What I Brought Home from Gally

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I should not be writing a blog post right now. There are multiple reasons for this, but I’ll focus on the main one: Post-Con Brain Fog. Oh sure it sounds cute, but when you’re struggling to keep your eyes open for a full (okay, almost-full) work day, it’s a lot less cute.

On the other hand, I should be writing a blog post right now. I’ve been remiss of late, in part because I’ll be uprooting myself and leaving my entire (non-online) life behind,* and I’ve gotten a wee bit busy preparing for this. I need to get on the stick and get writing!

I suppose whether I should or shouldn’t write a blog post right now is moot. I am writing a blog post right now. Whoa, this has gotten entirely too meta. Moving on to some actual content…

The brain fog I mentioned was earned honestly. I arrived back in Wisconsin less than 24 hours ago after attending Gallifrey One, the largest, longest-running** fan-run Doctor Who convention in the world. This was my third year, and it was the best yet. I didn’t think it could top last year’s trip (I got married at Gally last year for crying out loud), but somehow Shaun Lyon and Co. managed to outdo themselves. Again.

I’m not going to turn this into a full-on Gally wrap-up post. If you want to hear what I thought about the con while I was still in the midst of it, I encourage you to check out tomorrow’s Verity! Extra!,*** in which we giddily talk about our favorite con moments. That said, as usual, my absolute favorite moments were only peripherally related to the con itself. Even the most amazing programming in the world° doesn’t compare to the giant belly-laughs elicited when a Denny’s waitress tells Chip (the Two-minute Time Lord himself) that he’s “not special.” Or the sheer delight of an afternoon cocktail party in my Verity! cohost Deb’s hotel room.°° Or the fun of getting to meet my Incomparable podcast commander in chief Jason in meatspace°°° for the first time. Or the overwhelming pride of seeing my spouse on stage interviewing the likes of Colin Baker and Terrance Dicks!

Or, most of all, the joy of reconnecting with many of my favorite people in the world. To me, Gally is a family reunion—a reunion of my “found family,” the ones I’ve picked and who have picked me. This is the one time all year I get to see most of these people. It’s odd that so many of my best friends are so distant from me physically, but that’s the world we live in now. If it wasn’t for Gally, I wouldn’t have met these folks, and my life would be much poorer for it.

Ok, as much as I’d like to keep on with the generic squee about my favorite con, I want to cover something else too. I always come home from Gally carrying more than I arrived with (and I’m not talking about ribbons or stuff from the dealers room). Sometimes it’s nothing more than excellent memories,ˆ but occasionally a person or event provides a little nugget of wisdom or a lesson that sticks with me.

The first panel I attended this year was “Glorious,” a special panel to celebrate the convention itself, as it’s now 25 years old! While covering the history of the con, Shaun Lyon related a story that I already knew: The first year of the convention was such a colossal financial failure they were forced to continue doing it year after year in order to pay off the debts incurred during year one.

I’d heard that story before (probably on an ep of Radio Free Skaro), but this time it meant something more to me. My life is changing fast right now. I’m trying lots of things that are new and scary.ˆˆ I worry about failing. And sucking. And basically falling flat on my face. Now when I start to feel those nerves, I can remember Gally. Gallifrey One failed at first. And that failure opened the door to a long-running convention I’ve spent probably far too many words exclaiming over.

I often hear failure is something that happens to everyone (especially writers), but for some reason it never clicked before. I needed a concrete example (that’s tremendously important to me) before I could take the lesson to heart. And now I think I have.

I’m no longer so scared of failing.ˆˆˆ It’ll probably happen, and it’ll probably happen sooner rather than later. That’s okay. Knowing that’s okay frees me to “go for it” in a way I might not have before this weekend. That freedom might lead to a bigger success down the road. Or another opportunity I’d’ve otherwise missed.

That’s better than a poster from the dealers room, right?

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*Can you tell I’m more-than-a-little-nervous about this?

**And BEST, in my fairly uneducated opinion. I’ve been to very few other Who cons, but I simply can’t imagine anything better than Gally, so I stand by my assessment.

***I’ll try to edit this to add the link once it exists. No promises.

°Gally does have amazing programming!

°°Made even more delightful by the fact that we added a couple new folks to what I like to think of as “our little corner of the Gally family.” If one of those new folks happens to be a writer (a Doctor Who writer, no less) whose work I admire greatly, I hope you’ll excuse me if I squee a little extra. Or a lot extra. It’s pretty great when talented people also turn out to be kind, friendly human beings.

°°°That’s a really gross term. Yet I keep using it.

ˆWhich are worth more than that plastic tat from the dealers room, as far as I’m concerned.

ˆˆNot the least of which is writing! (Including both this blog and some other professional projects that have cropped up as of late.)

ˆˆˆI’m certainly not looking forward to it. Please don’t take away that message! Courting failure would be foolish. I may be a fool, but not of that proportion!

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