Sometimes I don’t think I fit in with geeks.
Which could be a problem when you attend conferences made up of them.
That realization first struck me during breakfast my second day at Realm Makers 2017. For the record, I had a fantastic time there! But I must admit feeling a little awkward on some occasions. Mainly because I lack geek cred. In that case, we were enjoying our coffee, fruit, and pastries, discussing books, writing, and our day jobs, when I happened to mention the film Batman v. Superman. I should have known. What followed was a lengthy, impassioned debate about DC comics, the DC v. Marvel Universe, the true character of Superman, and how dark is too dark for a comic book hero. Most of that conversation, I remained a spectator. Why? I’m just not THAT invested in either Batman or Superman.
Don’t get me wrong — I like both characters. In fact, I like a lot of the same characters and stories my fellow writers like. Star Wars. Star Trek. X-Men. Captain America. The Flash. Harry Potter. Vampires. Werewolves. I’m into all that stuff.
I’m just not SO into them that I want to dress up as a Jedi Knight, a Transformer, or a zombie and memorize the canonical histories of said characters. In fact, there’s lots of things I find I don’t share with my geeky friends who spent hours playing computers games and even care to get the best computers cases for different pages as https://www.hotrate.com/electronics/best-computer-cases/.
- I’m not into cosplay.
- Not into Nerfwars.
- Not a huge techie.
- Don’t play video games.
- Have no side in the DC v. Marvel debate.
- Can’t seem to get into anime.
- Had to look up the word “grok” when it was used.
Quite a dud, right?
This can all make for some uncomfortable situations. Like the Friday night gala (pictured above) where I wore some Dockers and a polo shirt. The first person I walked up to that evening, I did not recognize the character they were dressed as. So I asked. And felt quite stupid afterwards. So I typically sit in the back during these events, not because I’m embarrassed being around such a lively, colorful crowd, but because I just feel a little out of place.
So, you ask, what am I doing at this type of writers convention? Good question. Mostly I love stories. I love to talk theology and sociology and trends in pop culture. I am fascinated by myth, creativity, and the archetypes that stir us. I perk up when we talk about the writing industry and how Christian creatives can be the salt of the earth. I wrestle with the role of artists in the Church and our struggle to find a place in the Body. I stop what I’m doing to join conversations about comparative religions and the parameters of sound doctrine. I grouse about the decline of Western Civilization and marvel at how God seeds hope through fictional tales.
I’m not sure what kind of geek this is. But whatever it is, I am it.
Much is made about such writing/comic cons being a place where oddballs can find their tribe. Thing is, I’m learning there’s another kind of oddball there. We may not see them as having “geek cred.” They won’t be recognized by their elaborate costumes or ability to cite random episodes from every season of Dr. Who. But they’re as much a part of the tribe as the Nerfwar veterans.
Memo to geek culture — don’t forget the strangers in your midst.
So if you happen upon me at a writer’s con and I’m not dressed up as an elf or a wookie, take heart in the fact that I’m probably discussing the boundaries of theology in spec-fic, postmodern theory, or the compatibility of a biblical worldview with the horror genre.