Tag Archives: nerdcon stories

5 Amazing Moments from Nerdcon: Stories 2015

After 6 Vidcons, I can count on Hank Green and his team to run a great conference that caters to both fans and creators. Their events manage to be equal parts variety show, public forum, master class, and party, which always leads to a good time. While Vidcon centers around the more specific world of online video, Nerdcon: Stories tackles storytelling, an artform as old as…well, people. I was curious to see how this event, the first of its kind, would play out, so I bought a pass and headed to Minneapolis.

What I experienced at NC:S was a celebration of how stories are created and how they connect us all. “We are all made of stories,” was the general refrain of the weekend, and both attendees and presenters brought stories to share. I left on Sunday feeling emotionally energized and inspired to create, albeit physically exhausted from three days of walking around the giant Minneapolis Convention Center. Here are some of my favorite moments from this year’s conference.

Paul Sabourin’s Opening “Why Stories Matter” Keynote

Throughout the conference, several special guests were invited to give their take on why stories matter. Paul Sabourin, one half of Paul and Storm, kicked off the first morning session on Friday in his hilarious and high-energy fashion, running through a (very) brief history of storytelling. Sure, it mainly focused on storytelling in western civilization (as most history classes in America do), but it gave us all a good idea of why stories have been so prominent throughout history. Ultimately, we tell stories to feel less alone in the world, to relate to each other. Whether their true or not, stories have the power to connect us. 

story circle

Leslie running the story circle like a champ.

Leslie’s Story Circle

Have you met my friend Leslie? Aside from being a fabulous human and great friend, Leslie created and curates “One Time Stories“, a storytelling web series in the vein of The Moth and StoryCorps. It’s truly amazing and I suggest you check it out and submit if you’re so inclined. As a featured guest (#proudmama), Leslie hosted a storytelling circle on Friday night which drew a huge crowd. People shared heartfelt and hilarious stories of firsts: first kisses, first times crying in public, first poop explosions (go with it). There’s something so simple and great about just sitting in a huge circle, kindergarten style, and listening to people sharing their truth.

“Honing Your Craft” Panel

As a writer, I’m always looking for ways to embetter my word-doing, so I jumped at the chance to listen to a panel of great writers talk about their process. The panel featured several novelists who write across several genres – including Lev Grossman, Stephanie Perkins, and Nalo Hopkinson – whose processes are as diverse as their writing styles. They were each brutally honest about their struggles to get words on the page. Nalo spoke in particular about working with ADHD, which was incredibly important to me. Once again, I had a moment of feeling less alone.

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From left: Paul Sabourin, Paul DeGeorge, Cecil Baldwin, Sarah Mackey, and Leslie Datsis on the “Communities and Fandom” Panel

Dylan Marron’s “Why Stories Matter” Keynote

Speaking of representation, Dylan Marron’s take on why stories matter was one of the most powerful moments of NC:S. Marron, known for his “Every Single Word…” video series and for playing Carlos on Welcome to Night Vale, touched on how storytelling helps us build empathy by showing us how we fit into the world. When we tell universal stories with only white faces, we essentially deny the existence of people of color. The fact that hundreds of (mostly young) people got to hear this in the convention center’s main auditorium gives me hope for the future. You can check out a video of the speech here.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Sometimes, you have to fly to the midwest and attend a major conference to see a show that’s performed twice a week in your own city. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is an ever-changing show by the New York Neo-Futurists, in which a group of actors attempts to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. They introduce new plays each week, and the order of plays is determined by the audience, so you never know what you’re going to see. I was incredibly excited to see TMLMtBGB, and the Neos did not disappoint. Each play managed to be poignant, true, and funny within the limited time. Above all, the Neos are genuine, and I love that. Kevin R. Free is a delight. I want to be best friends with Desiree Burch and Kate Jones. And Jeffrey Cranor brought me close to tears more than once over the weekend. I’m now determined to get to a Neos show in New York before the year is out.

It’s safe to say I had an amazing time this weekend at NerdCon: Stories. I’ll definitely be back next year, hopefully with some stories of my own. In between all this awesome, I learned that Minneapolis is a wonderful city that we should all move to (6 months out of the year). Stay tuned for more on my Minneapolis adventures next week!

