Last week my wife and I went on vacation and part of our week off was attending Fandrew Con. Now having a convention named after you is exciting enough, but this was my chance to meet Susan, Kait and Lauralynn. That was the real excitement of this con.
I’d been getting to know these ladies for the past year through their blogs and IM, but surprisingly was still not ready to meet them. It wasn’t nerves. When I stepped out of the rental car, the realization hit that my friends were right there in front of me . . . for real. So rather than say “Hi” in a chat window, I got to give my friends a hug. These were glorious hugs and they came with smiles.
After the hellos, we took the fun into Susan’s place and because I was still adjusting to talking to faces rather than avatars, I missed this:
Next up was the unveiling of the Fandrew Con Cookies! Boy, do my Fandrews know me. They were made with M&Ms that had “Fandrew Con” inscribed on each one. Unfortunately the inscription didn’t survive baking in the oven, but even if they did, they wouldn’t have survived the acid in my stomach. Many cookies ended up there. Check out the coolness:
So, I’m at my convention with good friends and cookies. Can’t get any better, right?
Enter Susan’s daughter.
She’s seven and has so much energy, it could be turned into an alternative fuel source. I got a tour of her room, her gallery of artwork and before the end of my visit, she declared me her best friend. All that and she gave me some valuable advice: “Hugs warm the heart.” She then gave me one to prove it and she was right.
I also got to meet Susan’s husband and even though we didn’t get much time to talk, the fun for me was seeing how he and Susan interacted. They’re a great couple and being high school sweethearts, it’s awesome to see the greatness still going.
By day two of Fandrew Con, most of my shyness had worn off and I was more comfortable talking with everyone. Unfortunately, Lauralynn had to go home the night before, so not much talking. It was still enough time to see how awesome she was. Next time I’ll make sure she can’t leave for a few days.
We chatted for the whole day and many of the topics had nothing to do with writing. Things got intense when Star Wars came up, prompting Kait to stop what she was doing to make sure we all knew which three movies were superior. Now when I read an impassioned post or tweet, I’ll totally be able to picture it.
As I predicted, Kait and my wife had lots in common which gave me a chance to have some one on ones with Susan. Among other similarities we share, we tend to get more chatty one on one. This lead to a fantastic brainstorming session for her next book. We naturally think in character arc so it was fun tossing ideas back and forth. It was even more fun to see Susan’s reaction when she heard an idea she liked.
So, this was just a snapshot of the awesome of Fandrew Con. It’s something I want to do again and often. I guess you could say meeting them was like reading a book where the author paints the picture using all five senses. Virtually, I’m limited, but in real life I can hear my friends talk, see them smile and give them a hug or a hearty handshake. It’d be a little weird to start smelling or tasting them, but hey, still using more senses. Win. And sure, with tech like Skpe and a phone, I could experience these things, but for me, it doesn’t replace real life interaction.
It’s been a while since I’ve made a friend that I could physically hang out with and Fandrew Con reminded me how important that is. At this point I’m friends with enough people that just about anywhere I go in the US or abroad, I’ll know a local. I’d definitely like for us to meet.
Anyone else ever get the opportunity to meet a social media friend for real? How did it go? Did you get a cookie with your name on it?