An Introvert’s Lessons From the Con: Days 2, 3, and 4

c. S.W. Sondheimer
See? Will and I found one another. Eventually…

Running a bit behind on part two, obviously (which is why I’m also including parts 3 and 4); no matter how hard I click my heels together, I’m not back at Emerald City ComicCon so… yeah… running a bit behind. Turns out the spinning rainbow wheel of death impeding my writing during Con was a literal spinning rainbow wheel of death and the ole laptop needed a new hard drive. It was, luckily, a relatively cheap fix because on that same day, my car battery required replacement. Which, because my car is ancient was also a relatively cheap fix. Hooray

Anyhoo

c. S.W. Sondheimer
That’s Ms. Doctor Strange to you, punk
Eye of Agomotto and Sling Ring by Billy The Brick Cosplay

Emerald City ComicCon ramped up on days two and three and, while somewhat quieter, was still going strong on Sunday. The solo scouting I did on day one paid huge dividends in that I was comfortable in the space, knew my way around a bit, and had scoped out the quiet zones and the less densely populated rest-spots. Also, I’d found a couple of places where I could scavenge cell reception, and hopping online once or twice during the day provided a welcome respite for my brain.

Days two and three were my big cosplay day and it was definitely confidence bolstering to be complimented on my Ms. Doctor Strange and Shiro. Plus, I got to meet a longtime online friend IRL and it was amazing. GeekDad Will and I also went a-wandering together, which was super cool because he is an awesome dude.

And lo, my education did continue:

  • Leather gauntlets which lace up, foam Galra arms which must be removed for the washing of hands, etcetera mean bathroom breaks of at least ten minutes (more intricate costumes will obviously necessitate longer windows). Thus, if you intend to cosplay, and you have bits which will need to be removed for things like eating and peeing, consider the time it will take to remove and re-don when making your daily schedule. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t do the thing; you totally should. Having never cosplayed with such intricate handware, however, I was unprepared for the attendant potty-use delays on day two; odd as it may seem, it’s little things like an extra five minutes in the bathroom when I have somewhere to be that really kick my anxiety into high gear. I made the adjustment on day three and found myself much more at ease. Also, I didn’t have to go once more unto the breach at a sprint trailing hair chalk and glitter. If your cosplay re-assembly is a two-person job, stick with your buddy, designate a time/place to meet if you separate, or include “wandering around, looking for one another,” time in your day. And for goodness sake, don’t wait until the last minute to take your… erm… break. There may be lines.
  • Cell service sucks. I knew this intellectually but the reality was even worse than I anticipated. I considered paying the $75 for Convention Center WiFi so I could live stream the GeekDad/Mom Raising Generation Geek 2.0 panel but as every merchant I spoke with was having issues with their mobile credit card systems, I decided to skip it. Texts messages went through eventually; I’m quite sure GeekDad Will James (aka: Billy the Brick Cosplay, aka: he who is responsible or both the Strange swag and the Galra arm) and I walked past one another several times until we eventually tripped over one another (don’t worry, we have a plan for next year. It involves Will standing on my head with an aluminum foil antenna attached to his phone. Under a skylight) I found only two spots in the whole, massive place wherein I could get any data flow (both under the aforementioned skylights). I highly recommend, if you’re splitting the party, you pick meeting spots and times before going your separate ways. Unless you don’t want the dour cleric to find you, in which case, take a random right and hide behind the massive Transformer. It eases my anxiety significantly to know where I have to be and when I have to be there, especially if both my schedule and someone else’s is dependent on a prompt reunion, so I made certain all were on the same page before we parted ways. As always, the plan can change, but having one allowed me to enjoy the many moments instead of focusing on what could potentially go wrong later (as is my wont when unprepared and/or uncertain).
c. S.W. Sondheimer
Yeah, I talked to Richard Kadrey. I felt like a total dork afterwards, but I did it.
  • Those creators you’ve admired from afar for so long? They’re at Con to talk to you and they love hearing how much you enjoy their work. Go tell them. There are a couple of folks I approached with my stomach in my throat because, well, one of them created Hellboy and another is the current writer on Thundbolts, that dude wrote Witch Doctor, and oh, yeah, he wrote Sandman Slim, and why the hell would they want to talk to me? Answer: because they work hard at what they do, they pour blood, sweat, and tears (ever tried to write a comic script or a novel? I’ve cried) into their creations and while it’s a lovely platitude that writers should be content writing what they love for themselves, between you, me, and the internet, we’re desperate for people to read our stuff. We really want you to love it. In order for us to continue to create, we need to hear you do.  Even if we’re flippin’ Neil Gaiman (which I am not), if his thoughts in The View From The Cheap Seats are even half honest. Look, there are a few jerks in each group, and if you encounter one of them, you have my sincere apologies. I talked to a lot of people at Emerald City and I didn’t encounter a one of them.
  • Do something you’re afraid of. I’m not advocating edging so far out onto the cliff you fall off but if you’re able, pick one thing you’ve never done before and take the leap… elation. I, for example, moderated a panel in front of a packed house – they were there for the authors and the topic, not for me – and when it went off track? I let it. The last time I led a panel there were like, maybe five, tired people in the room and I stuck pretty closely to the script. This time? People were excited. They wanted to participate. They were passionate and supportive and wonderful. Was I terrified? Yup. Did I hesitate? Yup. But in the end, because I had, as always, my trusty plan in the form of a list of questions, I took a deep breath, set a time limit after which I’d rein things in if they appeared to be crashing and/or burning (five minutes). It did neither. It was amazing(this is neither a brag nor a humble-brag. It is a revelation). Afterwards, I sat in my car for ten minutes and maniac laughed off the adrelnaline.  Then, I went to see Logan with my dear friend, and hostress Steph. And Utini. Because he’s a thing now.
c. S.W. Sondheimer
  • If you have a kid you can bring or borrow for a day, do it. I had to leave my offspring at home due to school scheduling but my nephew (and sister + brother-in-law) joined me on Saturday and seeing the Con through his three year old eyes? Epic. As adults, we have a tendency, even when we’re in our element, even when we’re with our tribe, to forget to wonder, not in the questioning sense but in the sense of allowing ourselves to be awestruck. The boy? He had never seen so many Captain Americas in one place. He’d never had his picture taken with Superman. He’d never experienced such a massive room of Legos. He’d never joined a parenting panel (man, I hope someone got video of that). Everything, as they say, was awesome and watching him discover the fact allowed me to experience the Con with a wholly unencumbered, unadulterated, joy.
  • When your BFAM rolls up to a crosswalk and says, “Holy crap, is that…” you should look. Because it might actually be Jason Momoa and you might have a moment of eye contact with Aquaman through a windshield. Never washing my eyeballs again.

There you have it, fellow introverts. If I can do the thing, you can do it. And when you’re ready, you will.

Already have next year’s ECCC marked in my calendar. There’s a chance, in taking my own advice to try something new for each Con, I may be attempting to make my own Winter Soldier ronin armor. Stay tuned….

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RN at the Department of Therapeutic Misadventures. Author of 'Hero Handlers.' Comics geek. Padawan. Stealthy Wookiee. Belter. Paladin of the Big Cat Robot. Ms. Doctor Strange. Non-compliant female. Herder of genetic descendants. Drinker of much coffee. Stepper-uponer of multitudinous Legos.