On Thursday of last week, I travelled up to Halifax for their annual fan convention, Hal-con. This was my second year attending and I’ve had a blast each time. The Convention runs from Friday to Sunday, with a meet and greet on Thursday evening kicking off the weekend-long geek fest. I had my schedule set up to take in as many writing panels as possible, see as much as I could and enjoy the experience.
We arrived in time for the door opening on Thursday, the lines weren’t terrible and once it started moving it picked up quickly. The heat in the venue was unbelievable with so many crammed into the main entrance. We were early enough that we scored early entry bracelets and our swag bags, the highlight of which is the hello fresh trial. Dennis received one as did I, so we’re going to see if it’s possible to combine them and give the thing a try.
Thursday night was Speed Friending at The Old Triangle, so we went down there, ate supper and went upstairs to join the group that was meandering in from the convention centre. I met some really great people, the hosts put on some nice icebreaker games to get people talking. I didn’t end up running into anyone I met at the speed friending, but it helped in its own way.
Narrowing down my fandoms for the little name tag was difficult, but I did meet several LOTR fans. It was a nice precursor to what the con was going to be like, a whole bunch of geeks and nerds in one place, various stages of awkward to outgoing depending on their comfort level with crowds and Halcon in general.
We stayed with friends in Sackville and they were absolutely wonderful and lovely.
Friday was the first day of the convention and arrived early enough that the lines were less bothersome. Dennis cosplayed dapper Deadpool to great effect. I didn’t cosplay this year, it’s not something I’m comfortable with just yet. I have trouble sometimes with dysphoria, mostly around my chest and it makes for awkwardness at the worst times. Case in point there is exactly one picture of me for the entire con and that was only because Dennis was kind enough to suggest it quietly so I could refuse if I felt too uncomfortable.
The key thing to a great con is awesome friends.
I picked up a nice bunch of swag, paying attention to smaller artists instead of the bigger shops. Bought several books that were subsequently autographed on later days, and then went for a walk around the entire convention hall. Bought my ticket for Jim Beaver autograph and waited for the first panel.
I have to say I had three favourite panels over the weekend. Friday’s panel was Urban Fantasy featuring Tanya Huff and Nicola R. White. Tanya has been writing in the genre since the late 80’s trust me if you haven’t read her, take it from someone who’s recently discovered her work, read them. I’ve started with the Keeper Trilogy and I’m hooked.
The panel discussed the recentish trend of fantasy taking on a more urban setting and the rise in magical realism and as Tanya put it, ‘our world a little to the left.’ There was talk about mixing genres and the rise in science fiction and slipstream fiction. Overall it was an interesting panel and the discussions were active and engaging.
Saturday’s favourite panel was Women in Media, Margarita Gakis and Tim Hanley were fantastic, the panel was engaging the audience was polite all the while making great points and bringing up a lot of issues that face women in the media. There was a lot of discussion of feminism and the current media representation is white feminism and that it’s struggling to include all voices when the subjects are very complex.
Dorks in Dungeons Presents: Geeks in Galaxies, put on a brilliant show. An improv sci-fi adventure where every decision is made by the role of a dice. Funny enough on its own, the audience has a chance to get reroll tokens which let us effect the story. We’re an evil audience, sometimes we were nice, other times we wanted to watch them fail and fail hard. It was a hilarious adventure and great fun.
I went to two panels on Sunday and both were very interesting, with Tamora Pierce hosting a panel on Believable Evil and creating villains, using influences from your life and how to tie them back to being real people. Writer Tips was the final panel I went to for the weekend and the authors once again offered some nice tips and tricks for handling my overemphasis on world building.
Although I didn’t get to see it happen, there was another contest I had been interested in and on a lark entered. It was the Love Letter contest. This year I entered because why not, what’s the worst thing that could happen, they don’t pick mine. So I took about a half hour and wrote something out in my bullet journal and copied it over editing as I transcribed and then set it off on its merry way.
I received an email on Tuesday evening of this that my letter had been selected, the princess loved mine the best and I won a copy of the Love Letters’ game. It’s also the first year a serious letter has one. So I was super excited. I’ve been waiting for them to put the letter up on facebook since they have the cleaned copy but I haven’t seen anything yet. So instead of waiting I’ll see if I can remember my edits from the rough draft I still have.
My Dearest Love,
Please forgive the hasty scratch of my pen upon paper. It is a poor substitute for the feelings I wish to convey.
Better than I have made manifest the glory of your astounding presence. I am but a poor wordsmith, pouring my deepest emotion and most private thoughts into the crucible in the hope they shall be fired to brilliance and tempered by your love.
I write to thee in the vain and piteous hope that my poor, ineffectual words may one day find your heart. That my heart may join with yours, our minds together no longer drifting alone in the vast reaches, having met and found that which makes them stronger.
You do not complete me, my dear. Nor I, you. You, you are wholly your own as am I, but you give me the strength to follow my path and accept the things I have struggled against. It is my hope to be that for you. Not an anchor tying you a single port, but the sails to carry you further.
For you, my dear are my stars.