Kami writes fantasy fiction. Kami draws and paints. Once a year, she brings me to the Oregon Science Fiction Convention (Orycon). While she schmoozes with editors and publishers and other writers and shows and sells her artwork at the artshow, I usually am tasked to stand at her side and look ornamental. I spend my own time watching people.
Over the years I've met fascinating and fun people there- writers, martial artists, veterans, dancers, scientists, technogeeks and fans. Some I only get to see once a year and it has become a tradition of sorts. Other things have changed over the years, too. Some time ago I quit reading fiction. Too many real things, more intense, more real, more important had started to fill that need. As life turned into an adventure story with all the messiness and ugly endings, I found it difficult to take fictional adventure with clean plot lines and pat endings.
At some point seeing a well dressed man with pointed teeth caps changed in my head. Instead of thinking, "Cool! He's pretending to be a vampire!" I found myself thinking, "What kind of boring life do you have when it's an upgrade to pretend to be a dead guy?"
A couple of years ago, Mark and I were sitting at the coffee shop- two regular guys dressed in jeans and t-shirts surrounded by Klingons, angels, fairies and goths. Out loud I said, "I'm not into ostentatious display. I don't even read fiction. Why am I here?"
Mark didn't hesitate, "Because it's fun."
Dead right. Where's the fun in hanging around with people who think and dress and act like you do? There are panels where authors, movie makers and scientists talk about life and fiction. They are dreaming out loud to people who share some of the same dreams and the sincerity is palpable. There are panels where you can learn technique from commercial artists and listen to folk musicians. Learn a bit about the world of publishing and what is going on in Hollywood with different shows and projects.
Parties where you can sample a variety of Canadian hard cider, a dance where you will see a real chainmail bikini... and corsets everywhere. Sometimes a good thing.
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