This post is something of a companion piece to my post “Anxiety“, and it’s one I was supposed to write over a month ago.
At the end of November I went down to Leeds for a day, for two reasons. Firstly, to see old friends I had been out of touch with for years, and secondly, to visit the Thought Bubble comic convention. Each of these things served as an excuse to do the other, really.
Thought Bubble became the first convention I’d ever attended, then. I can’t say I was entirely certain what to expect, though I wasn’t surprised by how it went. I spent several hours walking around the halls, and attended one panel, the Writer’s Roundtable, which was interesting.
But that’s pretty much all I did: I walked around the three halls. For hours. I saw some interesting art, I saw creators I recognised, but I was too uncomfortable and awkward to actually interact with people.
I did manage to exchange a few awkward words with a few people – usually with the easy excuse of buying something from them. I managed to mutter some very awkward praise to one creator whose book I’d recently read (“It was… uh… really good.”)
I couldn’t bring myself to line up for signings. I bought a signed print, but only while the artist (Fiona Staples, of the excellent Saga) was away from her table.
I don’t know how people do it – go up to a stranger and praise their work, ask them to sign something, whatever. I just wander round awkwardly keeping to myself.
And now I’m wondering how bad I’m going to be at Loncon3 in August. Will I just not dare interact with the great authors I see there, get books signed, say I liked their work? It’s entirely possible, knowing me, that I’ll find myself still just walking past and looking…