After hanging up with Dad, I walked a few blocks to the light rail and rode it back to the airport to pick up my phone. Fortunately I had a few hours before the first panel I really wanted to attend, so I wasn’t missing any of the convention as a result of my predicament.
Riding the light rail without my phone was surprisingly serene. Public transportation in new cities always reminds me of taking the T on my visits to Boston and riding the Tube around London, and without any games to play or people to text, I was left to look out the window at the city around me.
Of course, once I got my phone back, I immediately began documenting the experience via Snapchat, Twitter, and texting.
Back at the hotel, I took one of Minneapolis’s many downtown skyways to the convention center, a convenience that made running back to my hotel room between panels much easier. Unfortunately, I was too late to attend the Mental Health in YA Literature panel, but I was overjoyed to see that it was filled to capacity because so many people wanted to discuss that topic! After checking in and getting my preordered t-shirt, I wandered around the expo hall a little and bought some typical convention center fare for lunch. The tables were huge, so huge that you were almost forced to sit with strangers because it was too ridiculous to have a table for 10 all to yourself. Thanks to this, I soon discovered one of the perks of NerdCon – social interactions aren’t as awkward because everyone is around the same level of nerdiness. For instance, a random guy asked to sit at my table, struck up a conversation, and ended up showing me his short story.
After lunch I wound up in a panel on self-promotion, which was entertaining if not particularly enlightening. All of the panelists claimed not to be good at self-promotion, which seemed like poor planning, but since I wasn’t terribly invested in the topic I just enjoyed the banter between the featured guests.
Then came A Brief Exploration of Feminist Publishing, in which I met several wonderful ladies who are also striving to both find women in writing and create their own content. We talked about the point at which we first realized the divide between male and female authors, who our favorite women writers are, and the history of feminist publishing. I loved my little group and our whole discussion was fantastic.
The Writers Panel with Ben Blacker was up next. I made more new friends as we filled up a ballroom and waited for the interview to begin. The interviewee? John Green.
I will admit to quietly flailing in my seat and taking far too many pictures as John came out and introduced himself. But as their conversation began, I found myself simply needing to listen. I was so grateful that John was so generous in sharing his writing experiences of the past and present, and that he was willing to delve into mental health and personal balance as well. One part in particular hit me in a visceral way, because he used a similar word choice to what I tell myself when I talk about my depression. The interview closed with questions from the audience, which John answered thoughtfully. (I will update this post with a link to the podcast when it is released.)
My first day at NerdCon: Stories closed with an invitation to dinner with one of my favorite bloggers from SnarkSquad! Mari and I had connected over Twitter when I realized we would both be at the convention, and she was nice enough to include me in a dinner with a few other internet friends. After dinner, I went back to my room, watched the end of the second Harry Potter movie on TV, and went to bed (a real bed, having switched rooms earlier in the day!).