Here I am, back in the real world.
You may have noticed I did not post a Progress Thursday last week. Honestly, that was partially an oversight due to needing to have laser-like focus at my day job and so not being attentive to my writing career; but it was also me saving up a little excess blogging pressure to use on this post, wherein I discuss my attendance at the first-ever iteration of Convolution.
(For those who need the overarching details of Convolution, go here.)
Friday was my usual working-stiff con Friday; we rushed up there after we finished our day jobs, checked in to the hotel, hauled in our stuff, and went and grabbed some dinner with friends before settling in to whatever late-night Friday stuff we might decide to do. This time around it was a little different, in that the friend I was off with for dinner was a local budding game designer who was at the con doing a demo of his new miniatures game (he’s working on building the web site, once that’s up I’ll give you all contact info). Further proof that my friends and I are growing up, in our particular way. Once that was done I mostly spent Friday playing Cards Against Humanity with the head of the con’s gaming department, her boyfriend, some of our good friends, and a whole hell of a lot of people on staff and off. I swear, we dragged a good portion of the staff bigwigs into that game at one point; I think we were the after-hours gaming for most of that night.
Then, Saturday/technically Sunday, there was the live taping of Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks. Matt and Other Tyler nailed it out of the park, once again, with their guests also contributing to their usual mix of snarky, explicit, erudite, and drunk. I highly recommend the episode once it’s available on their site – I’m curious to see how much of the latter-middle part of the podcast gets left on the cutting-room floor, as the booze was flowing at the flow rate that is just past “free” and slightly before “Biblical.” The ‘cast ended a lot later than expected, on everyone’s part, so Sonya and I didn’t get back to our hotel room until about 2:30.
Saturday was waking up early with that kid-on-Christmas feeling, the idea that something amazing is happening that you can’t quite hear and if you don’t get up right now you’re going to miss it. I did the hygiene thing and the breakfast thing, checked my messages, and headed on down to the con floor to attend some panels. I had planned on four, but I wound up only doing three; my mental note to myself is that I just cannot shotgun panels like I was planning to and really need to leave some portion of my evenings open for dinner and decompression with friends (possibly also drinking).
The first panel of the day was about fairy tales, and was excellent, with a lot of good discussion; at the end of it I got a chance to say hello briefly to my oft-times editor, Jennifer Brozek, who is seriously just a wonderful human being and took a minute to let me awkwardly thank her for her multifaceted help getting my as-yet-budding writing career started. I cannot articulate how lucky I am to work with editors like her.
The second panel of the day was about urban fantasy, which I exited with a lot of good thoughts in my head and also a great book recommendation I need to jump on right away. It was really excellent and I left feeling all intellectually warm and fuzzy.
Third one up was Publicity for Writers, which was…invaluable. Jennifer made another appearance at this one, along with Jaym Gates; the pair of them both informed me, helped steer me away from a couple of cliffs I was teetering on, and made me feel like maybe I had half a clue how this whole business is supposed to work, though it was embarrassing to admit that I forgot my business cards and showed up in super-casual wear after they spent time telling us we need to not do either of those things. You’ll be seeing me changing a few things as I implement their advice over the next couple of weeks; I won’t specifically say what it is because it’s done out of a genuine desire to connect better with my readers and potential colleagues, and I don’t want it to seem like anyone is an item on a checklist.
After that, it was slightly overpriced dinner at the hotel sports bar, then games for the rest of the evening. Contrary to my original plan, I was coaxed into unboxing Sentinels of the Multiverse. I will spare my writing-blog readers the details, but say that we triumphed against some ugly odds. We also played We Didn’t Playtest This At All, which is an excellent palate cleanser between more cerebral games and/or a method of driving obnoxious, rules-obsessed players away from your gaming table. I am a little sad I didn’t try more new games, but then, I was really busy with panels instead and I host a monthly board game night, so it’s not as though there aren’t other vectors for exposure.
Thanks to a particularly hardy villain in Sentinels-land, I did not get to bed until around 2:00AM (the first one, not the second one) on Sunday. I did my best to sleep in, but once more, I just plain couldn’t. Too excited. So it was a big breakfast, and a shower, and into my formal black t-shirt and Batman hat for a trip down to the gaming room and my semi-official demo of Sentinels of the Multiverse.
To say I was nervous would be an understatement. Getting there and only having one person waiting was somehow worse (but I put up signs! Colorful ones!). But then another person came by; and another person; and another…and then I had more than fit into the game. People asked to watch, and the players I had seemed like they had fun. We played three games in a row, ramping up the difficulty each time, until on the third run, we had to stop the game not because we had very definitely lost but because we couldn’t finish before the gaming room closed. When I had a player pull up the ongoing Kickstarter for the game’s third expansion,
That sort of ended my Convolution experience; I was fried and did not have any spoons left with which to go to the Feedback panel, so a couple friends and I decided to do our own private dead-dog party at a burger joint near the hotel. Meat was eaten, discussion was had, and through the medium of political discussion mixed with talking about the con and Dexter, we eased our way into heading home, setting our things on the living room floor, and zoning out in preparation for work.
I cannot stress how great this con was. In addition to having good panels, it had good structure; it was clear the staff had prepared the con well and were working with a professional hotel staff that was used to conventions. And more than that, it had good people. The atmosphere was very fun, casual, welcoming, and respectful. I am absolutely going to go next year, and I’m so very grateful to the con’s board of directors for making such a superlative con happen and making it accessible to me. It was my first con with Sonya (the first of many), and to have it go so well will be a bright, shining memory for both of us. I can’t wait to do it again.
And now…real life.