In a little more than two weeks Howard and I are Michigan bound to attend Penguicon. I’m looking forward to the trip, both as a chance to visit with online friends and to get away from my regular round of things to do. It will be exhausting, conventions always are, but the company is going to be excellent.
Going to Penguicon with Howard will be an interesting closing-of-the-circle for me. We went together in 2004 when Howard was only a part-time cartoonist. At the time I was in the habit of describing Howard as a sieve I sent out into the world to net good friends for us. He would bring back the good ones and introduce them to me. The system felt very secure. I was safe and I still got to meet cool new people. The flaws of the system were made apparent at Penguicon. We arrived and Howard carefully introduced me to his local friends in the early hours of the convention, but everyone he knew was either on the convention committee or part of programming. Once the convention was in full swing they were all very busy. I ended up adrift and discovered that I had no idea how to meet people and make conversation without Howard standing beside me. The temptation to hide in my hotel room and cry was nearly over-powering. Somehow I found the courage to confess to Howard how lost I felt. He rescued me and a kind local woman guided me through the rest of that day. I got into the swing of things and had a great time. But I came home determined to acquire the skills I lacked.
I have changed a lot in the past six years. Already I know that Penguicon is going to be a very different experience. I will have my own circle of friends rather than gaining entrance to Howard’s circle by being his wife. The fact that most of the people in my circle are also part of Howard’s circle is pleasant, but not necessary. I’ve also gained a lot of expertise. This time around I’ll be on programming for some of the panels and I’ll be running a table to sell books that I helped create. It will be a good time.