I’m high right now. Not on pharmaceuticals or even natural substances. I’m high on a post-convention buzz. This past weekend, I attended ConQuesT, Kansas City’s science fiction and fantasy convention. And I had such an amazing time.
For those who have never been to a con, or your only reference is the media frenzy called the San Diego ComiCon, ConQuesT is a different beast. Yes, it had its share of big-name writers, including Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn series) and George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones, Wild Cards), and artists, including Nene Thomas. But ConQuesT is a convention for writers and artists, not just the fans.
I spent my weekend attending panels on world-building in fiction, discussions on different books or genres, and other topics of interest to writers. I spent time hanging out with friends (old and new), meeting new contacts, and making new friends. Sure, I also took time to be a bit of a fanboy and get George R.R. Martin’s autograph, but the majority of time I was there as an author.
They say “dress for the job you want,” and I think that same logic can be applied to the time I spent at the con. For the entire weekend, I was in attendance as an author. My other life — my day job — didn’t exist. I talked to people about the writing craft. We discussed the business of writing. And I told a few interested readers about my upcoming novel.
Yes, I also spent some time having fun. Rachel and I had more than a few drinks with the other writers in the hotel bar. When the wait staff remembered my drink order all weekend, I thought I might be there a little too much. And did I mention that George R.R. Martin was there?
The last time I attended ConQuesT, I think Bill Clinton was still president. At the time, I enjoyed the convention. I bought some artwork in the auction. I picked up a signed copy of a first-edition by one of my favorite authors. And I hung out with some cool people.
Every year since then, I’ve intended to return. But May is a busy month and something usually interfered. Graduations, weddings, confirmations… the list goes on and on. And then there were the years when Memorial Day weekend snuck past and I realized too late I had missed the con again.
I will not be making that mistake next year. And if all goes well, I may also attend MidAmericaCon II, The 74th Annual World Science Fiction Convention. After all, it’ll be in Kansas City.
How could I pass it up?