Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ReaderCon Impressions

I was absolutely thrilled when I got an invitation to ReaderCon 2013 and considered it a mark that finally, at long last, somebody knew that I was a writer - Wow! It was enough to convince me that it might be worth driving the nine exhausting hours to get to Burlington and ReaderCon.

I usually go to the Nebulas and WorldCon as well as local conventions within reasonable driving distance,  such as Confluence, CapClave, Balticon, and Ravencon. There the audiences are modest and mixed in terms of ages, sex, and fannish intensity.  For some insane reason I expected the ReaderCon crowd to be much the same.

Was I ever wrong!  First, the numbers of people attending the panels were much larger, attendees filling all the seats while others stood around the edges.  I have never felt myself under such intense focus as I did on my few panels.  Like a rabbit encountering a fox, I became nervous by the laser-like stares of the audience and their terribly intense INTEREST. At most cons people are just listening to their favorite author's voices and waiting for an opportunity to have a few words, ask a question, or obtain an autograph.  Not so at this one where the audience poured toward the panelists like a surging tsunami of queries.

I was only a panelist on a few sessions and had a hard time deciding which of the others to attend. All were above average in content and focus.  I also learned that I am not alone in bewailing the vows of poverty that we writers must take for our art and the loneliness of working alone in a darkened room.  This is a solitary occupation, let there be no doubt. Adulation and rewards are far too few, it seems.

What was more interesting was that everyone seemed to be people of the book and voracious consumers of the written word in both print and electronic form. From the number of ReaderCon attendees taking copious notes and the quality of questions being asked I suspect there was a high density of English majors.  Surprisingly for me, the sessions seldom (and thankfully briefly) veered off into media territory.

And the writers!! OMG, I spoke to all my heroes and met most that I knew only by their names and stories.  Writers I knew but had not yet met seemed to know who I was (always a surprise) and some of the fans even mentioned stories I once wrote.  These little things might not seem like much, but I was fucking THRILLED!

It was well worth the drive.


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