CONvergence is really the big event for me each year. It is the place that I am a star and a nobody at the same time. It is carnival for fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom (and all their related things: Anime, gaming, art, costumes, etc.) An orgy of ideas and sensory experiences and decadence (I did manage to drink three quarters of a bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon as well as a dozen random shots of liquor and mysterious mixed drink) were almost everyone is accepted. A place were it is a easy to be the center of attention one moment, and alone in the crowd the next. Ideas are exchanged. Visions cast. Stories are told. Innovation happens. And fun is had.
And yet, in the end, I tend to find CON an introspective experience. I place were I get a glimpse of my place in the world. I place were I am truly with my people, my tribe.
(Now, you may ask, but your a Christian isn’t your place in “Church”? Well, I am a Christian. I do believe in God and Jesus and love them. But my experience with “Church” is that it is generally filled with those more interested in enforcing man-made rules on others and judging others more than exchanging ideas and information or reaching out to those not like them. In the end, I believe God make me to be one of the Fanish Masses. Not that being a Christian can be easy in Fanish circles, but God generally doesn’t make our lives easy or comfortable for long. And if He did, what fun would that be?)
CONvergence 2010 was no different. I was able to meet, renew acquaintances and friendships with, and talk with many interesting and exciting people. Some names that jump out at me are:
Rob Callahan – Author
Monilee Stormer – Author
Jeffrey Adams – Audio Drama/Radio Drama Producer
Tim Wick – Actor, Musician, and Comedian
Mark Temple – Akido Practitioner
Romeo Azar – Movie Fanatic
Paul Cornell – Writer and Cricket fan
Jerry Stearns – Radio Drama Producer
And I was able to participate in some much. I played Battletech in a Mech cockpit simulator (I took number 1 in my first match.) I got to listen to authors read their stories and poetry. I was present when a comic book was performed as audio by eleven random volunteers and it’s author on the fly. I participated in and lead discussions on: Bizarro (big thanks to Raw Dog Screaming Press and Grind House Press for sending books and t-shirts to give away), audio books, old time radio (big thanks to Jon at OTRCAT.com for sending OTR sampler disks to give out), MMOs, horror hosts, the end of the world in film form, ebooks, H.P. Lovecraft, producing audio theatre, giant atomic monsters, Steampunk, podcasting, and more. I saw costumes and props, many movie quality or better, made by amateurs. And so much more.
Now you will note, I said “introspective” above. And yet all I have mentioned so far is what I did. So what did I see that make me rethink where I am at, and what I am doing with my life? Well for one, I saw and met and talked to many successful authors. This forced me to look at how far I strayed from my writing plan and goals for this year, and it spurred me to up the ante at bit. I am now pushing myself to write 1000 words a day minimum rather than 3000 a week.
And on a related note, I want to tailor (no pun intended) my podcasting and blogging efforts to align better with my writing goals. Which is why I intend to focus my interview show on interviews with writers, musicians, and other artists of all kind.
I also need to embrace more of my crazy ideas story-wise. I realized this while participating in Jeremy C. Shipp’s Yard Gnome Army Fiction Writer’s Boot Camp, and I re-realized it while listen to the tail end of the Story Teller’s Jam hosted by Rob Callahan as well as listening to Rob read his amazing stories.
Another reason I want to streamline things toward a particular goal is to make it easier to market all the different things I do. With three shows of different focus, a web comic, this blog, and various other writing going on, I really need to find a better way to market stuff and focus. I think bring things more in alignment will help with that. (There is more to come on that topic.)
Later in the con, a discussion of Steampunk convinced me I want/need to embrace “punk” (i.e., D.I.Y.) more. Not because I want to re-invent the wheel, but because I miss actually doing things with my hands. And I have secretly always wanted to be a costumer. Steampunk affords that opportunity to me, in fact to anyone of any body size or type, because everyone looks good in Victorian and Edwardian fashion.
And I might actually try my hand at writing some Steampunk in the near future.
I also discovered I need more actually friends here in the area (and in general) with similar interests. I have a few, but not that many. I see now that there is more opportunity here than I though. I guess I need to work on abandoning my loner ways a bit more.
In the end, I had a great CON. It was exciting. It was filled with the free exchange of ideas by people with similar interests. It was innovative. I was inspired. And I know enough about Cricket, thanks to Paul Cornell, to be dangerous.
And I got to be a star and a nobody for a long weekend.