Jennifer Brozek | On Conventions and Car Crashes

On Conventions and Car Crashes

I will not bury the lede—I’m fine, the Husband is fine, the car is not. But that is at the end of the story. (Also, per the In-law Courtesies Act of 2008, I have already spoken to the Husband's parents...)

This past weekend was Norwescon. This is my home convention, and I dearly love it. I’ve been paneling and/or vending at this convention for well over a decade. I had some really good panels. I think my favorite ones were “Horror as Comfort Food” and “Horror of the 1980s.” Both were high energy and a lot of fun.  Also, I picked up a baby dragon friend for my copper dragon. I guess I need to find names for them now.

This is the last year I will be vending at Norwescon. I have decided to wind down the focused vending part of conventions because I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever vend again. Far from it. It just won’t be a focus. I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older, my spoons and spell slots have become more and more limited. I need to pick and choose my focus or pay for it for a week after the convention.

When you do a lot of conventions, they tend to blend together in one big memory of sound, light, and conversation. There were a couple of standout moments this Norwescon: Meeting Lezli Robyn and Shahid Mahmud from Arc Manor. Both are lovely, lovely people. Dinner with a friendly fan, Brian, and his wife, Melissa, Beth, and Amanda. He is at the beginning of his career and I’m really looking forward to seeing him grow into his stride as an author. Such a fun conversation.

But the most favorite moment came when a woman at my table couldn’t remember if she had one of the books in front of her or not. She called her son and asked, “Have we moved the Brozek books yet? If not they should be on the dresser.” Not only was I an adjective (one of my favorite milestones), this woman knew who I was, which books I wrote, specifically collected MY books, and is a completist. I have never felt more seen as an author before. It was just the loveliest feeling in the world and one I wish for all authors out there.

This Norwescon was specifically stressful because I also have a kickstarter going on right now. “Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980” is currently 65% funded and I’m so pleased. So there was that.

However, as this is my home convention, the Husband likes to drive home to take care of the kitties at night. Wednesday evening of the convention (set up day), I received this text: “First, I am ok. Second, I wrecked the car.” There was a lot more to that conversation, but it didn’t get any worse than that. However, that was enough. The Husband is shaken and bruised (contusions and not a hematoma) and the bruises are extensive. Yes, he has gone to the hospital. He sent me “proof of life” of his face before he sent me pictures of the car. One of them is below.

I am grateful I have friends I can vent at. I have learned I can be mad and furious at the same person at the same time. I am glad that we have good insurance. We’ve been paying into the car insurance for decades and it now comes in handy. I am grateful we are in a position to deal with this. But, good gravy, I do not like it when the Husband reminds me of how mortal he is.

So, that was the weekend. Fairly high stress with some great moments. Life feels like one big plot twist right now. Between con, the kickstarter, the crash, and the upcoming Eclipse trip...I feel like I’m either on the beginning of my protagonist storyline or I'm about to show the audience how the monster works.

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