Saturday morning began bright and early with a John Green Yoga Adventure hosted by YogaQuest MN. This was basically like MadLibs with yoga poses: one of the instructors read a narrative in which the protagonists of Green’s novels found themselves outside their stories and tried to find where they belonged, while the other instructor led us through poses associated with each character name, certain nouns, and some verbs. Whenever Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars was mentioned, for instance, we did Warrior II, because she is a strong female lead.
After yoga I ran back to the hotel for breakfast in the Executive Lounge (leftover perks from having to stay on the pullout couch in the Executive Suite!) before heading off to “Centering Women in Fiction: Removing Your Unconscious Bias.” A panel of amazing women creators talked about internalized and learned biases that even we women have against ourselves, and how we can combat those by supporting (and even demanding) those stories when they do appear. The girl power in the room was fantastic. I also ran into Shayna from the feminist publishing panel the day before, so we sat together and chatted a bit.
When that panel let out, I went back to the expo hall because I wanted to try out the Depict-O-Mat. Essentially, it’s some people in a box who interview you for a few minutes and then produce an impromptu puppet show starring you. In mine, I was Queen of the Dragons. Plus I got to keep the puppet!
After some lunch, it was time for our kaffeeklatsch with Saladin Ahmed. Twelve attendees got to sit down with a featured guest at kaffeeklatsches (so called because there were coffee and tea available) for an hour and chat about creativity, process, and whatever else we wanted. Though I didn’t actually talk, it was just nice to hang out and hear others’ thoughts on representation, writing, publishing, and reading recommendations.
From there, I dashed straight to the auditorium to get a good seat for the afternoon variety show. This is also where I found Shayna again and she joked that I must be stalking her.
The variety show included a Q&A lightning round with a squid, a conversation between Nalo Hopkinson and Daniel Jose Older, a lip sync battle, and a talk by John Green. All I’ll say about that talk is that 1. he made me cry again and 2. you should go read it.
After the variety show I went down to something called Story Circle, where we all literally sat in a circle and talked about nerdom. I got to say some things about Arabian Nights and how cool it was to be at NerdCon: Stories in the first place, so that was definitely fun.
My last panel at NerdCon was “Breaking into Publishing,” which is pretty self explanatory. I got some good notes, some good quotes (my favorite was “How did I break into publishing? With a black ski mask at night.”), and some good motivation to actually finish my manuscript so I can start querying! (I also saw Shayna. Again. Really can’t blame her for thinking I was stalking her.)
And thus, knowing I had a shuttle coming at 5 am the next day, my NerdCon: Stories experience was over.