This weekend I'm spending time -- a lot of time -- at Convergence 2, the National Science Fiction Convention (or natcon as it's known for short). Every year for the past several years I've attended at least one convention. The media portray such cons as strange events filled with even stranger people who are all dressed up like Mr Spock or the alien from Alien. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cons are filled with writers and editors and fans. Lots of panels are scheduled -- some of my favourites over the years have been ones on swordfighting, medieval music and maps. Seeing someone exude passion is always so inspiring. This con I'm looking forward to Steve Gleeson's blacksmithing workshop. I've done a half a day in his forge with Ellen, Lita and Bren -- fellow SuperNOVArians (as is Steve) and it was fantastic. The panels I love best are the ones where I get inspiration for my novel, where I glean some new slant or fact or something that will help me flesh out the world more.
Much of the action seems to happen in the bar or at room parties. I do remember a particularly memorable game of charades at a room party with my Clarion buddies, and Zara doing Maria from the Sound of Music. A con is a great chance to catch up with my Clarion buddies and fellow writing group members whom I don't see all the time. It's a chance to sit around and talk writing, find out who's publishing what and with whom. And it's lots of fun.
I should be there now but am hamstrung marking late assignments, even though I told my students that if they handed them in late that there was no guarantee I'd get them back to them this semester. I just can't help myself. But if they're done, then I can go enjoy the con with a clear conscience, and not have them hanging over my head. And tonight there was only one session on, and a more lightweight one for me in terms of how it might "impact" (oh, I hate that kind of corporate speak) on my writing. But tomorrow, I'll be hanging out with Ellen and Bren mainly, taking notes and getting as much info as I can. The con's one of the highlights of my writing social calendar.