Dragon Con Day One: The Key to All Things Bright and Beautiful

Dragon Con is a mass of contradictions. My first impression is gridlocked traffic surrounding the block of hotels and businesses. The people in the cars are anxious and sometimes rude, the crowds streaming by on the street are vibrating with delight. They are joyfully displaying their dream selves in feathers and sequins and leather and fur and it makes me so happy just watching them I don’t care about the blaring horns and squealing tires.

We’re sharing a hotel room and parking down the block because while Dragon Con is difficult to do on a budget you shave pennies where you can. The best way to save money is to spread the cost around among your group of friends but that’s not a bad thing. There’s a unique camaraderie that arises when you go through any kind of intense experience with other people. They become part of your family – your tribe – and you’ll always have those inside jokes and sly smiles to keep you connected.

Obtaining my press credentials is easy but waiting at the Sheraton with my sister to pick up her pass is a special kind of hell. People are in good spirits and the line moves swiftly and everyone is doing the best they can. The ballroom, however, is more like a boiler room; burning and stuffy and difficult to breathe. I am seriously worried one poor person is going to pass out.

Atlanta in August is a challenge to your endurance but there’s a sense of victory in conquering it to emerge from the doors of the Sheraton with your hard won spoils. It’s not until that glittery rectangular key to all things bright and beautiful is clipped securely to its lanyard and placed around your neck that you truly feel like you’ve arrived.

After spotting Victor Garber in the hotel lobby, we spend the rest of the evening people watching. Cosplay is one of the best parts of Dragon Con. The creativity on display is breath-taking with mash-ups and monsters around every turn. This is the part of going to cons I love the most, the endless ingenuity of the human heart and mind and the drive to build, to make and re-make. These past few years have left me with a constant feeling of unease, a smothering fear of decay and destruction, and yet how can I lose faith when people are still willing to make wings?

Dragon Con day one is over and two is just beginning and I’m ready to dream and in turn be inspired to make real. Perhaps that is the con’s true strength. Experiencing it in the present is awesome but all the work people put into it proves that it lingers well beyond that.

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