Well, let’s call this a “Sort-Of Recap.” Because if I tried to cram four days of DragonCon into one post, we’d be here all night – and I’m still low on time and motivation over here. So rather than try to do a play-by-play, I’ll just note a few highlights, and then we can move on with our evenings, okay? Okay. Here goes.
* Had a marvelous time with many, many friends. Too many to list! Because I will inevitably, inadvertently leave someone out, much as Natania Barron is left out of this picture, even though she was sitting across the table from me. But in general, Thursday afternoon/evening belonged to Stacia Kane and her husband, plus Chris Golden and eventually Denny and Spidersweb.
* I had a reading and it went really well! Thanks a million to everyone who showed up; I’d never done anything quite like that before – show up, and um, be the only person present for an hour’s “panel” – but you were all most excellently supportive and helpful. And old friends like Kristin and Rich showed up, so Bonus!
* I did a LOT of paneling. A lot. Some of it I’d agreed to, so I knew what I was in for; some of it I thought I’d successfully declined, but I was mistaken – and heck, you know me: Mostly Game For Anything. Sleep is for the weak, right? Fun as it all was, next year I might try to cut back a bit. I’m getting old, over here.
* I did not win a Hugo, but that’s okay! And I wish nothing but the best on earth (or elsewhere) for the winners. Next time, I’ll try to write a better book, that’s all. It was, in fact, a huge honor to be nominated.
* As mentioned previously, this was sort of The Convention Wherein Cherie Could Not Get Her Shit Together. I accidentally missed one panel after a miscommunication (rather, I found the panel too late to crash it gracefully – so I opted to bow out instead), I got lost a few times – once in a bathroom (no kidding), and I initially missed an interview that a very nice woman had gone to great trouble to arrange (though I caught up to her later and apologized like a maniac). Those of you who know me, know that I am INTENSELY punctual. For everything. Everywhere. Always. So these things really stomped up and down on my neuroses buttons.
* But nothing in the previous bullet did anything to dent the fact that I had a marvelous time, and I can’t wait for next year!
* This was my first year/first convention wherein people came up to tell me that they’d come to DragonCon specifically to see me. It felt weird. Awesome, but weird. I’ve been writing/publishing for so long…but I’ve also been flying under the radar of success for so long. So this was an amazing thing for me – and I appreciated it more than I can tell you. Seriously. It blew my mind, and misted my eyes.
* Eugie Foster is the bomb. She knows why.
* At least in passing – and sometimes for such epic lengths as a lunchtime or coffee – I caught up with MOST of the people I went to Atlanta intending to see. However, I missed altogether seeing Jackie Kessler, Alethea Kontis, or Mary Robinette Kowal, and probably a few others too. DragonCon is big. It’s easy to do that. To draw a (perhaps somewhat odd) analogy, it felt not altogether unlike my wedding – wherein I was surrounded by friends and family members, and barely had time to speak to any of them. I didn’t even know some of them had been present until later. Yeah. It was kind of like that.
* I’d seen Rogue from Cruxshadows around, but I’d never met him until a panel on Saturday. I still don’t know the guy or anything – but I feel it ought to be said: He went way out of his way – really above and beyond – to be kind, thoughtful, and genuinely enthusiastic to everyone seeking feedback. I know from experience that this is not always easy, especially not on the fly. So props to him, seriously. And props also to Stephen Segal, who had the gumption to host and manage a panel on speculative fiction and poetry.
* I was glad/lucky/privileged that where my friends groups overlapped, everyone got along smashingly. It was particularly great for my old friend/hotel roommate Abbie, for this was her first DragonCon – and she had a fantastic experience. I think she’s looking forward to next year’s event about as much as I am.
* The hotel tried to charge us for parking, which was funny since we didn’t have a car in Atlanta. We got them to fix it, though. And just as I was wondering if it was just me – I encountered two women in the restroom who were talking about how the same hotel (the Marriott Marquis) had charged them for movies they hadn’t watched, and they’d had to get the charges removed in person. All three of us were a little unnerved/alarmed/pissed by how the hotel employees didn’t even ask any questions, as if it came as LITERALLY NO SURPRISE that we’d been falsely billed. They simply removed the extraneous charges, told us to have a nice day, and sent us on our way. Check your hotel bills, people. How many folks do you think just paid and left without looking twice? I can’t help but feel like the hotel is banking on our inattention.
* I ate red beans and rice in the green room while trying to politely ignore Summer Glau, who clearly needed/wanted to be politely ignored. I likewise ate in the presence of and politely ignored a nice lady from Eureka whose name I don’t know. I wouldn’t mention it at all except that my dad’s a fan of the show. Damn, I’m useless.
* The costumes. OH MY GOD the costumes. People seriously go all-out for DragonCon every year, and I ran around all bug-eyed staring at everyone all the time. It was like window-shopping 24/7. I want that, I want that, I want that, and that, and that, and that …
* I’m on a blimp. DAMN RIGHT YOU ARE.
* My dad’s birthday is tomorrow, so every year he gets DragonCon goodies in celebration. I did not outdo myself this year, as I had a hell of a time making it to the dealer’s room between events; but I think he will be tickled by what I managed to find, and what I’ve included with his gifts. I mailed it today, so it’ll be late – but he knows to expect as much.
Aaaaaand that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m leaving out a lot. Hell, I’m leaving out almost everything!
But those are some of the points that floated to the surface, when I consider the whirlwind stew of crowds, panels, badges, Diet Cokes, swishy skirts, feathery hairpieces, earplugs, DragonCon TV, people-watching, masquerades, escalators, fountains, cheers, novelty tee shirts, kilts, stompy boots, steampunks, goths, fairies, mostly naked people, Krispy Kreme donuts, squinting at small print, shouting to nab the attention of friends, hanging off balconies, photobombing by accident, photobombing on purpose, nachos at Moe’s, the Hyatt bar, the smokers’ pavilion, the tracks, the joys, the trials, the confusions, the rewards, the unfortunate costumes, the brilliant costumes, the friends and the foes and the people who become your new best friends in the elevators, the mundanes who had NO IDEA wtf was going on they were just here for a football game OH GOD, air mattresses, corsets, hairspray, rum, devil babies, angel babies, running out of time, shopping for goodies, trolling for schwag, handing out handbills, trying to stash all the business cards and CDs and postcards that people handed me while I wasn’t carrying a bag, and trying to sound intelligent for hours at a time against all odds.
Yeah. It was kind of like that.