Posted by: Matt Y | 10/15/2016

Nerdcon: Stories

It’s been over a year since I used my blog about writing, which makes sense because with a job promotion I’ve been working insane hours (to me) and, well, not writing.  That hasn’t been all that healthy for me and when I came across a Nerdcon: Stories mention my wife immediately said that I needed to go to that.

As with many things, she was so right.

Thank you to all the people who attended Nerdcon: Stories, from the organizers to the guests to the audience.  There were so many great panels that all the time that I was constantly split between being happy over the one I chose to go to while wishing I was in another.  This may be the only convention I’ve ever been to where I felt like every hour of my time I learned and grew or was in awe of an artist.

That’s the TL;DR version of what I want to say.  Here’s the rest:

Recently I read a book called Infomocracy, a book whose title I stumble over when I try to say out loud.  In it there’s a character who is described as having a condition called narrative disorder.  The character takes various facts and starts forming those into a narrative which makes her good at her job.  I read that and thought like I do when I read WebMD; oh shit I think I have that.

If it was a real condition than Nerdcon: Stories was a gathering of the afflicted.  A mix of celebration of stories, their influence on culture and how they’re told, but also of those who might be mildly obsessed or possessed by the desire to consume and create more stories.  There were readings, sharing stories, craft advice, puppet shows, interactive games, and more, all about the geekery of the art of narrative in various mediums.  All of it more fun than a bunch of hyper-intellegent bees in a man suit.

I’ve never been to a convention where every panel I’ve gone to has been both so insightful and entertaining.  I went alone, and as a socially awkward person surrounded by others who felt the same there was an enjoyable bond that connected everyone.  Like how quickly the audience made a hand symbol for soup for Mary Robinette Kowal in Superfight.  There was a shared sense of happiness for being a part of what was happening.

The guests and panelist were all fantastic as well and easily connected with the audience and instead of talking to us it really felt like they were talking with us.  That’s a pretty big difference.  I might have a weird fan crush on Mary Robinette Kowal now just for how amazing she was in everything she was a part of.

All over I heard conversations from people who were worried that  this might be the last and that it might never come again.  In almost every one of those situations the people talking were also trying to figure out what they could do or offer to keep it going because they felt it was so important to keep it going, whether that was kickstarter or otherwise.

It takes something truly special that people who’ve already paid for that year are trying to figure out how they might be able to donate more for future years to continue something so amazing.  Frankly the sessions on craft and the various panels make me think they could turn it into a longer weird hybrid of convention and writer’s camp.  I’d pay.

It was humbling seeing so many great creative panelists and attendees who are so filled with talent add similar devotion to the gods of narrative, to know that I am one among many, and yet such a great feeling to see so many creators and know that there will always be more amazing things being made every moment.  Like being an alcoholic on a brewery tour knowing I’ll never get to drink it all.

Stories are powerful.  Stories are magic.  Nerdcon: Stories showed the magic we can make together when we try.  Writing is a solitary art form and yet I never felt a part of larger community.  It felt good again to be immersed in something I care so much about.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible.


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