Prose and Cons: A GenCon 2013 Report
Day Three: Settling In
On Saturday, my first writing seminar didn’t begin until ten. I hoped to sleep in, but my ride to the bus pick-up left at 6:30, so another early day.
We had a new bus driver – Vern took his granddaughter to a car show in McHenry, IL if you must know – and we fellow-travelers helped the new driver with his route.
One early bird sitting behind me told us about his lucky day yesterday – he won a raffle to sit with “Star Trek TNG”/“Stand By Me” star Wil Wheaton in a charity game he hosted. Wil was there not as a guest but to host a charity gaming event.
I told him to tell Wil I said “hello”. He won’t remember me, but I represented Wil in a lawsuit against a convention promoter who didn’t pay him. I mostly spoke with his mother/manager – this was in the very early 1990s – but I did represent him.
I had two hours to kill before my first seminar. I walked to the rooms holding the symposiums to see if there were any subjects that interested me – there weren’t.
The ticket-taker of the past two days was not there. He was either on break or couldn’t be there that morning. In his place was the bankruptcy attorney-writer I met yesterday – Elizabeth Vaughn. She was the gate-keeper/time-keeper/attendee-herder for the early morning.
Since she was between symposiums I spoke with her about successfully juggling writing and work – since we did the same kind of work – and how our area of the law, with its strict structure, helps and hurts genre writing. Sometimes you want to write fluidly and sometimes very plot-heavy. After a day of Slot-A-never-ever-fits-into-Slot-B style of lawyering, it’s nice to free-form with magical elves and beastly trolls.
I spent the early morning taking photos of cosplayers. That’s the term for people who dress up at cons. “Who is he supposed to be?” I said a few times. Some cosplayers dressed in a certain style rather than a specific character (manga, steampunk and zombies as opposed to a comic book, movie and TV characters).
My symposiums were at ten and noon. After that the day was mine until seven. At 7:00I would attend a reading by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon.
When my writing panels were done I went back to the Exhibit Hall.
The free demo of the Lord of the Rings card game by Fantasy Flight Games was full again and again. I kept missing the chance to jump in!
Remember the book I won at a symposium the day before? It was “Master of Devils” by Dave Gross. That afternoon Dave was at the Pathfinder booth signing copies of the book.
I unloaded yesterday’s back-breaking booty into my large suitcase the night before. My backpack now contained only my notepad, pens, some of my stories, books and snacks for the day. It was comfortably lighter.
“Dave, I won your book at a writer’s symposium yesterday, would you sign it?”
“Sure,” he said.
“I’m sorry I can’t gush about how wonderful the book is but I only got it yesterday! I haven’t even opened it!”
He laughed, signed the book and said that was perfectly fine. I thanked him and introduced myself to the other authors not engaged with other fans. I told them how much I enjoyed their self-contained novels.
I stopped past Dan the Bard’s booth and he was there. I introduced myself as Jess’ brother-in-law and we talked about other Ren Fest performers we knew – I was sad to learn one couple had broken up. He asked if I wanted to hear a tune. I asked him to play “My Work Doth Bite the Devil’s Bum.” He had a nice crowd around him when I left.
By two o’clock I had enough. I was weary. Bill called it Convention Crud. I went up the stairs to the ticket-taker and gave him my 7:00 pm ticket to the Mercedes Lackey/Larry Dixon reading (there was no cost, but you needed a ticket) and said I was unable to make it and he could give it to a deserving fan. He thanked me. “You could scalp that for a couple of grand…” I said.
I called Bill and told him I would head to the Wal-Mart drop-off and take his van to the motel. When he was done that night, he can call me and I would meet him there. He said that was fine.
The bus left at 2:40 and I was at the van by 3:00.
My key was in my tan pants pocket. Those pants, however, were in my suitcase in the motel.
I took another taxi ride to the motel (so much for saving money on parking). I walked across the highway to a Mexican restaurant. And by this I mean a restaurant for Mexicans. I love it; honest-to-god-Mexican food.
I decided against the goat tacos and went with the chorizo tacos instead. I ordered the chicken with cream. Well, I tried to…
“Arroz con pollo y crema…”
“What are you trying to order, senior?”
“Arroz con …”
“You can point to it.”
I exaggerate; the waitress was very nice. But I thought my Spanish was better than that…
When I left I told her how good the creamy sauce was. The extra hot sauce provided in a separate small metal bowl made the tacos especially yummy, too!
Saturday night I re-arranged my booty – all the books in my backpack and clothes that I wouldn’t need Sunday in my suitcase. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening catching up on Facebook, preparing my notes for my blog, outlining some story ideas and going to bed early for a change.
And the evening and the morning were the third day…
Copyright 2013 Michael G Curry