meet people face to face and that insta-friend thing happens, that whole, “We’ve known each other forever and this is great and man, you smell really nice” deal. And she did. Kira smelled super nice. I wish we’d gotten to hang out more, but we did go out for dinner and I hope she comes back next year and the Gathering of Strange Women continues annually.
And then two astonishing things happened:
One- I was on my first ever DragonCon panel. In front of a packed room. I wish I’d thought to take a photo because it was standing room only. Since my dear friend Leanna was going to be late, I asked if I could step in, and was approved. I’ve paneled before at AnachroCon, but doing so at DragonCon has been one of my goals forever. Check.
Two- In the same conversation in which I asked to sit on the panel, I was asked if I’d want to be Kathryn’s second for the Lit track at AnachroCon. So now you’re reading the blog of the second for AnachroCon’s Lit track. I have no idea what I’ll be doing or how to do it, but I’ll figure it out. I’m excited.
I spent a lot of my “down” time at the Westin Bar (as the writers do), and I got some work done on my current book, as well as a couple of sketches of my own characters, and one of Leanna’s. Listening to her righteous anger at Penny Dreadful was certainly a highlight of my weekend, as was getting to spend time with her in general. I admire her greatly.
On the last night of Con, I was gifted this magical* clear bouncy ball. I was assured it would show me my dreams without the trouble of my having to solve a labyrinth, though The Goblin King was not included in the package.
I laughed and denied the bouncy ball before ultimately taking it, and now it’s sort of …earned it’s own magic. It’s funny how things unintentionally take on meaning. Now the bouncy ball lives on my desk.
In a final burst of grace from the universe, on my way to the train Monday afternoon, a tourist pointed me out to his wife and child as I stepped onto the escalator, saying, “Look, there’s a vampire.”
I had one of those moments of “Where?” before realizing he meant me. I’ve arrived. I am legit.
DragonCon is now a week past somehow and I’m tired; the usual con-exhaustion plus day job and men working on the house exhaustion. And edging in just below the wire is the first thread of depression. It’s not the missing my friends, or the con, it’s being worn down. It happens every year like clockwork. I’m attempting to stay busy: I have a book I’m loving, artwork to finish, blogs to post, podcast episodes to write (maybe), but I know it’s there. Lurking.
I want to be nicer to myself than I was last year. I want to make sure I’m taking care, doing only what needs to be done, and not taking on projects I don’t have to. I’m watching Stranger Things on Netflix because I’m way late to the party and it’s a fantastic show. I have high hopes for next DragonCon, and for AnachroCon next February.
I’m making plans.
I’m hanging on to that magical, star-filled bouncy ball.