Last weekend, the TARDIS (my electric car) finally fulfilled the mandate for which it was originally purchased — it drove me to a convention! Said convention was only 30 minutes away from my house, so I commuted rather than staying at the hotel, but it was absolutely awesome to attend my first in-person con in 2 years. In fact, Farpoint was the last convention I attended before the world shut down.
I’ll be honest: I did a bit of soul-searching about whether to attend this event. I was not thrilled about the health safety protocols implemented by this event (and I 100% support everyone who decided not to attend at all). However, since this con was within easy commuting distance, I worked with the program staff to ensure all my events were in blocks so that I could minimize my downtime. I appreciated their flexibility, along with the opportunity to recharge my creative juices and share some things that I love with the con attendees.
It’s never a hardship to end the workweek early, and I was impressed by how many people were at the very first programming slot. I had a great time discussing the television and film adaptations of books and graphic novels, both new (such as the recent Dune) and old (not going to lie, I’d never heard of some movies people referenced from the 1970s and I don’t remember them at the time of writing this). We talked about the differences in storytelling method and how that might force changes in an adaptation, and one panelist with production experience provided some great insight into how little control the original author has over how the source material is portrayed.
After a quick spin through the dealer hall during my only open time block, I was back to discuss the best ways authors can maintain a presence online. This definitely boils down to constraints of time, money, and energy, which will differ for every author, and how to best use each of those things to your advantage. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I hope that I was able to share some ideas that have worked (and not worked) for me. As always, I learned just as much from the audience during the time.
I headed home afterward to chill on the couch while the spouse played video games. I’d much rather have been attending “Bar Con” or room parties, but safety first (and its hard to beat a night in my own bed).
I was super excited for my first panel on Saturday afternoon. I asked the spouse if he wanted to join me at the con that day, but his response: “I’ve spent the last 2 years listening to talk about The Old Guard. I don’t need to pay to spend another hour.”
Okay, that’s kind of fair.
Special shout-out to my fellow panelist, Neil Ottenstein, for sitting back and letting me be overly nerdy (probably more than the attendees were expecting). We had a great discussion about questions that weren’t answered during the movie and other representations of immortality in fiction. Whenever the conversation lulled, I shared trivia about the movie and encouraged everyone to also check out the original graphic novel source material.
Afterward, I shared a reading slot with author Sherri Cook Woosley, who read the exciting first chapter of an upcoming project. Then, I headed out for another quiet evening at home.
My only early morning of this con! Drank my coffee while the TARDIS mostly drove itself to the hotel (I love my car), then had a great time discussing gender tropes in fiction for my first panel of the day. We emphasized that tropes are not inherently negative, but that they should be used wisely. Most importantly, characters of any gender should be written as whole individuals rather than a specific characteristic.
I had another great reading slot with Sherri Cook Woosley, and we were joined this time by Jennifer Povey.
Afterward, Jennifer and I tackled the hardest part of any convention together: The very last programming slot on a Sunday afternoon. I think we made what could have been a fairly dull topic (the value of research) pretty interesting. Biggest takeaway: If you strive to get anything exactly correct, make sure it’s guns and horses!
I spent the rest of the afternoon recovering at home with a good book. Returning to the convention scene was amazing, but I’m definitely no longer used to that amount of “peopling.” Overall, though, it was a great taste of a return to civilization. Though my usual March convention in Cleveland has been canceled, I’m crossing my fingers for seeing many more friends whom I have missed dearly at Balticon this May (especially since they support a much more comprehensive health safety policy).
- Star Wars print by artist Angela McKendrick (@cuddleswithcats) and bonus Black Panther bookmark
- The print is definitely going in my laundry room with my subversive Wonder Woman artwork.
- The Eve of Insurrection Chapter 1: The Initiate, written and illustrated by Jordan Purnell Jackson
- I was awed by this artist’s gorgeous work, so I’m excited to read and enjoy his first foray into graphic novels.