Golly, that con was amazing! And I’m exhausted. I think I’ll take a nap.
It’s confession time. That nap (and the many that followed it) seemed necessary, but I admit that such self-indulgence has short-circuited many an intended must-do.
Whether I’ve driven back from an event an hour away or have come off a weeklong extravaganza followed by hours in airports and the air, I have a tendency to toss everything in a pile inside the back door and sort it out only very slowly in the ensuing day. Or week.
By now, you’ve been back from Comic-Con for quite some time, so you may have taken care of much of what I’m about to outline. Nevertheless, I realized recently that I hadn’t seen one of my favorite pairs of shoes since I got back from a recent show that had followed a show a couple of weeks prior. Might I have left them in one of my hotel rooms in whichever city it was? Did I put them away in Some Crazy Place? I had no idea—but I had too many other things to do to look for them at that point.
And—hey—where were those notes I took? What was I going to send to that friend I just made?
The adrenaline has drained away. Leaving what?
So now it really is time to sort out the piles in the kitchen or wherever you’ve dumped your bags upon return. (If you shipped items separately, this may be a two-step process. You may even choose to wait to do the final sorting until that box or boxes arrives. But that may be the top of the slippery slope to procrastination down which I have so often slid.)
Check the pockets. All the pockets. Remember that little buttoned flap you never unbuttoned? Unbutton it. Is there anything in that tiny pocket? Only then can you put the clothing in the wash. Or send it to the drycleaner. Or however you treat whatever needs cleaning. That goes double, if you’ve been cosplaying. Because it was warm where you were, and cleaning it is better than not cleaning it. (I didn’t have to say that, did I? Sorry. I meant that for all the other folks reading this.) Oh—and don’t forget to remove whatever pins you may have used to ornament your duds during the event.
Put them all in a folder or envelope or wire basket or other appropriate container. If this is the best time for it, sort them by credit card or tax-deductible file or however else you need to sort them. When your credit card statement or canceled check or whatever arrives, double-check for accuracy. Think you won’t ever need them? Date the file, identify the occasion, and set it aside. If you never need them, throw them out after next year’s con.
Set aside a day for this. If it takes less time, ok, but make allowances. Do you have a plan in place where you organize photos? How do you take photos? Phone? How about your iPad? Do you have an actual digital camera? Movies on any of the above? Digital audio recordings? Ok, now identify what you have. And back it up. (It’s a good idea to start a show with a fresh memory card for your camera. I actually experienced the nightmare of having a photo card go bad while I was trying to back it up at a convention. Not even a professional data recovery firm was able to access months’ worth of unique images.) If you have some sort of inventory process, now’s the time to identify what you have and where it is. (I find Excel works nicely for this. What do you use?) And do not depend on The Cloud as your sole backup. Clouds are ephemeral.
OK, now pull out your memos. Classify what’s there and then begin to do whatever it was you intended to do about each note. Did you mean to post an essay on your blog? Send a convention exclusive to a friend? Put that convention exclusive into your Save for the Holidays box to be presented to someone at the end of the year? If shipping dates were announced for projects that looked great, did you note them on your calendar?
The Stuff You Bought
Was any of it on your want list? Did you remember to remove it from your want list? Prioritize the comics on your reading list and then put them in a spot where you’ll actually read them. [I confess: At a recent convention, I bought Jennifer and Matthew Holm’s Squish #5, Brent Anderson’s Winged Victory Sketchbook, the Astro City Shining Stars hardcover, Dell Four Color #240 (Andy Panda), Dennis the Menace #54, Dodo and the Frog #91, Flippity and Flop #42, Little Iodine #14, Looney Tunes #129, New Funnies #132, #136, #151, #153, #163, Tom and Jerry #95, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #136, and coverless Large Feature #24 and #26—and I have yet to settle down to read them. “Every Christmastime I give a dollar to a man with spats, webfeet, wavy hair, and a bow tie!” Why? “It makes me feel so much better than giving it to a man with wooden shoes, silk hat, and fur pants!” Yes, I really must take the time.] Do you have a list of the DVDs you own? Did you add to that list the DVDs that you just bought at the show?
Remember the Other Aspects of Your Life
Did you leave an “I’m out of the office” message on your answering machine? Your voicemail? Your email? It’s time to change all of those responses back to let folks know you’re ready for action. Speaking of that, yes, it is time to take other actions: Answer those calls and letters, plunging back into what passes for normality, now that you’ve taken control of your convention aftermath. Surely, you’ve already done that by now, right? Right?
Was this column unnecessary?
You may be so much better at all this than I am that you are even now restraining a slight sneer. Comic-Con was over ages ago, and you hit the ground running when you got home. Your collection is organized, your laundry is washed, your expense account (if you have one) has been fully filed, and that piece of original art is already framed and on the wall. You are entitled to give yourself a trophy. As for me, I recently found a storage box marked for a 2011 event; at some point soon, I may open it and file its contents.
(Nevertheless, I am proud to say, I did find that missing pair of shoes between the time I began writing this and the time I’m wrapping it up. Sort of proud. Maybe embarrassed. Whichever it may be, I found them in time to pack them for my next convention trip. Let’s hear it for organization!)
Finally, anticipate the next adventure. What did you wish you’d thought of before you attended this event? I realized, as I was settling down to write the first installment of “Maggie’s Diary” on my iPad at Comic-Con, that I had left my wireless keyboard at home. Plan ahead!