Eroticon 2015: Pay It Forward

We finished, we packed up, we headed to the Radisson for please-don’t-make-me-leave-and-take-the-train drinks. Apparently it takes less than 48 hours to turn total strangers into whispering, tactile confidantes. Friday’s sound and fury had been replaced by the gentle hum of conversation between people who were either too relaxed or too exhausted to put on a front.

Only one real fear remained. I saw it spread slowly across the faces of the first-timers, and writ large on those who knew exactly what to expect. One fear.

The Drop.

I flew back to Warsaw a couple of days after Eroticon 2014. I thought I’d be fine. I was wrong. I took a taxi home from the airport and slouched listlessly into my apartment, where I barely made it to the sofa before flopping down and closing my eyes, ready to hibernate.

It’s sensory overload. All the people, all the ideas, all that fucking awesome sense of belonging – it’s so much more than I’ve been trained to expect from life – because how often do any of us find that sort of openness and warmth in our day-to-day existence?

The Drop is that transition from a weekend of pure Oxygen to the long straight road of normal, CO2 reality. Everyone who attended Eroticon will go through it over the next few days, and most will handle it in their own tried and trusted way.

Most is not all though. I got on the train pumped up to write a super-generic “hey newbies, why not go for long walks in the fresh air and make sure you do lots of writing” blog post…until I realised that would be patronising as fuck. Experience aside, what we should all be doing is getting out there and spreading the word. Don’t wallow – fucking preach about this.

Be shameless in your advocacy. Evangelical. Zealous.

Most of all, pay it forward.

Form a writing group. Put together an anthology. Start a publishing company.

Collaborate with writers you know, writers you’ve just met, and writers who are still lurking in the shadows – who maybe don’t yet even know that they are writers. Do blog hops and blog swaps. Read your work in public. Read other people’s. Spread the word(s).

Set aside cynicism or caution and tell all your blogger mates how awesome this weekend was – tell them again and again till they physically show you the ticket they just bought for next year’s Con.

Don’t stop having ideas for how to make this even better, but more importantly, don’t keep those ideas to yourself. Think you know how to add some extra awesome? Tell Ruby. Think you know how to turn a decent profit. Tell Ruby that too.

Almost by its very nature, momentum doesn’t last forever. There’s a window. We all sat there this afternoon and cheered Ruby to the rafters, but it’s only by channelling that energy and enthusiasm that we’ll pick her up on our shoulders and help to make next year even better. Passive support isn’t good enough – there is no try!

And you know what? If you didn’t come this year, do something about that! Tickets are not cheap-cheap, but compared to any other conference they’re not expensive either. £150. $250. It’s less than a pint a week. If you have to fly, book early, or use miles, or sell an organ…just take the plunge. Share a hotel room. Use AirBnB. Kip on people’s floors. If there’s one thing I’ve learned at Eroticon it’s that there’s so much more generosity and kindness out there than we’re programmed to ask for, and that far too much of it falls down the cracks as a result.

Grab onto that generosity!

Kiss the kindness!

Come if you can, because coming is fucking awesome.

Eroticon is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience – it’s an oh-my-god-I’ve-done-this-once-and-I-need-to-do-it-again-and-again experience. Those are the best. Let’s make sure even more people get to taste that in 2016.

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16 Responses to Eroticon 2015: Pay It Forward

  1. I’m so ridiculously jealous of everyone who went this year, I so wanted to meet everyone, to use the enthusiasm of others to bolster my own.
    I *will* go next year, even if I have to sell one of the kids to do it 🙂

  2. If it wasn’t on the other side of the world, and thus prohibitively expensive to get there (especially when studying and not working?). I’d be there in a shot. As I tell Molly, I keep buying my lotto tickets…

    In the meantime, I love reading the tweets and the write-ups from those who’ve attended. It’s vicarious wonderfulness 🙂

    xx Dee

  3. And that is the first time I have heard of it..consider yourself a newsbringer 🙂

  4. I watched and read the Twitter accounts from it with a serious case of envy. Come hell or high water I’ll be there next year!
    Kat x

  5. sandralindseywales says:

    Well said 😀 I’ve had that feeling after other awesome conferences but never put a name to it before. Today at work was kind of hard because while there are several colleagues to whom I can (and did!) enthuse about my weekend, there are others around whom I know I really need to keep my trap shut so as not to make them feel uncomfortable at work…

    Oh, and of course there’s the physical drop as well when all the positivity you absorbed over the weekend can’t quite keep you buzzing as high as you have been…

  6. I will definitely consider it for next year! Timing wasn’t great this time around for me.

  7. Oh my Glod, I almost cried at this.

  8. So I’ve been thinking about this, and while I agree that it’s hard to leave such a warm, inclusive group of people (as evidenced by my ‘Yes, I will come for a post-conference drink and I will struggle to make a decision to go home’), one of the nice things about being home has been being able to process all the awesomeness. Perhaps more true of the introverts amongst us, but I needed the space by the end of the weekend. Which isn’t to say that introverts shouldn’t go to the conference in 2016 – they should, because a) it’s fab and b) needing the time/space to process it is an excellent testimony to how much food for thought there was.

  9. c.e. hansen says:

    I’ve always wanted to attend. I’ve sat and thought about how jealous I am of those who can attend, afford to attend. I wished for someone, more seasoned than I, to take my hand and lead me through the maze of super sensory adjustment. But in the end, I saved and chose to go another route. I chose to spend my time, laughter, camaraderie and common love for “Erotica” in the warm embrace of those I hold most dear and trust more than I, at times, trust myself. I chose to be with those I admire, love, appreciate and look up to more than anyone.

    You may think I might regret my decision someday, but I don’t think I will. In fact, I think I came home after spending my vacation with two women who empower me to be myself – regretting sleeping – for fear I might miss a funny line, a heartwarming compliment and that feeling of truly belonging.

    Instead of pamphlets and adds and samples, I’m left with a hunger for more stories, tidbits of sexy as hell erotica, and a thirst for more than ‘drinks’, which, don’t get me wrong, I love a drink, with an emptiness I can’t for the life of me put into words. I’ll take my little, silly, fun ‘Florerotican’, and smile at every picture I look at over and over, each word shared of past stories told and future stories planned, and think…perfect. Just perfect. And I’m starting now to save my pennies to get that feeling back again! But dammit!!! This time I demand the sun to show up and greet us!!! Any takers? LOL

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