I’ve always considered myself a fairly creative person and by creative I don’t just mean imaginitive. I like to create things. From making up stories to building websites and everything in between. As a kid I wanted to be an inventor, someone who took things around them and combined them in new ways that no one had thought of before. Or at least that’s what I thought inventors did when I was in elementry school. At one point when I was looking at vocations in High School back in the 80s I considered getting into Computer Programming, what little I had did of it in school appealed to me, the problem solving, the logic, finding creative ways to make the code do things you wanted, but sadly my math skills kept me from applying.
Story telling has always been a creative outlet for me. Conjuring worlds and characters to share with other people is fulfilling in the same way building something with my hands and admiring the craftmanship and detail that went into it. More and more in life I find myself seeking out and connecting with other creative people in the world. Photographers, writers, musicians, artists, and artisans, all fascinate me with their ability to make tangible the ideas the imagine in their head.
One of the places I go to interact with other writers and creative types are conventions, or “cons”, for short. I started going to cons in the late 1990s when I was living in Toronto. Most I attended were local science fiction related conventions like Ad Astra or Toronto Trek (which became Polaris a few years back). A lot of attendees at conventions are fans of the genre and want the opportunity to meet their idols. Not surprisingly though a lot of the writers at these events are fans too. They get excited about meeting their idols and at one time were sitting on the other side of the table as fledgling unpublished writers. I remember George R.R. Martin telling a story at a convention about being a young fan barely able to afford to go to his first convention back when he was a college student. Oh, you might better know Martin as that guy who wrote a series of fantasy books that became Game of Thrones tv series on HBO. Everyone has to start out somewhere.
Last year I was fortunate enough to attend two of the biggest literary conventions that Science Fiction and Fantasy have to offer. I attended the WorldCon convention in Chicago last August and the World Fantasy Convetion in Toronto last November. At both conventions I attended panels where authors talked about various subjects from creative aspects of writing to business aspects of getting published. I attended author readings and even participated in a workshop where authors critiqued one of my stories. Both conventions were valuable experiences where I got to meet and interact with other creative people and feed my own creativity. The best part of the Chicago trip was that I brought my family and introduced them to the creative world that I love and there were kid friendly activities for them too. My kids built duct tape Captain America shields, foam and duct tape light sabers, and a host of other things that we barely had room for on the return trip.
I am a little sad that I won’t be able to attend the Ad Astra convention being held this weekend in Toronto due to scheduling conflicts. There are friends going that I don’t get to see very often and it would have been great weekend to catch up and share our creative passions. I hope to make it out to another convention later in the year in Toronto and start looking forward to 2014 WorldCon which is being hosted in London, England. I’d better start saving now if I hope to attend that one.
What creative outlets do you find to feed your muse?
Have you ever attended a convention?