Last year I attended a writers conference for science fiction and fantasy writers...and it was a little scary. Not because I worried about my outfit or wondered if I'd make friends like the first day of junior high, but because the attendees were scary themselves. It was a bonafide nerd fest that I wasn't quite prepared for.
Some people didn't seem to understand basic social skills--standing or sitting too close, interrupting a private conversation, stalking-like behavior. Not to mention the capes, swords, and number of times the word "dragon" was mentioned. They even held a class about basic social skills for writers, lol.
I get it, sometimes writers can be awkward introverts who don't get out much, and those who live and breathe stories not of this world are probably nerdier than your average writer. Of course I prided myself in being a completely normal, socially pleasant exception.
Last week, sorely in need of nourishment in the middle of a marathon writing day, I went to Taco Bell. I know, we'll save the health discussion for another time. :) It was a crowded lunchtime rush, and while waiting for my order, I took mental notes of the people around me as character studies: how would I convert her accent into writing, does this guy know he dresses like his mother picked out his outfit, is that teen boy really going to finish All That Food?
Then I glanced to a table filled with greasy dirty car mechanics, and a couple of them were staring at me--ME! And not because I had it going on, either. Their scrunched and disdained faces made that very clear. I looked down to see my capri sweats revealing legs I hadn't shaved in days and a family reunion t-shirt with a mysterious stain in front. I was clutching a handful of mild sauce packets like my life depended on it and swinging my receipt through the air to a frantic beat only I could hear.
And then it hit me...I'm a writing nerd. I acted as though this was the first daylight I'd seen in days, I people-watched without any sense of constraint, and my wardrobe--well, let's just say it was lucky I had clothes on at all.
Why am I worrying? Because next week I'm attending another writers conference where I'll be meeting A TON of writers I've only met online. I WAS excited, but now I'm insecure...will they think I'm socially awkward, look like the blob from outer space, wonder how I manage to function on a daily basis? Also, does it matter? I don't know.
Calling all nerds, how long did it to take you to guess what movie this is from?
Also, ever notice how many characters Tom Cruise plays who are named Jack?