02.22.13 // GeekGirlCon Spotlight: How I became a geek
By Sarah Grant
Here it is, folks: how I became a bona fide geek.
I was born.
Just kidding. Sort of.
I’m a huge reader; I read the classic Nancy Drew mysteries before I got to first grade, and proceeded to plow my way through the children’s public library at breakneck speed.
My best friend, Andrea, came to school one morning when we were in seventh grade, reading a Star Trek book: Uhura’s Song by Janet Kagan.
Andrea told me how great it was, and she loaned it to me as soon as she was finished. I decided to give it a shot. I loved it completely; it’s still one of my favorite books.
Star Trek: The Next Generation started on television that same year. Within the first few minutes of the pilot episode, I was completely hooked.
Andrea and I started going to Star Trek conventions around Milwaukee (where we lived) and Chicago (a far off city of wonder and very tall buildings). Our first convention was at the old Red Carpet Hotel across from the airport in Milwaukee, where we met Walter Koenig – the legendary Pavel Andreivitch Chekov from the original Star Trek series. I smiled like an idiot when I met him (back when autographs and pictures were still free!) and Andrea later told me she had no idea what I said to him; she literally could not understand the words coming out of my mouth. *sigh*
This pattern continued as we met much of the original Star Trek cast, as well as some of The Next Generation cast: I smiled like an idiot and the star managed to get me to spell my name so they could sign the book or picture I thrust in front of them. James Doohan, Scotty on the original series, actually signed my copy of Uhura’s Song, telling me as he did so that my name was spelled correctly – Sarah – because that’s how his grandmother spelled her name. I nearly swooned.
The one person I wanted to see most, Patrick Stewart, never came to Milwaukee or Chicago. He went to a con in Michigan every November, but it was always the same weekend that I had a standing commitment throughout high school, so I never got to meet him.
Andrea and I went to Star Trek conventions together through our freshman year of college, and then we sort of stopped; she went to college in Illinois and I was in Wisconsin, a good six hours from her. I did go to one last convention in Madison, Wisconsin, with a boyfriend, but it just wasn’t the same.
Warp into 2011, when I discovered Emerald City Comic Con.
I was suddenly excited about going to a convention for the first time in years. I bought a three-day pass that year, and spent most of my time in the big room where the celebrities (actors) spoke and answered questions from the fans. I saw Bruce Boxleitner, Felicia Day, William Shatner, James Marsters, John Noble, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, Jasika Nicole, Amy Okuda, Clare Kramer, and Nicholas Brendon.
The first person speaking that weekend was Wil Wheaton. They announced him from the stage, and he walked out from behind the curtain and sort of ambled up the stairs right in front of me (I was sitting in the front row, of course). My first thought? “Wil Wheaton walks like such a geek boy!” Suddenly I wasn’t so afraid to meet someone famous; I realized they’re all people just like me.
Some people at ECCC asked what my favorite comics were, and I laughed: I didn’t read comics, I read “real books; I’m just here for the actors.” I got a multitude of insulted looks, and decided to rethink my stance. I looked carefully around the huge dealers’ room at various comics, their artists, and the fans. Suddenly, I realized that comics were just as meaningful as my “real books”, which was quite a revelation for a thirty-something year-old woman.
I went again in 2012 and saw George Takei, Adam Baldwin, Laurie Holden, Jon Bernthal, Summer Glau, James and Oliver Phelps, Christopher Judge, Jason Momoa, Eddie McClintock, Lea Thompson, and Wil Wheaton. The last and by far most inspirational speaker of the weekend was Edward James Olmos. The sound of three thousand people echoing “Admiral Adama” as he shouted, “SO SAY WE ALL!” is something I will never forget. I shiver every time I think about it.
I’m going to ECCC again this year, of course. I will be paying more attention to the way the con itself is run. I’m a new member of the GeekGirlCon staff, and we all play huge roles in running our con. This year GeekGirlCon will be at the Washington State Convention Center October 19 and 20, and while we’re considerably smaller than ECCC, I know that I will learn a lot while I’m at the Convention Center for the three days of ECCC. I’m super-excited to be part of our dynamic group of men and women celebrating the female geek!
This year’s lineup for ECCC, the weekend of March 1, 2, and 3, is even more impressive than previous years – for me, anyway. Gillian Anderson, Kristin Bauer, Dirk Benedict, Misha Collins, Felicia Day, Lexa Doig, Carrie Fisher, Danai Gurira, Walter Koenig, Christopher Lloyd, Paul McGillion, Ray Park, Chandler Riggs, Chris Sarandon, Michael Shanks, Natalia Tena, Burt Ward, Adam West, Wil Wheaton, and Billie Dee Williams will all grace the stage that weekend. I will be there all three days again; tickets are still available here, though three-day passes are sold out.
The very best part of ECCC for me this year? Patrick Stewart will be there, and I can’t wait to finally meet him. I don’t think I’ll swoon; I’ll have to keep you posted.
Who would you love to meet at GeekGirlCon? Let us know!
Sarah Grant is a copywriter for GeekGirlCon. Her true ambition in life is to proofread the Internet for a living. Until that dream comes true, she continues to write her way through life – mainly science fiction and fantasy, but technical writing, copywriting, proofreading, and editing are the mainstays of her business, Write Words, LLC.