It’s almost a week after ArmadilloCon 2023, and I’m still in awe of how wonderful the experience was.
I am also incredibly exhausted…still. 😂
This was my first time serving as a special guest at a conference, and it was amazing. I met some really great people who are just starting on their writing journey, and others (like Joe Lansdale!) who are well into their careers. I was on 11 (yes…11, more on that later) different programming items, plus served as an instructor for the Writer’s Workshop.
My good friend, Marshall Ryan Maresca, did a fabulous job on the programming. I had meal breaks, and time to decompress—even with such a packed schedule. I missed last year’s ArmadilloCon due to illness, so this year, I told him to “put me on as much as you want”.
Marshall did not disappoint.
I got to teach how to write audio dramas, discuss what dystopian tales of survival get wrong, and interview one of my favorite writers (and humans), Gabino Iglesias. More importantly, I learned so much from my fellow panelists. Things like:
- Gabino’s solution-oriented attitude is how he gets so much done, and does it well
- Eva L. Elasigue taught us signs for finding drinkable water in the wild
- Joe Lansdale and I grew up 3 decades apart in East Texas. I just didn’t realize his hometown was my family’s hometown until he mentioned Highway 80 on a panel we were both on about worldbuilding in horror. I also learned there are some people I’m intimidated by…Joe among them. But more than being intimidated, I didn’t want to talk during our panel because I just wanted to listen to him.
- Stina Leicht is STUNNING in person, and incredibly clever and witty!
But the most critical thing I learned that I’ll carry with me to other cons: I am not young anymore, and 11+ hours of programming is too much for my introverted ass. It was so much fun, but I literally slept for almost 2 days straight when I got back home…and I didn’t even have to travel for this con.
This wasn’t my first ArmadilloCon, and it won’t be my last. The folks running the con are so good at what they do, and so kind. There’s a ton of diversity, both in terms of background and in where folks are in their careers. I am so incredibly grateful for the experience, and for the wonderful new people I met, including tons of local writers I’d never met before. ArmadilloCon may have temporarily drained my energy, but it filled my well, and as the exhaustion fades, I’m getting a lot of work done and reading for pleasure again.
Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers. I’m in awe of what you do, and how you do it so well. I can’t wait to see you again next year!