Clexacon Confessions

Next weekend I will be in Vegas for Clexacon (world’s largest multi-fandom con for queer women and their allies). Fans will mix with screenwriters, producers, directors, actors, graphic novelists, game designers, fiction writers of all sorts, reviewers and critics, propmasters, and other folks who bring stories featuring queer women to the page and screen. Big fun, right?

And yet I have been wildly ambivalent about going. Here’s why:

  1. I 90% hate Las Vegas (The other 10% that’s fascinated by the spectacle and extreme-sport level people-watching can’t wait.)
  2. Big, loud, busy, crowded events drain my introvert soul-batteries in nothing flat. (So this must really be worth it.) My self-care strategies rival the best Zombie Apocalypse prep.
  3. Nothing triggers my chronic, low-grade Imposter Syndrome like the prospect of four days surrounded by All the Cool Kids.

So, about #3. I am nearly pop-culture illiterate. For instance, I figured Clexa must be a shipping name–but whose? From what show, movie, or comic? (My wife filled me in, because she watched The 100 while being a Writer’s Widow.) Could I really pass at a multi-fandom con using just my ninja conversational tactics for sportsball and NPR articles? (“Really? No, I missed that. Tell me about it.”) Maybe not. And I don’t have time for most TV/movies/web series/great-sounding books. On one hand, writing novels in the hours not consumed by a day job, family, etc does not leave much downtime or bandwidth. On the other, how do you say that to other creators (even my writer peeps, who get it) without sounding either, “My creative life is so busy and important that I must block out all the clutter/noise/whatever put-down you imagine I’m implying about the entertainment I’ve missed” or “I’m really picky about how I spend my wee downtime; and your thing didn’t make the cut” ? Truth is, I love stories of all sorts and wish I could enjoy more of them.

So I’ve tried to catch up on some reading (at least one book each by authors I know who are attending) and shows. I subscribed to Tello and watched Nikki and Nora, consumed seasons one of Wynona Earp and One Day at a Time on Netflix, and tried to figure out what platforms offer a bunch of other shows. But I’m deadline to revise and return Double Down (Maji Rios #3) to my editor; so that’s it. Clexacon will surely inspire me to catch up on more after meeting some industry insiders, AKA the Cool Kids.

Will I find myself fangirling and want to sink through the floor? Probably at some point. There is an inherent glamor to show biz; and my day job lives light years from that world. Once upon a time, producing a local-access TV show turned me on to screenwriting; and Maji Rios was born. No one will ever green light that screenplay; but out of it grew Strictly Need to Know (Maji Rios #1). Maybe I’ll tell that story during the Strong Women in LGBTQ Fiction panel. Or maybe over cocktails.

Am I going to Clexacon to pitch Maji to producers? Nope. Would I be up for adapting the stories with the right partners? Hell yes. But for sure I will attend panels and screenings, haunt the vendor room (even when I’m not signing), and eavesdrop everywhere (hey, we call that gathering dialogue), learning from the Cool Kids’ words and behaviors. And at the very least, I will come home with a long list of shows to watch.