Worldcon 76: My Experience, Part 2
As I reflect upon the many aspects of my first Worldcon experience, it's hard to take any one moment and say that was the best. There is much that can be said about just how friendly and supportive the writing community can be. I'm happy to say that I got a chance to experience that side of the community first-hand, and in different ways.
Thursday morning was the single "Wrun With Writers" event, a relaxing 3-mile jog around San Jose. For the most part, I did take my time, not pushing myself to break a sweat or allow my muscles to actually feel the burn that can occur from harder runs. However, at the coaxing of my CP, I decided to run to the front of the pack and hobnob with whoever I found there. Aside from Adam, one of the event leaders, there was Urchin, a nice woman with whom I chatted for the entire final mile. It was also during this final stretch where I made the conscious decision to really push myself, especially since Urchin found it fun to compete for a trophy that didn't exist. We both ran ahead, but not too far in front, as we chatted about books, reading habits, Worldcon, and our hometowns.
When we got to the last fifty meters or so (the block before the conference center, where we started - the finish line), we both agreed to sprint the rest of the way. Before the light turned green, my lungs already were burning, legs hot and wobbly, sweat beading all over my head and rolling down my chest. It's been awhile since I've done a proper sprint, and sprinting was never my thing to begin with.
But what the hell.
The light changes, and we're off!
She stayed on the sidewalk while I took to the street, my mind pushing my body far harder then was planned while my ears heard her light footsteps as she leaned toward the ramp for the convention center entrance. Stretching my legs as far forward as I could, the soles of my feet attempting to dig into the pavement to launch my not-so-lean mass forward, we found each other neck and neck. I'm pretty sure Urchin was the first across the finish line by a hair, but we both were all smiles in the end. High-fives were traded before I threw myself to the ground, the pavement feeling very comfortable for those few moments. We cheered on the remaining runners as they arrived, sweaty palms slapping against sweaty palms.
It was a great way to break in Worldcon.
It wasn't just the attendees that were enthusiastic. The sessions that I attended were led by people that, for the most part, not only knew what they were talking about but were quite energized when talking. Whether it was the very informative and insightful banter that we received from the agents and published writers during "Successfully Negotiating Book Contracts" to the clear sense of passion from the lawyers that paneled "Sci-Fi and Patents," it wasn't hard to walk away from most sessions with a ton of notes and the feeling of satisfaction.
As a veteran conference-goer, I'm not opposed to simply walking out of a session within minutes of it starting if it turns out that what was being presented turned out to not reflect anything I expected. There are definitely times in the past where a session's description and the actual presentation turned out to not be one and the same.
For the first time in a long time, I actually stayed in nearly every session until their conclusion, even if that meant I didn't get a seat in the subsequent session.
I made several friends during Worldcon, some of which live within driving distance of my home, which was amazing. Made friends, broke bread over dinner with some of my "Rogue Collective" writing group, and rubbed shoulders with random folks during the many "Vote Dublin/DC/Utah/<insert city name here>" parties that ran throughout the evenings.
It is the people that define the success of a conference at a personal level. From my position, it's safe to say that Worldcon succeeded on that front with flying colors.
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