Sunday Style | Nerdcon: Stories

OOTD

Dress: Modcloth | Jacket: Topshop (similar) | Boots: Steve Madden | Hat: Target

Nerdcon: Stories marks my sixth convention since 2011 and I finally feel like I’m doing something right with my con style. I always want to look ~cool~ and ~hip~ at these gatherings, but comfort ultimately trumps everything. If I can’t walk around a convention center for 10+ hours in a certain outfit, it’s not worth it. The look I sported on day two of Nerdcon: Stories was pretty much perfect for attending all the awesome panels and exploring Minneapolis later in the day.

OOTD 2

This dress is super comfy and stretchy, and I never had to worry about it being too short. Since it was a little cool outside (and in the convention center), I threw on some tights and my trusty Topshop denim jacket for a little extra coverage. My Steve Madden boots aren’t necessarily the most supportive shoes I own, but they helped me power through three days of long skyway walks. Of course, being in Minneapolis, we had to stop at the flagship Target for a bit of cheeky shopping. This floppy hat was probably my best purchase of the trip.

ladies

From left: me, Amanda, Rebecca, Leslie, and Allyson

I had a great time hanging out with all my favorite people this weekend, telling stories and hearing from some amazing creators. I’m now back in New York, feeling super inspired (albeit super tired). Stay tuned for more thoughts on Nerdcon: Stories coming soon! Of course, if you want to make sure you never miss a post, follow me on Bloglovin’.

Four Practical Tips for Calming Travel Jitters

I’m heading to Minneapolis on Thursday for Nerdcon: Stories, and I couldn’t be more excited/nervous. I’ve traveled a ton over the years (thanks, parents), but have only been on a handful of flights by myself. While some people freak out about the actual flight, I worry more about just getting myself on the plane without a responsible adult nudging me along. I worry I’ll oversleep and get to the airport too late, I worry about over-packing my carry-on, I worry about missing the boarding announcement once I get past security. Just writing this all down is making me anxious. *gulps*

Despite this laundry list of anxieties, I haven’t missed a flight yet. I’ve gathered the following tips over the years to help ease my travel jitters. Try some of these out for smooth sailing on your next trip.

Start packing two days in advance

I like to have all my laundry done two days before I fly (if possible) so I can start putting my outfits together for my trip. I try not to push myself to have everything packed that night (I will need my toothbrush again), but I like to at least put a few things in my bag. This way, I’m not in a mad rush to get everything together the night before and can actually get a good night’s sleep before my flight.

Lay out your flying outfit the night before

I’m sure you’ve heard this tip before, but it’s definitely key for me. Who wants to pick out an outfit in the dark at 5am? I sure as hell don’t. That’s how you end up flying in your pajamas (although, if that’s your style, no judgement). This is a super easy way to make your morning go a little faster, giving you a little more time to catch your breath before heading to the airport.

Plan airport transportation ahead of time

Chances are you don’t live within walking distance of an airport, so you’re going to have to figure out a way to get yourself to your gate on time. If you have a family member or an incredibly gracious friend who can give you a ride, take advantage of them. Public transportation is always a cheap and (generally) reliable option for getting there, but make sure to look up how long it takes to get to the airport and leave with more than enough time. Since I am incredibly lazy and don’t always trust the MTA, I booked a car to the airport in advance via Gett. Which is a thing you can do! I learn something new everyday.

Pack light

This is something I’ve struggled with for a while. I like to have ~options~ when I travel, but I also LOVE saving $25 by not checking a bag. As I mentioned earlier, I like to plan my outfits for my trip in advance and make sure I’m bringing items I can wear a few times. For a four day trip, I’ll usually bring two pairs of pants, a shirt for every day, and dresses/exercise clothes/swimsuits as needed. Hey Nadine, one of my favorite travel vloggers, made a kickass video on packing for a carry-on if you want a more specific approach.
I’m sure none of these tips are particularly new to you, but they’ve helped me rest easy before many an early morning flight. How do you deal with travel anxiety? Share your top tips in comments!

Image via Hernán Piñera