Sunday started way too early for me, when I woke up at 6:30am unable to go back to sleep. I managed to keep myself going, though, as we had an early volunteer meeting. psubrat and I had agreed to walk around with the raffle tickets in the morning, trying to sell some more, but as she had to work with Julie at 11am and I had my photo op with JM, that didn’t last very long.
I’d originally seen that people were being lined up for their photo by ticket number, so I wasn’t worried about not getting there until just before 11am. We learned, however, that they’d already taken people inside, so ended up being a little further back than we probably should’ve been. No matter. That just meant we sat longer in the room watching James with everyone else as we waited for our turns. What a hardship.
James arrived about 15 minutes late, but in wonderfully good humor. It was obvious from the get-go that he was in a talkative mood, taking extra time to speak with each person, agreeing to certain poses like biting necks, and just being extra cuddly all around. There was even an adorable little girl who brought him a teddy bear that just made him melt. I have to admit, I was excited about seeing all this. I’d spoken to people who’d had their photos done on Saturday, and been told that it had gone even quicker than it had last year at DragonCon, so this was an absolute treat.
When it came my turn, I was introduced and got that lovely smile and handshake he gives people. As I step into his side (he was seated on a tall stool, making us nearly the same height for a change), I commented, “You have no idea how hard it is for me not to pet you.”
He looked at me with this quizzical smile, which prompted me to add, “My two-year-old son just got his first buzzcut, too, and I’ve learned it’s impossible for me to keep my hands off his head.”
James started laughing, shoulders bowing as he bent his head. “You do not want to know where my mind just went,” he said.
We were both giggling when he pulled me into one of his cuddle poses---left arm around my back with his right across my front so that his hand is splayed on my left hip. Then it was over, but as I was smiling and saying thank you, getting ready to walk away, James grabbed my hand to stop me, bowing his head at the same time.
“Go on, do it, do it,” he urged.
So, I did. And it wasn’t just a one-hand stroke. Nope, I went for two hand full massage, giggling the entire time, and then thanking him again when I was done.
We had a little bit of time until the Q&A’s, so I actually managed to sneak away to the coffee shop and get a bagel and water before getting back to the ballroom. The trio were their usual charming selves (I was so tired at this point, and coming off the adrenaline rush of my photo, so I don’t remember very much about specifics that were said), and then it was time for James.
I didn't keep track of the Q&A, but an excellent transcript was done by Alane and Laurie at BAPS and can be found here.
A good number of the volunteers were needed to work the autographs after James Q&A. James had to sign almost 700 items in just a few hours, while the rest of the guests were doing the last 300 (the first 400 went on Saturday). I spent the next few hours managing the lines between JL and IL, and speaking with a wide variety of people. Because we were needed for the con-goers, all the volunteers got their autographs from James at the very end. By that time, it was past seven, but Julie wanted to make sure we had a few extra moments with James to compensate for our work and having to wait. I was third in line, having to go behind two amazingly talented people who each had artwork to show/give him, so I was a little nervous about just having him sign my Spike figure.
I got my handshake and hello, and as he bent over to start signing, I said, "Thank you for letting me pet you." He looked up then, and after a second, recognized me from earlier that day. Laughing, he just shook his head and resumed to signing, saying, "I'm such a slut."
I laughed, too, and commented how petting him was really the only thing that met my criteria for the weekend. That earned me another look, this time quizzical, so I hastened to add, "My husband told me I could do absolutely anything I wanted to this weekend...as long as it's something I'm willing to repeat to my four-year-old daughter."
This tickled James and he laughed some more, saying, "Your husband is a smart, smart man." But then again, I knew that. ;)
And we were done. The volunteer party was a little bit after that, where everyone but JM was in attendance, and I finally got to talk to Eric Kufs, with much thanks to psubrat, as well as get a picture. :) Have I mentioned how petable the man is? I spent more time talking to people I'd met that weekend, though, before heading back to the villa (I didn't have tickets for the VIP dance). I flew back late the next day, and arrived back in California around 9pm on Monday.
Overall, huge mondo thank yous go to psubrat for everything she did this weekend. Without her, it just wouldn't have been the same. She was so giving of her time and such, that it's no wonder everyone loves her. ;) Also, thanks to Irishrose and Jeannette for being such wonderful ladies. I'm so glad I got the opportunity to meet you guys. :)
I could try and say something to everyone I met this weekend, but I would invariably miss someone and then feel bad about it, so instead, I'll just give a blanket thank you to everyone at MR this weekend that I talked to. There are corners of this fandom that can be quite scary, but so many of you ladies show me just what it means to be a Buffy fan, and for that I thank you.
Part of me lived in fear that attending cons would taint the fandom for me, and while it has certainly opened my eyes, if anything, it has invigorated me. I met so many wonderful people this weekend, people who have such great passion for what they do and are willing to do whatever it takes to do what they love. How is it possible to walk away from that kind of dedication and enthusiasm and not be affected by it? Time is a funny, funny thing. Before you know it, it's gone, and often you're left wondering what happened to it, why you didn't get done what you wanted to accomplish.
I left the Poconos absolutely dying to get home. There were so many reasons---to see Craig (he was rabid with attention when I got into the car; I think he missed me as much as I missed him), to return my focus to getting our lives organized, and most importantly, to get back to feeding my creative bones. While I was gone, Craig went and spoke with the local theater company, telling them I'm an actress (though I haven't been onstage since before moving to the UK, funny how having kids can put a crimp in that kind of thing), and getting me signed up. And I picked up my original work as soon as I got onto my laptop and got another five pages written in two days.
I'm a creative person; I've always been a creative person. I'm happiest when I'm doing something---performing, telling stories---that affects other people that way. I walked away from MR with more hope and determination in achieving my goals than I have in ages. Why? Because I saw people like Adam Busch, and Tom Lenk, and James Leary. People who love what they do and are willing to do what it takes to reach for their dreams. JM of course is in that lot, too, but since I've seen him before, that is kind of expected for me. I admire his dedication to his fans, how hard he works to make each and every single one feel special. His love for what he does comes through in everything he says.
But this was my first encounter with some of the other guests, and it was like a shot in the arm. In conjunction with how happy I am with our recent move, I feel like I can do anything. I just have to keep trying, to not give up, to not let the monsters win.
Really, isn't that what we all should be doing?