Wings and Writers: My First Year at Dragon*Con

Wings and writers, that was what Dragon*Con meant to me. A few frazzled writers scurry through a crowd of winged—costumed individuals thrilled by anything with “star” in the title. I admit I was wary of this image. I was weird, but was I weird enough? Was Dragon*Con really an impenetrable group of eccentrics who have attended conventions forever?

I was nervous that if I went, I would find the blank faces of the crowd silently, instinctively closing their ranks to keep me out.  This year, I finally worked up the courage to go. I’m still in awe of the world I found. The sheer amount of people amazed me, but more so the passion. Some types of passion do tend to block others out, but at Dragon*Con, the passion was the type that infects and energizes, increasing with each person, spreading, multiplying, until the energy is so palpable that you feel like you’re about to burst.

I felt so alive, just standing in the midst of it all. And yet that was just the beginning—Dragon*Con had much more to offer. I had innumerable first experiences. I rode a MARTA train. I successfully memorized the floor plans of some gorgeous hotels. I only got lost only a few times.

I discovered the expensive hobby of ball-jointed dolls. I learned how to make a corset pattern out of duct-tape. I met a transvestite more beautiful than most of the women I know. I heard expert opinions on fun ways to conquer the world. I ate ice cream of indeterminate flavor concocted by evil geniuses.

I learned the many metaphors that can apply to writing and how weird these metaphors can get. I added to my collection quotes such as:

  • “You got a tan! Brilliant! At least you didn’t turn green, bubble up, and fall apart!”
  • “I will think of the little people as I crush them between my giant, articulated, titanium toes.”
  • “It’s not rocket surgery!”

Random people took pictures of me, and I took pictures of them. And, before I retired for the night, I rode an elevator all the way to the 47th floor of the Marriott and all the way back down. As we descended, I watched as the crowds grew nearer and nearer, slowly engulfing me, until my glass bubble landed amongst them. I emerged, slipping into the world of Dragon*Con. It was daunting, exhilarating, ethereal, and oh, so worth it.

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