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 Friday’s sound and fury had been replaced by the gentle hum of conversation between people who were either too relaxed or too exhausted to put on a front.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.
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.