FantaSciCon was a blast. I had one of the best all around convention weekends of my career, from meeting new friends to selling a few books to simply relaxing. A very special thanks to Dutch and Mickey for having me down, and an even bigger thanks to everyone who was there. What the crowd lacked in quantity, it more than made up for in quality, and it’s always reinvigorating to be surrounding by intelligent, creative, passionate people who know so much more about so many things than I do. Con weekends always humble me in the best possible way by reminding me that this world is full of amazing people.
I will admit that on Friday, I was a little worried about the weekend because the crowd was pretty small, but as the weekend progressed and I got to have long, detailed discussions with the majority of the people there, I recognized that the intimacy of the show was more important than the volume. More than once, I’ve left much larger shows feeling as if I had barely been noticed by the crowd, but as I went around Sunday afternoon saying my good byes, I realized that virtually everyone there had at least learned my name. Dutch and Mickey both expressed that I had been a good guest and was welcome back to either of their two shows any time I wanted. To me, that’s more important than making a small splash at a huge show.
Other than Dutch and Mickey, I don’t want to mention anyone by name for fear of leaving someone out, but if you and I spent more than two minutes engaged in conversation this weekend, please know that I enjoyed getting to know you. Your stories and perspectives inspired me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know you, whether for the first time or in more depth than before. I’m also grateful that all of you so graciously accepted me into the “family.” This weekend will always have a special place in my heart as one of the brightest spots of my career, and you people made this experience more meaningful to me than even attending Dragon*Con as a guest author. There, I was just another face in the crowd. Here, I was one of you, and that means so much more.
One of the coolest things that happened to me personally was finding someone who had bought a copy of Brotherhood six years ago in Chattanooga. He recognized the name of the book and remembered reading it. More importantly, he liked it enough to buy books two and three. Most importantly, he and I got to sit and talk for several hours over the course of the weekend, and he shared with me much of his passion and genius for mechanical engineering. That’s an example of what I meant before about being humbled. We writers are often guilty of believing ourselves smarter than everyone else, but getting to listen to someone who is truly gifted with a tangible skill talk in detail about his work reminded me that in the grand scheme of things, I’m just a dude who tells stories. And this weekend, I needed to be reminded that I’m just a guy with pain and difficulties and struggles, the same as everyone else in this world.