Back to ConBust once more!
This weekend I’ll be making my return to ConBust! It is simultaneously the smallest show I do, and one of the most important. It’s not because of financial gains or the chance for networking. ConBust is, simply put, good for my soul.
I’ve spoken at length about ConBust in the past, and I’m going to do so again today.
ConBust is a little show that takes place in a single building on a college campus. The Dealers Room and Artist Alley are emptied-out classrooms. The panel rooms are also classrooms, but the bigger panel talks are given in lecture rooms. Attendance is usually limited to folks who live in the surrounding area or actually attend the school where it’s taking place. Compared to the corporate-backed monster conventions of today, you would expect this show to be a once-and-done thing. But it’s been going on for years, and I’ve been invited back again and again as a guest for close to a decade now. I believe ConBust has endured because it, too, has a soul.
I may not do heavy sales at this little show, but the atmosphere at ConBust is full of heart and passion. Folks who come to the panels are hungry to participate. They ask questions, engage the panelists, and it’s thrilling to talk with them. It’s a small enough show that people can hold long conversations with artists in the Artist Alley, forging connections that would otherwise be impossible at conventions with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. There is a palpable character to this show, fostered by the staff who runs it and the people who attend it, and every year I look forward to returning. My soul needs this show. It reminds me why I chose this crazy, challenging career, and why I continue to walk this path.
When you pursue a creative career it can be easy to forget that it’s important to keep your soul as happy as your finances. Money is important, of course, but chasing it at the cost of your heart is a swift path to a bitter burnout. The true value of your art isn’t measured in its financial success, but in the joy it brings you to share it.