Last year’s first day was the complete unknown. This time around I was wondering how it would go. It was a Friday, school was still in and I wondered how many people would go. The reply was that 7,000 faithful PRCC fans came to visit. Among those fans, it turns out I had some readers who were eager to visit. To have people look for your booth as one of their top hits, well that’s a nice surprise and I was able to see many of the people I got to get to know during the last year. It was a lovely experience especially since some visited me all three days. Some people might mind, I was just excited that I was worth enough of their time for the visit. It was a lovely detail during the weekend because a friendly face can really put you on a roll.
I’m still asked by people if I get tired of saying the descriptive of my works. My only answer is that only my voice gets tired. Seeing the reaction of people when you tell them a premise is always an interesting experience on its own. It’s a wonderful compliment to hear people say, wow that’s different and interesting.
This year it was different; by having four available books people were surprised I’d done so much in one year even though some were bummed that Book 2 is not ready yet (just a little patience, my friends. It’s WELL on its way). If I’d tried to guess what any one person would have preferred I would have guessed wrong ALL the weekend and I love that. I love that my variety was a welcome experience for people and when I told them I’d done everything they were like, but when? I could only smile and say thanks clearly seeing that those lunch dates with a notebook paid off.
I also saw plenty less impulse buyers and much more book lovers. That was also a huge compliment because they didn’t just let me waffle on. They asked, they browsed, they read and they reacted. I really don’t want to sound like a kid, but seeing someone read my work and smile or react, well that does fill me with plenty of joy. In one case, one reader actually read most of Dark Strands right there. She browsed my other works but that’s what resonated. A book of poetry… at a Comic Con. Just try to imagine how much I’m smiling at that sentence.
I’m quite a different type of exhibitor. Sure, I do have a Comic Concept, but most of my material is book material and people were often surprised by my selection, and often pleasantly so. Another reaction that always gets a smile from me is when people pick up Only Human and go “Damn, it’s heavy.” The other reaction that gets a chuckle is when people ask how long it took. They hear 7 years and their eyes pop open.
Then there’s reactions that make me choke up. On more than one occasion people told me they were proud for my accomplishments. They nodded in approval and told me to keep going. That we need more of this. That we need to show that we’re capable of anything. That it’s good to see people who bring good news. To hear that from a stranger that owes me nothing, to have a parent buy something and later return to thank me for doing what I’m doing, well I don’t know how to react to that except with the best attempt at a “thanks” as I can muster. These people don’t know me, but they recognize on several occasions how much effort is put into each project.
One funny experience was a lovely woman who bought Dark Strands. She said it was quite short and I told her I understood, though I put in a lot of effort into the entire collection and pushed myself as much as I have in poetry to create something special and different. The next day she came by and told my wife I was a hell of a writer and she bought two Blanc Comics. Knowing someone thinks enough of my work to read an entire poetry collection and come by the next day for more of my work is just so wonderful. And it happened on more than one occasion.
One young boy actually came by every single day to my booth and he was blown away by the Blanc Comics until his Mom not only yielded, but bought one for herself. I gave them two free copies of my handmade daydreams as I did for the cosplayers who participated in the giveaway.
There were actually quite a few friends whom I hadn’t seen in years and I told them what I’d been up to the last couple of years. I got some oldschool high fives and some strong hugs for my effort.
When some artists came by my booth and saw the Blanc Comics, I was complimented for the variety in my panels and format and that it was a fantastic idea. And these were high quality artists with PLENTY of years of experience under their wing. And they were pumped for my work.
I also saw one reader who luckily took a copy of Only Human. I say luckily, because I’d never seen someone pick one of my books and smell the pages. It was such a lovely and different experience to see someone experience and enjoy the feel of my books. On more than one occasion people basically caressed the books they wanted to buy and to me that was also a huge compliment, it meant that the presentation did the stories and words justice.
On one occasion, someone asked for my autograph. No book, no nothing, just my autograph. On another occasion a young man asked me to sign his laptop. One reader who’d actually bought my book in a bookstore, brought it so I could sign it. And she bought a marker so I could sign the book on the outside… another first. I even saw a fan from last year with my book covered in contact paper to protect the book. Another person who brought me the book to sign had some areas where she’d put post-its to mark the book… and yes, I stole a glance and saw one of the rawest scenes I’ve ever written well into the book. To see that a scene I wrote merited a post-it… I’m still smiling.
So when someone asks me why I was so smiley in all the pictures, those are just some of the moments that filled me with joy, with energy, with more belief in my work and with a sense of gratitude that I’m still processing. It’s been an intense year though it’s had plenty of good bits to it and a lot of it has come courtesy of people who were kind enough to get to know me and my work a little more.
So here’s to plenty more human moments.