Sunday, April 15, 2018

221B Con 2018: One con among many.

A big point about 221B Con came up during one of last night's bar chats, as we talked about next year's con and our desires to be here again. And that point is this:

Even if you make it to Atlanta, start at the beginning and attend every panel you can until the last bow panel on Sunday . . . even if you manage to somehow get in food and sleep and cosplay and shopping the dealer's room and still get to something every single hour . . . even if you're a con godling and just amazing . . . here's the thing: There's still a 221B Con you will miss.

Until we invent time travel and you can cycle back to take a different path for your second, third, and fourth paths at the con, living alternate lives every time, you just have to accept that there will be a few regrets. There are many different cons going on here at once. You can go down a TV/movie path, a literary path, a party path, a conversational path, a creative path . . . just to name a few.

For my first Sunday panel, I'm going down a more writer/creative path for "Insecurity, Imposter Syndrome, and Other Creative Pitfalls." "What?" you might ask, "Where is the Sherlock Holmes part of that title?" Well, here's the thing: With so many opportunities to have panels at the con, some of them get to dig deep. Sherlockians write. Sherlockians draw. And Sherlockians have the same issues that any writers or artists have, so why not discuss them?

This panel is a great one for bringing up surface views versus reality, and one point they're hitting as I type here is how social media allows people to do that weird PR thing where their lives are all fancy dining out meals and happy hangouts with friends, all looking their best, as that's what they want to present to the world. Someone else, looking at just that internet facade, might then feel inadequate, get depressed, and not feel they're living up to their full potential as others are somehow doing.

For those of you who couldn't make 221B Con this year and feel like you're missing out, let me tell you -- I'm actually hear, having a really good time, getting some great moments, learning things, etc., and I still look at social media and go, "Man, I am just not keeping up!" (Or hear that Rusty Mason actually pulled an all-nighter and go, "Aw, more that I missed!"). When you're only one human being with one life, there's a hard limit on what you can do. Life is single-thread.

But the trick is enjoying your single thread wherever it takes you. And "This is the most supportive convention I've ever been to!" was just spoken at this panel, which is something I wanted to get to. I ran into a local on the first night of con who goes to a lot of Atlanta conventions, including the big one, Dragon Con, and he was telling me that this was his favorite of all of them. There's an atmosphere here that's all about supporting creativity. No gatekeeping. No "this is the way you have to do it." And a lot of honesty about how a fan's life can go.

Especially on a Sunday morning when we're all very worn, the folks who have to get back to work on Monday are leaving already, and we all start to feel how much we're going to miss this when it's over.


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