Monday, May 21, 2012

DFWCON 1: New Neighbors

This is me, still awash in the post-coital glow from the DFW Writer's Conference.  I could fall asleep and stay there for three days easily, but instead, let me take a deep drag and write down a few of the essentials.

Point #1: The conference was AMAZING.  Knock-down, drag-out, tricycle-kid-from-the-Incredibles AWESOME.  It's the only writer's conference I've been to, but now I'm dreadfully afraid that I might have been ruined for all others.  It's kind of hard to picture how any other con could be as fun, informative, well-organized, and fantastically-attended as this one.  That is a pretty good problem to have.

Point #2: Writer-types, hie thee forth to one of these things.  It will almost-certainly be inferior to this one (see above), but more than any of the particular features, one of the best - healthiest - parts of this weekend was the meeting and greeting and going and doing.  This what we do is a lonely gig, and I had not at all realized how badly I needed to get out of my own head, and give the ol' Ouroboros something new to chew on.

Point #3: I said on Twitter that this is basically Hogwarts Disneyland Woodstock carnival-prom, for book nerds.  Let me zero in for a sec on the school part of that.

The thing is, when you are in grade school, or even in college, you are constantly being exposed to new ideas and new people.  Your classes and teachers and the kid who sits next to you in 3rd period all change from semester to semester, and although you can choose your lunch-buddies and who you invite to your birthday party, a great deal of the mixing is outside your control.  That constant social influx tends to end with adulthood.  Most of us end up with fairly stable sets of people in our lives: co-workers, friends, immediate family, whatever.  One of the things I've most enjoyed about the DFW Writer's Workshop, which was multiplied about a hundredfold at the conference, is that although you can still cultivate favorite friends, you are ALSO routinely shunted into groups of brand-new folks, who have brand-new perspectives and interests that you would have otherwise missed out on.  (And unlike those four-foot-tall larval felons in grade school, these ones here aren't after your lunch money or your self-esteem.)

What I mean to say is this: we of the pennish persuasion tend to get real focused on generating new stuff - new stories and characters and whatever.  And unless you have small children or food allergies, it's easy to forget that output correlates directly to intake.  Do yourself a favor, then, and see what you can do to increase your intake not only of books and ideas and Internet-content, but of fellow carbon-based life-forms - especially those outside your genre or Twitter feed or advertising demographic - and all the exotically-flavored brain-juices they bring.

Oh, hi Trolley.  Is it time to go back to reality now?

1 comment:

  1. I really like the comparison in Point #3. I've found after high school, it becomes harder to make new friends. Well, part of my issue is anxiety, but still. It's even worse now that my "work" is basically solo based. Even MORE now that new management has taken over and I don't even show apartments anymore.

    Point being, as we hit adulthood even making friends (good, reliable ones) gets a lot harder. If I wasn't so anxiety-bound I think these conferences would do me a world of good, even though I barely write at the moment. Just interacting with a handful of people from different walks in life, at different levels with their accomplishments, and the vastness of new ideas floating around such an event would be great.

    I've found even my new group of friends I made last Nov during NaNoWriMo have begun to have their socializing ambitions subsiding. So I just kind of do my own thing.

    Doing my best to expose myself to other carbon-based life-forms.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink