Now I'm a REAL Writer (GeekGirlCon Wrap-up) – Raven Oak

Now I’m a REAL Writer (GeekGirlCon Wrap-up)

Last weekend was GeekGirlCon, which is always one of my favorite cons of the year. I love the idea of a con without the toxicity often found in larger conventions.

Most conventions these days are working conventions for me, though I try to take time to game and catch a few fun panels. GeekGirlCon was no exception, though this year was definitely different than previous years.

With all the housing chaos, I pushed myself too hard and relapsed on my sinus infection. Worse still, the infection had traveled into my lungs and given me bronchitis. Here I was, the day before GeekGirlCon, and I was sick as a dog.

Patrick Rothfuss picI remember the first time I saw Patrick Rothfuss at Emerald City Comicon. He had the flu and was sick as a dog. Yet being the professional he is, he sat at the front of the room and did a short reading, followed by a Q&A.

The session was full of sniffles and coughs and large gulps of water, but he made it through and entertained us in spite of being sick.

As I arrived Saturday morning for my panel, all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. My body was exhausted and the medication made the room spin. The panel (Analysis of Sex vs. Gender) with Jill Seidenstein, Winter Downs, Janine A. Southard, and Fran Stewart wasn’t set to start until 10:30 AM, but I arrived in the room way before that.

The yellow-shirt volunteers had prepped water and sweets for the panelists, as well as having complete A/V setup. I’ve never been a panelist at a con that prepared. It was unreal.

GeekGirlCon Panel room 2015Slowly but surely folks trickled into our large room, including my fellow panelists. The room capped at 475 people, and I’d say we filled about 2/3 of the room. Not bad for so early on Saturday morning.

While my co-panelists and I had prepped 20+ questions, we only made it through maybe 9-10 questions total as our conversations were fun and in-depth. Attendees during the Q&A asked great questions and provided a great list of sources for people looking for more literature or media involving non-binary genders. (In fact, Jill Seidenstein has a great list compiled of what was mentioned on her site.)

GeekGirlCon Panelists I moderated and participated in the panel the best I could, which meant strapping on a smile and kickstarting my brain. It was in those moments that I realized I was definitely a real author. Here I was, working a panel while sick. Somehow, that knowledge made everything more real for me.

When I think about the effort it must have taken Rothfuss to participate with the flu, I gain a great appreciation for him–actually, for all writers.

We work long hours and rarely take time off. We travel–often on our own dime–to meet with readers and other writers. And even when sick, we work. We show up and connect with others, ready or not.

After my panel, I sat at the autograph table and chatted with attendees until my time was up. Then I went home and slept.

I felt somewhat better on Sunday, which showed as I sat at the autograph table. I sold quite a few books and signed away for the two hours I was there.

Sadly, I didn’t get to game or check out the rest of the con due to illness, but I still learned quite a bit from GeekGirlCon:

  1. You know you’ve made it as a writer when you attend your own panels and signings while ill. Now I’m a REAL writer. 😉
  2. The panelists invited are consummate professionals who understand how differing opinions unite us in shared diversity rather than segregating us.
  3. Equality is so obvious to the attendees of GeekGirlCon that most of your questions sound like stupid questions because Duh! Who wouldn’t treat ____ like a human?

Much thanks to my co-panelists for their amazing minds and conversations, but also to GeekGirlCon for taking care of us and inviting us into your world.

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