When I first moved to Atlanta, my family and I went to the DragonCon parade. I didn’t necessarily consider myself a geek, and I didn’t really know much about what goes on at these conventions. The name of it sounded like something I had no business going to. I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of Dragons. (This was years before HBO and all of my friends changed that.) But, it was a parade. That wasn’t much of a time commitment, and hell, it was a free thing to do on a Saturday with two kids. (The boy was 2, and the girl was 6.)
What I saw blew me away. This was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen. The amazing work that people put into the costumes and the actors stepping into their roles felt like I was on the set of a production company shooting every movie and tv show known to man. Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Fifth Element, Batman, and on and on. Since we only showed up for the parade, we didn’t get to really experience the Con. Just get a sample of the craziness. We decided that the next year we were going to buy passes, and we were going to attend.
The ex and I showed up the next year dressed and ready to go. Both of us had gone through the schedule and lists of famous people, and we had a plan. If memory serves me correctly, that is the year we went as Huntress S. Thompson (me) and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo (him). We watched a production of Rocky Horror Picture Show. There was real live wrestling. And we met Adam West, Nathon Fillion, and Alan Tudyk.
My favorite part — the people watching, and interacting with people in the most random of scenarios. Some people will cast you in a role in their own mini-plays, never breaking character. So, when I, dressed as Huntress S. Thompson, run into another person dressed as Hunter S. Thompson – we launch into a whole bit that cracks up those standing around us. Multiply this by 100 and divide it over a whole weekend, and you end up with sore ribs and no voice by Sunday. A wonderful problem to have.
I also learned so much about geek culture. All the various genres, the new video games, whatever the heck anime was, and that there are varying levels of geekhood. Most importantly, I learned that I was a little mini-geek. It was news to me. Since then, I have nurtured that little geek inside of me and embraced her. Fly proud your geek flag!
It was this trip that I would remember and pull from when I began writing Iron Thirst. There are scenes in the book that I witnessed that year. Hell, there are many more scenes that no longer live in the book (cut for brevity and story flow) that I witnessed that year. Word for word, twisted slightly to help the story, or sprinkled in as a little spice to make the reader laugh.
Vampires were huge when I had the idea for the book. Twilight had just blown up. I was reading True Blood and Laurell K. Hamilton. At the time, it was logical that I would put the two things together–vampires and DragonCon.
That little adventure to go see a parade set a whole series of things into motion. Hmmm, one of those whisperings of the universe. Here you go, you’ll enjoy this path. And I have. That trip opened my mind up to so many possibilities. It helped me see myself in a different light, and let me know how much I enjoy new experiences. It rekindled my love for writing, something that I hadn’t done since maybe high school. And, it gave me an excuse to drink a shit ton, stay up ridiculously late, and act like a complete idiot. DragonCon is like Geek Vegas, after all.
If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. If you have, would love to hear more in the comments. 🙂