A very LeakyCon Adventure

leakycon

So lately, I’ve been encouraging myself to do things out of my comfort zone. In essence, having adventures: pathetically unadventurous style.

In what will surprise approximately no one who knows me, I have never been to a con before. They all seem so big, loud and chaotic. Not the place for cautious, easily lost and totally clumsy me. But when I found out about LeakyCon, which seemed to have a very nice crowd, and learned that some of my favorite YA peoples were going to be there and that the lit track was designed by one of the funnest people on the internet, it seemed too good an adventure to pass up.

I confess, there was definitely a point in time where I I thought the whole thing was a big mistake and I should never have gone. Maybe even more than once. It was a trip marred by bad JuJu.

Picture heavy beneath the cut.

Blurry picture of Portland. Because one handed picture taking while in motion turns out not to be a recipe for brilliance. Who knew?

Blurry picture of Portland. Because one handed picture taking while in motion turns out not to be a recipe for brilliance. Who knew?

 

It is not at all unusual for there to be a dastardly villain in a good adventure. And it is not unusual for this villain to be triumphant over the heroine at the beginning of the story. Alas, my tale has such a beginning.

Having arrived in the lovely city of Portland, I had only just left the airport when I faced a most dastardly villain. A rogue ninja cement block and its accomplice, asphalt parking lot. The parking divider block thingy (TM) appeared from nowhere and pushed me from behind, like the coward and cheating villain it so clearly was.

Okay…from the front, maybe. But still it was evil and not to be underestimated!

 

Maureen Johnson moderating a panel. Turns out if you are planning on taking pictures, you should avoid sitting behind the girl wearing the Dobby ears. Just FYI.

Maureen Johnson moderating a panel. Turns out if you are planning on taking pictures, you should avoid sitting behind the girl wearing the Dobby ears. Just FYI.

Although I survived this encounter to be triumphant another day. But the one piece of the equation was definitely on the more or less side of things. I lost several chunks of hand skin, got scrapes that looked like dragon claws all up one arm and badly sprained my wrist. At least it was the non-dominant one. Who needs a left hand anyway? (Turns out, if you want an easy life? Everyone.)

 So a great deal of my trip involved taking way more aspirin than was the recommended dose and wandering around in a constant quest for Band-Aids both large enough to cover my gaping zombie plague looking hand wounds, but also sticky enough to stay on despite harsh usage and high humidity.

But what is an adventure without adversity? (What, a lot less painful? Silence, I say, inner voice, silence!)

 

Kate Schafer-Testerman, Stephanie Perkins and Maggie Stiefvater on the How to Internet Panel. Lessons learned at said panel: Do whats fun and be authentic! Also, I'm really talented at taking unflattering pictures (not posted) not only of myself, but of everyone.

Kate Schafer-Testerman, Stephanie Perkins and Maggie Stiefvater on the How to Internet Panel. Lessons learned at said panel: Do whats fun and be authentic! Also, I’m really talented at taking unflattering pictures (not posted) not only of myself, but of everyone.

But when I wasn’t huddling in a ball, popping aspirin and trying to ice my wrist with the aid of a very unhelpfully shaped ice-bucket, LeakyCon was actually a lot of fun.

Portland itself was filled with super nice people. Like everyone I met was super nice. 100% of the people. This has never happened to me. It also is filled with the worlds bravest bikers (not of the motorcycle variety) and pedestrians I’ve ever seen. And NO ONE EVEN HONKED AT THEM!

As for LeakyCon itself, I was interested to note it was like 95% female and young. It was pretty cool. Also, they were all equally nice and funny and passionate. It had a really great atmosphere, I was really impressed with the people there.

 

Margaret Dunlap, Hank Green and Bernie Su at the LIzzie Bennet Diaries Writers Panel. Also my last picture of the con. Turns out one handed photography plus volunteering a lot does not make for tons of pictures. Sorry!

Margaret Dunlap, Hank Green and Bernie Su at the LIzzie Bennet Diaries Writers Panel. Also my last picture of the con. Turns out one handed photography plus volunteering a lot does not make for tons of pictures. Sorry!

Although, I didn’t go to as many panels or do as much as I was planning on thanks to the oww factor, what I saw was great. Except for one panel from the writers of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I only went to Lit Track events, where I leaned that YA writers (and agent and editor) are apparently all amazing, quick witted, funny, eloquent, and nice. Seriously. They just kind of proved beyond doubt that they are who I want to be when I grow up. Whenever I get around to that part.

Among other things I learned:

-Murdering internet trolls is excellent for research purposes, which we have been not not encouraged to try

-You’ll never know when playing the bagpipes or accordion will come in handy

-When in doubt, use goats

-Some day, tales of being a horse mascot or having your first agent die will make an entire big room laugh

-Writers are the best liars

-When a hand is not available, you would be surprised how well your teeth or an elbow will do.

 

Bonus Portland picture. Another one-handed driving picture, this time of the food carts they had everywhere.

Bonus Portland picture. Another one-handed driving picture, this time of the food carts they had everywhere.

Because I was a volunteer for several events, I got to talk a little bit with the panelists and they were all super nice and friendly on top of just being awesome, so that was super cool. Not quite as cool as being a volunteer for the author house cup, where I got to help do things like blindfold them before they went into a money blower, though. Really, volunteering at the Author House Cup (A Harry Potter house style competition, only with games as metaphors for giving birth to a book,) was the highlight of my adventure. It was crazy, but only in the best way. It’s going to be one of those things I will look back on and remember for years and years.

Some insider Author House Cup-ness:

-Everyone who participated was a super good sport. I was seriously impressed. I’m not sure I would have handled it as well.

-Maureen is an evil genius. Stressed and sleep deprived while we set up, but genius and awesome nonetheless.

-The tent holding the ball pit broke about half-an-hour before we started. We had to manually hold it up so it didn’t collapse on any poor author soul.

-Amber Benson is insanely fast at weird tasks, like crawling through little tunnel things.

-The ideas thrown at the Authors were originally supposed to be rubber duckies, not reused balls. But the ducks went missing! No one could figure out what happened to them. It was a mystery!!!!

The Chinese Garden in Portland. Because my wrist was feeling sort of better by the last day. And because it's pretty!

The Chinese Garden in Portland. Because my wrist was feeling sort of better by the last day. And because it’s pretty!

So in the end, the adventure, adversity and all was totally worth it. I had a great time! So thanks LeakyCon!

If I were feeling clever I would make this picture of a bridge some sort of metaphor for the journey of the adventure. Instead I say: Shiny!

If I were feeling clever I would make this picture of a bridge some sort of metaphor for the journey of the adventure. Instead I say: Shiny!

 

(Although I’m super happy to be home. I guess I’m just an incorrigible homebody.)

Picture of flowers in a tea kettle. Just because I felt like it.

Picture of flowers in a tea kettle. Just because I felt like it.

Stay tuned for a special bonus:

Wait for it….

….

DEMON SQUIRRELS!

DEMON SQUIRRELS!

Say goodbye to my little friend!

Bye Bye!

Bye Bye!

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