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I Survived Los Angeles

That title speaks for itself, but I know you wouldn’t have clicked this blog post if you didn’t want more details. So, rather than rehash the weekend, I’ll review what I learned while traveling to the 2023 SFWA Nebula Conference.

Lessons from the Journey:

  1. Philadelphia International Airport’s TSA is so militaristic that it serves serious dystopian police-state vibes. Do not recommend.
  2. I have physical limits. Sitting on a plane for five hours made my back very unhappy.
  3. I have emotional limits. Pain is real, and it sucks. Thank goodness for my hex bag full of rocks and feathers, cos it saved me from melting down a couple of times.
  4. Phones are everything! Have you ever needed to get from LAX to Disneyland without a car? Let me just say that if I hadn’t had my smartphone, I would have missed the conference and spent the weekend at the airport sleeping under the escalator.
  5. I am 100% completely done with the west coast. I’ve tried and tried again, and it’s simply not for me. I have no future there. I’m not even going to think about it anymore. Along those lines, I refused to be jet-lagged and stayed on east coast time the whole weekend. That made all the difference since I avoided peak times for nearly everything. Get up at 2 AM, and there’s so much peace. Go to bed at 6 PM and miss the bar scene. Highly recommend.
  6. I’m really not like other people (but that’s to my advantage). You all love ketchup WAY too much. You’re also noisy AF.
  7. Get yourself the damn Lyft app. Thank me later.

Lesson from staying a block away from Disneyland:

  1. Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising!
  2. People travel to Disney on a pilgrimage to worship their favorite characters.
  3. People will pay a lot of money for a memorable experience– a LOT of money.
  4. An economy and ecosystem have sprung up around Disneyland. It’s not just a CVS. It’s a CVS/Disney gift shop. The 711 plays classical music. The whole place smells like flowers. I didn’t see one homeless person. The entire town of Anaheim is a fantasy land.
  5. Like Vegas, it’s designed to pump money out of guests. But it’s also NOT like Vegas in a strange, intangible way. There’s a kind of sameness in the guests. Middle-aged women ran around in Mickey Mouse ears, Disneyland T-shirts, and shorts. It felt like an open-air cosplay conference. They were virtue-signaling to the rest of the fandom. All the people dressed almost the same. That is not the case in Vegas, where individualism reigns.

Lessons from the conference:

  1. I don’t like socializing with strangers, even when they are nice. It feels forced and awkward.
  2. I can get a LOT of work done alone in a hotel room, like an insane amount. I refused to pay for daily WiFi. I figured the Internet would survive in my absence for one weekend. And going entirely offline allowed me to get deep with my current WIP. I solve major problems and came home ready to GO with Fury.
  3. My favorite sessions were on branding, maintaining momentum in a series, and the impact of AI on writers.
  4. I need to listen to myself and take breaks from peopling when necessary.
  5. Autism is real.
  6. Exercise helps.
  7. My imposter syndrome is cured.

I literally wrote these observations down in my notebook while I was there. So, I hope they were helpful.