LeakyCon. Until a few days ago that term was abstract to me. I spent most of my teenhood immersed in the Harry Potter fandom, but had moved to the periphery by the time the cons started emerging. College took over my time and, I admit it, television shows took over my fangirling. It wasn’t until I became a nerdfighter and a Maureen Johnson fan that I began to hear about LeakyCon, with its multifandom appeal and literary focus. Last summer, a ton of my favorite authors, bloggers, and webvideo creators attended. Meanwhile, I moved in with a fellow HP fangirl, and she took me to my first wizard rock concert.
“You know,” I said one day, when tweets from Chicago were flooding my timeline, “We should go to LeakyCon next year.”
Reader, we went.
It still surprised me that we followed through on an idea hatched before we found out the con would be happening across the country. I’ve made plenty of plans to travel with friends that haven’t panned out. This one did. In spite of inconvenient summer class scheduling, new jobs, and my ever-evolving physical challenges, we made it to Portland. And it was incredible.
I’m not sure I’m by nature a con person. I’m not fabulous at making fast-friends with groups of strangers, and because my mom ran most of the conferences I went to as a child, I always want to be involved behind the scenes. Sitting in convention center chairs as a participant is strange to me. It feels strangely passive. It lacks intimacy. Luckily, LeakyCon is about much more than the panels. It is about more than the Quidditch matches, or the author signings, or the exhibit hall. It’s about more than Buffy, Doctor Who, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and even Harry Potter. It’s about more, because that’s the point. It is more, just like every fan is more than her house, his age, their ship.
My roommate is not a nerdfighter (yet). I’m not hugely into wrock. Neither of us are massive StarKid fans. And we both had an incredible weekend. I got to thank people whose creative work has gotten me through this year, which has—for many reasons—been one of my more difficult ones. For some of that time, there were days when all I could bring myself to do was watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and Saturday night I got to speak to the cast and hug two of the women who made me laugh and cry when nothing else did. I danced with the show’s executive producer, took a picture with Hank Green, and danced to “Party in the U.S.A.” for the first time since I graduated college.
There are a lot of amazing things about this. There is the fact that nothing hurt when I jumped around the dance floor. That I got to speak to people who have inspired me creatively and emotionally. To people whose face I see on my computer screen every night, but who had never seen me. That my roommate and I got to have fun together indulging our fannishness with abandon. But what was most amazing to me was seeing the other people on the dance floor last night. The Esther Earl Charity Ball is the prom of LeakyCon, except far better than the prom most of the attendees probably had. Amongst the crowd there were moms with their ten-year-old boys. Girls dressed like witches. Guys cosplaying The Doctor. Teenagers who had probably never heard a Katy Perry song. They were all on the dance floor having fun, in their way. And that’s what LeakyCon is about: having fun, in your way. Whatever that way is, as long as it’s awesome.
Tonight, I am back in Boston, unpacked. The pain has shown itself. I have a fever. I definitely shouldn’t have gone into work this morning an hour after landing, but I regret none of it, because my weekend was more than amazing. It was magical.