EarperConUK: A Reflection – Reflections on an Experience
So, I made it home, resumed to "normal life" and now...here we are. With a reflection on it all.
It’s now been ten days since, for me, EarperCon ended and three days since I sat down and started writing. And while I’d never been accused of being curt, I guess I hadn’t really thought that things were going to get quite as long as they actually had. Perhaps I had a bit more to say than I thought I did.
So, let’s get to it, shall we?
I flew to London on a whim. I’d kept up on con happenings, but it wasn’t until a really…well…Earpy type of connection was made via Twitter that I’d I even gave any real thought to flying 4,000 miles just to attend a con.
Twitter’s a funny place, y’know? What am I saying? Of course you know. One minute you’re quietly lurking, catching up on the latest news or happenings or Instagram transfers and the next minute you find yourself reaching out or being reached out for. Now, I’m sure it happens in any of a thousand of other fandoms, and groups and whatnot, but this Wynonna Earp fandom…? I dunno…it just seems somehow different. I reached out to someone – it all had to do with “Fight for Wynonna” stickers – and suddenly, four months late, there I am: taking a day off work, spending a couple thousand dollars (when all’s said and done) and hopping on a plane to London. For what? To meet a (not so new anymore) friend? Socialize with strangers? Sit and listen to people talk? What the hell was I doing this for? It made no logical sense.
Oh! And I forgot to mention, I’m an introvert…and painfully shy, to boot. I know it might not have seemed that way, but y’all have no idea what was going on inside when I was striding up to people or conversing at the table or introducing myself to people I’ve only ever seen on TV. I say this to not invoke a congratulations or any such silliness, I just want you all to understand how insanely out of character this was for me.
But, there’s another side of me that doesn’t much care for solitary shy types, and does everything it possibly can to yank that introvert out the door and into the sunlight. And that’s the side of me that won out when it came to the London excursion. That side of me twisted the introverted’s arm behind her back and bullied her into just booking the fucking trip, already.
My go-to when presented with a situation that scares the shit out of me is to affect an air of…well…remember what I said about strangers in the park in the dark? Yeah…that. I have to make the world around me think that I am someone not to be trifled with. I’ve been told I have a pretty scary demeanor when I want to. This does not disappoint me.
When it came to London, truth be told, I was nervous about meeting new people; I was nervous about putting reality into fantasy world; I was nervous about having to be one of the faces of EDE….hell, I was nervous about all of it.
But, I gotta admit…Once I started meeting people (and getting a little bit of alcohol in me), I started to see that reality world wasn’t too very much different from fantasy world. The people that I was meeting in person were not any different than the people that I knew them to be online and in chats. And, there wasn’t a ton of bullshit about them. What you saw was pretty much what you got and that was kind of interesting in and of itself.
I’d like to start rattling off impressions that specific people had made, but I don’t really want to start doing that. Invariably, I will forget someone, or say something about somebody that’s off base, or overblown, or underwhelming or one of the various and I sundry things to which people easily and quickly take offense. So, I’m sorry to the people about whom I’d love to go on and on or to positively immortalize in prose; this is neither nor the place. Just know that you affected a little squeak of change in the way I look at things.
I think what I most came away from this whole experience—personal takeaways aside—is that this whole Earper fandom is pretty fuckin’ unique in a (for the most part) really good way. What I found was a really…human…fandom made up of this uniquely kind, hyper-sensitive, studiously introspective, warily gleeful, silly bunch of people. They are people united by their love of a tv show that brings them just as much love and respect as these fans give back.
As for “no-chill”? You’re dead wrong. Sure, I get the sentiment behind it, but this was – with one or two notable (though not here) exceptions – the most chill crowd I’d seen. To see Dom or Michael or Dani walk through the lobby on their way to wherever, you’d think that there’d be some squealing or fangirling or some such nonsense. Nope. Not a peep. Some whispering, surreptitious pointing, huge eyes and an internal “Squee” that’s clearly gotten as far as their faces but no further than that, but these people rarely left their seats and if they did, it was really for a quick “hi; bye”.
And, when that happened, these guests…these actors they were more courteous and genuinely friendly than even made any sense to me. I’ve met a few celebrities here and there in various positions of status throughout my years on this earth and, almost without exception they have been dismissive or “in a hurry” or just plain rude. But these people? These celebrities, they are without exception kind and that’s pretty incredible.
When people catch wind of what I’m doing with EDE or when they’d heard about my going to London and asked me to explain either one of them, I always did with a sort of sheepish, “Aw, Shucks, ma’am”. For a lot of reasons, actually, not the least of which is the fact that a person’s participation in a fandom is extremely telling about a person and I’m not always willing to share that freely. But also because it’s a freakin’ TV SHOW. You’re not supposed to love a TV show that much that you’d be willing to spend hundreds – and often thousands – of dollars to go and listen to some people speak.
But here we are.
And it’s pretty fuckin’ cool, if you want my two cents.