This weekend was ICON 38, one of two conventions I go to with my current lifestyle. It was a fun weekend, though less panels that I thought I'd attend and a lot more socialization than I ever imagined.
Friday, SMWM and I came in to register. Both of us are benefactors for the convention, which gets us little things like sitting in the front row of events we never go to, having brunch with the guests of honor (which we do), and the occasional swag bag.
This year, there wasn't a swag bag for benefactors, but there was one for everyone. It was, to say the least, kind of frustrating. Some people got keychains, some got books, Shannon Ryan's wife got nothing but the coupons that everyone got. It was very random and I heard a few people complaining about that.
I was planning on checking out panels, but we (SMWM and me) ended up chatting with Shannon and his wife for quite a few hours. Random people would show up and join in for a while, which was nice but unexpected by the other three people there. Apparently I radiate a "talk with me" field.
Saturday was fairly fun, I got to see two panels. One on Research for Writing and the other on Editing Short Stories. I'm not the best short story writer, I like long form too much, but it was nice to hear about the brutal world of short story editing and submissions. And I realize I really should get better at it.
I was going to see Art in an Hour, but they merged it with Body Painting and the art table got filled up in a few seconds. So, I had to wait on the edge, which happened to be the people waiting for the Body Painting. Except they were all overweight men and I felt creepy, so I left because I don't want to be one of them. Body Painting is fun, but not with leering.
I ended up going to the dealer hall instead. This year, the dealers were pretty slim. I bought from almost everyone, as usual, including my customary buying a book from every author who showed up. I got one business card, mainly because I was happily burbling away at my fondness for typesetting, but overall, it was fairly enjoyable.
I ended up teaching Shannon's wife how to play Dominion. Maybe, if she likes it, I can lure her into our board game nights. She likes Dr. Who, which is awesome, and reminded me that I really should... watch something from this century in that series.
We ended up going home at 22:00-ish, watching a bit of IT Crowd, and crashing. SWMW's mother, MC, was watching EDM over the weekend and, apparently, cleaning our house. So, that was nice too though a three year old can destroy a room so fast, it's ruined before he walked in.
Oh, Sunday. I've been waiting almost a year for Sunday. I signed up for the Writer's Workshop and submitted Sand and Blood. I thought it was my best writing, of course, and I was anxious to see what Mickey Zucker Reichert (MZR) thought about it. I like her and I've looked up to her for years.
It was scheduled for four hours. SMWM and MC had a play in Solon at 14:00, so we had an hour between the two for them to drop EDM off and head out.
We got started on my critique at 12:48. I, unfortunately, had to walk out just as MZR got started on my piece. It was heartbreaking (and I think I annoyed her), but I have my priorities. I only got to hear the negative things about my piece and I haven't had a chance to read the positive. So, it kind of bummed me out.
I did, on the other hand, meet some really nice authors. And one, who came completely unprepared and brought friends to stare at everyone. That part made me a bit uncomfortable because it was just two people saying saying and looking bored. Later, a third person (unrelated to one of the writers) came in just to listen. This was the first that that happened and I don't know how I felt about that.
After the panel, I let EDM run around. We stumbled into Shannon and his wife as they were going to a reading. I knew the reader and wanted to listen (and said I'd pick up his book), but then EDM ran out and made a fuss when I tried to reign him in.
Instead of listening to the reading, I ended up chasing three kids around the floor, occasionally playing figures on the floor with them, and overall, had fun being silly. Apparently, I "can't like toys" because I'm "really, really old."
I did pick up the book, eventually, and chatted briefly. I might have had a request to submit to a small press, we'll see.
On the other hand
While I was at the Writer's Workshop, SMWM and EDM went to the benefactor's brunch. She was a bit nervous (mainly because she didn't very many people and I'm usually the social icebreaker). She had a chance to sit with Jim Hines, which she has met, so at least she wasn't too uncomfortable.
EDM apparently stood and ate, being a monster in her eyes but adorable to everyone else.
This year actually had a lot of costumes. It was kind of cool to see that getting more popular. A lot of steampunk, which is always fun, but some anime characters and Western comics too.
In the end
It was an exhausting weekend that ended on somewhat of a down note. I may have accidentally burned a bridge with the Writer's Workshop and I don't consider myself "neo-pro" for purposes of the Paradise ICON program, so not sure what I'll do next year. If anything, chat up the guests of honor.