The Fireworks That Happen

What I took away from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con wasn’t how achy I felt at the end of each day — perhaps it’s just me getting older, or perhaps I’m out of shape more than I knew, but boy, did I feel the effects of running around the convention more than I used to, my poor feet — or anything about the excitement of the news announced, or the stress of getting those announcements out as PR folk got very nervous about the whole thing. (That happened a bunch, actually.) Nope, it was about the people I was there with.

I have, for awhile, said that the best part of San Diego is seeing the people I only ever see at the show each year — my THR crew, various folk who work at publishers scattered across the country, across the world — but this year brought that home in a manner that was, for want of a less sentimental term, heartwarming. The highlights of the show for me weren’t panels or booths or anything contained in the convention center at all. (No, nor were they the off-site “activations,” either; those remain exhausting and make the convention seem claustrophobic at times. Sometimes, you just want to leave the convention. And they weren’t the parties either, although those remain a strange and wonderful thrill.)

What I’ll remember — and, to be honest, treasure — were the meals and conversations away from everything, utterly unrelated to work, with people I’ve known for years but never really had the chance to just… sit down and talk to, properly.

Last year’s San Diego Comic-Con was amazingly big for me, personally, for all manner of reasons. I flew into the show this year in a strange state of mind, filled with a knowledge that this year couldn’t compare for obvious reasons, and… as I write this, on the last day of the show and with the memories of the last few days in my head, I think I might have been wrong. This year’s show was, in some inexplicable sense, about being included in a community — or, perhaps, knowing that I have built a community around me and been accepted by it, completely. Words can’t describe what that actually feels like, properly.

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