Copyright 2013 David Belt
I have just spent 52 of the last 56 hours working (I did manage 4 hours sleep Friday night) at a small local convention in Richmond, Virginia called Ravencon. Located around the corner from the Edgar Allen Poe museum, it is no surprise that a large portion of this science fiction and fantasy convention is dedicated to writing with a variety of workshops and panels, covering the entire scope of the writing process, from concept to art to publishing to sales. For my part, this was a working convention. I had a table in the dealer’s room which I manned for 22 hours, spending the remaining time attending panels, workshops and social networking, while attempting to fill orders placed during the day.
The work is grueling. In order to keep up with customer demand, I take my work with me everywhere throughout the convention. I’ll be the one in the back of a panel or workshop, furiously mailing away, while answering questions about storm trooper armor or some other interest. This is how Elizabeth (Darkcargo) discovered me at this very convention, just last year. Throughout the entire convention, I escort Mr. Bunny, allowing him to get out and meet people in order to establish and maintain those social networking contacts so important to successful business practice, a skill which I learned years earlier, under the tutelage of Leona Wisoker and other helpful companions at Ravencons past.
For those of you who do not know, I am actually rather agoraphobic. I don’t do well in most social situations, so the societal complexities of a large scale public gathering, such as a convention, are really quite daunting to me. I fight my inner desire for flight and engage people as best I can, often occupying a small corner of the room with my chainmail bag on one arm and Mr. Bunny on the other.
I haven’t yet counted the weekend’s receipts, but already I know the weekend was a worthwhile success, despite the otherwise unconscionable hardships. Ravencon is much more than just another show to me. It is a home away from home where I feel welcomed and loved with no shortage of family, whom I care for dearly. The events of the convention, while wonderful in content, are merely background; the work, a labor of love. It is the people of Ravencon that make the experience life changing. To that end, I wish extend heartfelt thanks to Chairman Mike Pederson and the entire Ravencon staff. You truly are the very best.