Things started winding down after that. I packed, checked out, and then dropped by the Sign Out, which is a tradition of setting up tables for creators to sign their work. Because I neglected to bring anything, and didn't want to buy a ton of books to lug back, I decided to mostly skip it. Naomi Kritzer was signing cat pictures, and those I couldn't resist. After one last meal with pierceaholic and magnetsorwhatever, it was off to the airport and back to real life.
To sum up... I don't know that I can really sum up. To say that I enjoyed myself, that I found the panels thought-proking and energizing, that I emerged with a sense of having rediscovered my people, would be an understatement. And yet I did have my moments of newbie angst -- feeling like an outsider, the fear of breaking into a group that already coalesced long before I arrived in the room. Multiple times, I thought of going up to someone and saying hello to someone, to complement them on their work, or something they said on a panel, or to renew an acquaintance from FogCon, and then didn't. A con is a tough place to be a social introvert, especially when you want to be with people but aren't sure where to start. Fortunately, I knew enough people there who were able to introduce me to other people, and I came out feeling both like I'd made a couple of new friends, and like I've laid the groundwork for next time.
Because there will definitely be a next time. I'm already hoping to make next year work, and although I can't promise that I'll become an every-year attendee (if nothing else, BMC reunion is also often on Memorial Day weekend), I certainly hope to do my best. This is a community I would like to be a part of, and that's worth some effort.
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