ConBust my heart.
This weekend I’ll be returning to ConBust. It’s a small convention here in Massachusetts that has, over the years, become so valuable and important to me that I cannot imagine a convention season without it. It became vital to me not because of its record-setting attendance or wallet-busting sales, but because of its heart. Conventions with heart and soul are increasingly rare nowadays, and this one has managed to remain a gem.
What makes ConBust so special to me is its location and its attendees. ConBust is a college campus convention, and for years it all took place in one small campus building. The Artist Alley and Vendor Hall were cleared-out classrooms, as were the rooms where we would give panel talks. I believe that some buildings have personality and spirit, and there was something about the character of this building that gave ConBust its unique heart. It brought out the enthusiasm of the attendees, too. Panels at ConBust are some of the most fulfilling and exhilarating experiences I have giving panel talks all year, and it’s because the crowds are eager to participate and have a meaningful back-and-forth. I learn as much from those in attendance as I hope they learn from me.
I spoke in the past tense about that building with character because ConBust is expanding to two college campus buildings this year! The panels will remain in Seelye Hall, the aforementioned building with personality, and the Artist Alley/Vendor Hall will be in another building. I’ll be going back-and-forth between the two buildings all weekend, selling books and giving numerous panel talks. It promises to be a unique weekend, as ConBust always is.
Success and happiness in the creative arts shouldn’t always be measured in sales and finances. Massive conventions with five-figure attendances are great for your wallet, but they can be a drain on your soul. Sometimes you have to feed your heart instead of your wallet, and in the long run that is the more important thing to maintain.