On Sunday morning, I rose with just enough time to consolidate my belongings and meet the last of the gang downstairs. I shared the back of Becky's van with Teddi on the way to the airport, where we left Teddi, Randy and Steve, and then it was just Becky and me.
Can I just say how wonderfully helpful Becky has been through this whole thing. She had a million things to be thinking about and yet she was always ready to help any of us out with whatever need that we had. In my case, I couldn't fly out till the next day, so she offered me Sunday with her family and a place to sleep. I view this as a huge privilege, and not one to be taken for granted in the aftermath of the biggest event of her year (and probably in most of ours, too!).
It was just really cool to hang out and be a little bit in on the backstage debrief. And thank you Becky and Scott and Riley for all the work you guys poured into this.
And now, where to from here? It's hard to communicate the energy of a conference like Realm Makers, because I don't think there's ever been anything like it in the history of the universe. There is nothing else like finding your tribe, the people who like the weird stuff, the people who understand and accept your fandom without prompting.
These people are my friends. And those who aren't yet, well, we're working on it, I think, and maybe we'll make that connection next year or online.
No conference is perfect. Maybe the little bugaboos get annoying, or the faculty isn't quite what you personally hoped for, but overall? Seriously, this one takes the prize.
There are so many little moments that made it what it was for me. Lots of squeeing over friends, of course. Emma winning the Hobbit backpack (and ensuing excitement). The impromptu photo session in the scary railway tunnel on the way back from the costume banquet. The "girl time" as we all dressed up before the party. The many discussions over meals or appointments. Describing something about writing and watching the other person's eyes light up. Being the Captain for a night or two. My excitement at sharing the kind of books I like the best, and that others actually get it!
I can't describe it all. It's beyond me. Just...do yourself a favour and be there next time, okay>