I am still reeling from all the super-crazy fun I had at my very first con this past weekend. Yes, at the ripe middle-age of 46, I popped my con virginity at Ottawa PopExpo.
I’ve always been labelled “the cool chick” by my proud-to-be-geek friends, and they would smirk at my complete lack of knowledge of their comicon culture. (I’m a rock musician. I don’t mean to be cool, I swear! Rockers gots feelings, too, you know!)
These days I am a writer of comic sci-fi, so I wanted to explore the realm that my targeted audience enjoys. I also wanted to know what all the hype was about with going to cons. This is what I learned:
Cons are craft fairs! Whoot!
OH MY WORD! Why didn’t someone tell me how incredibly creative these people are? It was a feast for my wee crafty Cait eyes to see all the craft booths out there. I wanted to buy everything I saw.
There were vendors there, too, with great wares. My hubster bought me this jersey, because my hair is turning Targaryen, and my favourite CFL team is the RedBlacks. (On the car ride home, we caught the last few minutes of the final quarter of the game. ELLINGSON!!!)
So, yeah, was mind-blown by all the artisans and vendors at the fair. I especially love when people put their heart and soul into crafts. That impressed me.
Cosplayers are freaking awesomesauce!
I attended each day of PopExpo. On the Saturday, I dressed as a Redshirt, who didn’t want to die. It was a very simple outfit, and I made the sign using my Cricut Mini. Well, slap me to a pig and drag me through the mud, because so many people laughed. They got the joke. They asked to take my picture. How friendly and warm are these cosplayers?
What was so funny was how excited I was getting over their costumes. In the 80s I was a teen, and I loved Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits. This past month, I’ve been binge-watching them on Netflix.
On the Saturday, I met these ladies. OK, what really happened is that I became a completely star-struck 16-year old from 1986 and screamed at the top of my lungs: OHMIGOSH, ARE YOU JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS??? CAN I TAKE YOUR PICTURE???
Then I noticed there were Misfits, too, and I just lost it. Only after I snapped their photos did I realize I was old enough to be their mother. But they were fantastic to me in all my fan-girlieness. Thanks, rockers, for making this woman happy and in the 80s again!
Oh yeah, and many thanks to these people, for another great 80s reference from the movies Spaceballs.
On the Sunday, I really got into the act with my friends and the hubster. We all decided to go as Doctor Who characters. Being originally from Montreal, I chose to be the Fashionista Dalek. (Exterminate those shoes ’cause they’re so two-years ago.)
Again, people we never met asked to take our photos. So many smiling faces and compliments on our creativity.
I’m telling you, my fibromyalgia was half-cured from all the endorphins my body was generating! I cannot remember the last time I had such a blast.
My day was made when the compliments came from actual daleks. Thanks, boys. You flirts.
The atmosphere of inclusion
I am not a tall and lithe 21-year-old. I’m a happily chubby lady, who likes to have fun. It didn’t matter about my age or body size. My enthusiasm is what counted. I saw people of all ages and every body type, simply enjoying themselves. There were gender diversity and sexual orientation diversity and insert diversity here. One big bowl of mad fun was going on. What we as a society can learn from fandoms, let me tell you.
There be book people there!
The end of our visit on Sunday was even better. I was walking with the hubster when someone said they liked my costume. When I turned to see who it was, I noticed a familiar name: Renaissance Book Press.
I walked over to the table and met the most delightful people: Caroline Frechette (author and publisher) and Madona Skaff-Koren (author). They told me about the press and answered any questions I had. Renaissance is a small press in the Ottawa area, and by the personalities of the people I spoke to, a press that I’d love to take me on. Madona told me the advantages of being with a smaller publisher, the main one being a more personal relationship and feeling involved all along the process. That sounds great to me! I bought Madona’s book and asked if she would sign it. She was more than happy to, and I was moved by her words:
To a fellow writer.
Enjoy the journey.
I will have to remember that. Enjoy the journey. A good lesson for a not-yet published author. Those of you who are published, calling someone like me a writer is worth a thousand points of validation. Imma make a note to respect all authors of words, wherever they are on their journey.
Go to cons. They’re cool. Even cooler than rockers. Now I know why the geeks shall inherit the earth. I’m proud to be one of them. BECAUSE FUN, YO!
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer for high tech and government organizations. Her first novel is being sent to the universe. She hopes the universe likes it. (The second book has begun and a third will happen, too!)