What I Love About DragonCon

A while ago when I was soliciting ideas for blog posts, a friend suggested writing about why I love DragonCon. I attempted to write this post three times before giving up and deciding to write it after this year’s convention (I’d be more inspired then, right?). Well, it’s after this year’s convention and I’m still struggling to write this post because it’s difficult to articulate exactly what I love about DragonCon.

  • Waking up to a room filled with my sleeping friends.
  • Lunchtime conversations drifting from “What If Harry Potter was Sorted into a Different House?” to a discussion that AUs and What Ifs are only interesting because the original canon (or history) exists as a divergent point.
  • Giving and receiving book recommendations from friends and strangers, and talking about one of the best books I read this year (Defy the Stars) with the author (Claudia Gray) and then telling her about the book I’m currently querying and the one I’m currently writing.
  • A phalanx of handmaidens marching in the DragonCon parade, followed up by a T-Rex handmaiden.
  • The hideously beautiful Marriott carpet being immortalized in buttons, shirts, lanyards, and various cosplay including a Marriott Carpet Spider-Man.
  • Writing in the bathroom in the wee hours every morning to not bother my roommates but still meet my daily writing goals.
  • Being tapped to run the mic at a guest Q&A and having someone lined up recognize me because I’ve worked with the Military Sci-Fi Media track on and off for eleven years.
  • Chatting with a dieselpunk podcaster about the genre and examining if there is a difference between dieselpunk and decopunk. (We didn’t come up with a definitive answer, but I have a lot to consider.)
  • Talking to Cherie Priest for about fifteen minutes about Cassadaga, a spiritualist camp about an hour from home that was the subject of her book Brimstone.
  • Sitting on a roof with my DragonCon family, sharing stories, singing, and mostly laughing as we held a wake for our friend who passed away two weeks before this year’s DragonCon.

As chaotic and huge as DragonCon is, as much as it can be about the costumes or the vendor hall or the celebrity guests, DragonCon is about found families. This was my fifteenth DragonCon and, as time goes on, it just gets harder to explain why I love it. I first fell in love with DragonCon for being a fun place to talk about fandom and engage in things to geek out over, but the romance has lasted because DragonCon has become a family reunion. I still have one-off experiences that delight me, but the reason I attend year after year is to see people I love and to be embraced by a community. I’m sure there are people who can see DragonCon as just another convention, but I have a piece of the Marriott carpet framed on my wall. While the reasons might be difficult to articulate, I love DragonCon and I’m already looking forward to 2018.

You can hear more about my DragonCon 2017 experience in this week’s episode of Cinescopers.

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