Flying solo into the storm, and the calm.
This past weekend I exhibited at Anime Boston while Garth exhibited at AwesomeCon. These are two very big conventions that he and I have traditionally done as a team, but since they were scheduled on the same weekend and we got into both shows this year, we decided to split up and “tag team” the double convention days. I’ve represented STAR POWER at smaller conventions before, even doing the delightfully intimate ConBust only a weekend prior this year, but this was the first time in a long time I exhibited alone at a large convention. It revealed a few things about myself in this, the later years of my webcomics career.
Anime Boston was an amazing show with amazing people and incredible staffers, but the twelve-hour days of the Artist Alley were a throwback to the marathon hours of earlier convention years. It was a schedule I haven’t had to deal with lately, and this weekend I had to test my endurance. Alone.
I don’t endure twelve-hour convention days as well as I used to, especially not without steady company. I did better when it was busy, because I had something to focus my attention on. When people were coming to the table I had to be attentive to their questions and their levels of interest, as well as try to sell them on a comic book they may have never heard of before. But you’re not going to be steadily busy for twelve straight hours, and there were some times when activity slowed down or even came to a standstill. It was at those times that I learned the limits of my endurance. There were stretches of time that I found myself becoming weirdly introspective; dwelling on the nature of parenthood and relationships, on my life decisions both personally and professionally, and numerous other deep matters I tend to dwell on when left alone with my thoughts.
And then there was the matter of food. Normally Garth and I take turns getting food at conventions, or one of us goes out and brings back enough for the both of us. When exhibiting solo you have two choices regarding food: you either bring it from home, or you throw a cover over your table and hope no one steals your stuff while you’re looking for something to eat. Normally, when exhibiting solo, I eat a meager lunch and make up for it with a big, healthy-as-possible dinner. The twelve-hour days of Anime Boston made getting that big and healthy dinner impossible, and my backup plan was foolish. I should have packed more than energy and breakfast bars for my twelve hour days, and were it not for a generous friend who went out to get me some food I wouldn’t have eaten properly this weekend. It’s amazing how quickly I regressed into poor eating habits.
Anime Boston was amazing. I have a lot of fun there and I hope to return next year. But I don’t know if I can do those marathon hours alone.