Con-Volution 2017 – Day 1

I was going to write about current events on Fridays, but since I’m basically on vacation at a convention, I’m going to take a break from the news.  Let’s talk about Con-Volution 2017!

Melissa and I arrived pretty early, which was lucky.  Apparently, we managed to skip a bunch of traffic.  We showed up at the hotel a little after noon, checked in, put our bags away, and wandered around the hotel, learning the convention’s geography.

The interesting thing about Con-Volution this year is that it’s in a new location.  This year it’s in San Ramon, at the same Marriott that I used to travel to for Dundracon.  Wandering the halls brought back a lot of memories.  It’s a really great venue for a small convention.

From what we can see this first day, Con-Volution 2017 is smaller than it has been in previous years.  Though the opening ceremony isn’t the greatest gauge for the size of a con, I noticed that there were about as many guests of honor as there were people in the audience.

Registration was okay.  I would have preferred that they started at 1PM instead of 2PM, since the 2PM start time only gave them an hour before opening ceremony.  But the line was short and moved fast enough for us.  Melissa and I were pre-registered, so we got our badges very quickly.

All of the programming is online.  I went through and picked out everything that interested me.  The selection seems thinner this year than previous years.  Again, this gives me the impression that Con-Volution is smaller this year than previous years.

An interesting change this year with the programming is that everything is workshops and round table discussions.  The entire focus of the con is to be more engaging.  Their mission is to teach and to inspire the community to do more with their creative talents.  I think it’s a noble goal, and honestly, it’s a welcome change from the standard panels.

After opening ceremony, Melissa and I went to a workshop lead by Michael.  The workshop was all about helping writers find their voice.  Michael gave us seeds for a story, then had us write in five minute bursts.  Each time we wrote, the scenario was changed slightly, and we had to use different viewpoint and tense.  The exercise forced us to really examine the voices we were using for our stories.  It’s very effective.

I want to take a moment to talk about Michael.  I’m proud of him.  When he runs a workshop, I can see the kind of teacher he could be once he gets his MFA.  He’s truly in his element when he’s in front of people teaching.  He does such a great job, and I’m glad I was able to participate.

After the writing workshop, Melissa and I went to a round table discussion on rebellions.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from it.  I hadn’t read the notes on it that closely.  It was an interesting discussion that started primarily with rebellion in science fiction, but quickly moved on to touch on historical revolutions, revolts, and some current events.  The discussion actually deviated into other, non-rebellion topics (such as the latest Wonder Woman movie), but it all seemed very organic, and I think everyone had a pretty good time.

After that, Melissa and I wandered off to get dinner.  It wasn’t awesome, but it wasn’t bad, either.

Back at the convention, we attended the meet the guests event.  I did my best, but I’ve never felt particularly comfortable walking up to strangers and talking at them.  I met a few of the guests, engaged them in conversation, and managed not to embarrass myself.  And that was fine.

When that event ended, Michael’s latest incarnation of his Bard for Life show took place in the same room.  Again, he did a great job.  I heard some material I hadn’t heard before as well as some I nearly have memorized at this point.  The crowd was very receptive.  After the show, two of the guests of honor tried to buy him a drink, but he wisely had David take the drink for him.  This weekend, David is Michael’s Designated Drinker.

And now I’m back in my room, scrambling to get my thoughts transposed out of my head.

I think Melissa and I are going to have a good time this weekend.  It doesn’t matter if the convention is small if everyone involved is having fun.  And, honestly, I’m meeting some interesting people.

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