This past weekend thousands of book nerds converged in one place: Jacob Javitz Center. It was a weekend like no other. It was Bookcon. This was my third year in attendance. My friend, Veronica, and I spent weeks planning and mapping out all the things we wanted to do. We looked at stage floor maps and vendor lists. Via Instagram DMS, we searched for an Airbnb and figured out what snacks to pack. Veronica and I were ready to take Bookcon by storm.
Our first day found us waking up "butt crack early," as Veronica put it, to attend a fiction writing workshop (Note the word: fiction). We hop on the subway with thoughts of early morning coffee dancing in our heads. Veronica had been super-efficient and even called ahead to make sure that the coffee place we wanted to stop at would be open before 8 AM. She's the best, really, she is. However, once we get to Javitz and are all scanned in, our brows furrowed, seeing that Veronica and I had been lied to. Coffee wouldn't be available until 8, which was when the writing workshop was slated to start. We decide to split up with Veronica placing my difficult coffee order (yes, I am that person sometimes) and I go to grab our seats (the previous year we almost had no place to sit by the time we got there).
After riding the escalator up, I dip into the first curtained off area I come across and grab seats. Veronica follows shortly after. Handouts are being passed out, and I glance at the title "Sci-fi and Fantasy Workshop." Being slightly bleary-eyed and not fully caffeinated, I pay no mind. The instructor begins. I notice there is a lot of talk about dystopian societies and magic. Veronica turns to me and points at the title of the workshop on our handout. This results in me taking a picture of said handout and sending it to a friend of mine with the caption, "guess who walked into the wrong workshop." I shrug at Veronica and smile weakly. Remember to always check for a sign before dipping into the first random area you see.
Despite my blunder, we both get more than we expected. We learned about world building and working with the things characters can and cannot do within the world we create. In addition to that, we met some awesome ladies with each one being at a different point in their writing journey. By the end of the workshop, we were passing around a sheet putting down email addressed and social media handles. I've already gotten an email from a new circle of friends.
The rest of Saturday and Sunday were a blur. Crowds, shopping, aching backs and feet…and, of course, books! However, the rest of the plans we had made kind of fell to the wayside. There was so much to do and so little time to do it in. It was so hard to pick and choose which activity to attend. The best experiences we had were the ones we didn't plan at all.
After Bookcon, there were grumbles here and there on social media. Some complained that they missed giveaways. Others about the amount of time spent waiting on lines. But then there were those who were so excited to have met a favorite author or scored the advanced reader copy they wanted. No one experience was the same.
My experience? As in the past years, I had a good time. I got to hang out with my "book twin" and get a lot of new books to read. One comment that I saw on Facebook made me rethink my time spent at Bookcon. One shouldn't grumble over what they didn't get. They should look at what they did get. And I took that to heart. Next year, I want to have a different experience. As much as it might pain me, I want to focus more on people. Meeting authors, attending panels and making friends while waiting on line (book friends make the best friends). While it's nice to be able to take a picture of a haul (I'm just too lazy to do that), I want to walk away more memories, like the one I will have of walking into the wrong workshop.
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