August 9-12 I spent the best days of my life with three thousand people who loved Harry Potter. I barely ate. I barely slept. I broke my voice. I smiled so much my mouth hurt. I cried. I bruised the bottom of my feet. It was the best. The absolute best.
As part of LeakyCon, I signed up for LeakyLit, and seeing as this is a book blog I thought I would talk about that, but if any of you want to hear more about my shenanigans at LeakyCon (like the time Hank Green walked by me or the time I hugged Jason Munday or the time I didn’t hug Alex Carpenter or the time…) then just let me know in the comments.
So one thing I really wished I’d done was take notes during the LeakyLit panels. I attended the following LeakyLit panels: Come to This Panel if You Think You Hate Romance, Girl Books and Boy Books, Bad Books and Why we Love Them, and I Was a Teenage Writer. I loved all of them, but Girl Books vs. Boy Books and Teenage Writer were the only ones that left a big enough impression on me that I can still remember the details despite my lack of notes, but there’s only one panel that I really want to talk about.
Girl Books vs Boy Books
This panel was about exactly what it says: what makes a boy book and what makes a girl book and should either of these categories even exist. What was great about this panel was the audience involvement. The panelists asked for our thoughts on the topic, and the audience wasn’t afraid. Except for me. The moment this topic began I wanted to talk about how creating this binary of girl book and boy book suggests that the same binary exists in the world: there are girls and then there are boys. This is problematic for multiple reasons, not least of all is the fact that there are those who fit into neither category from a biological point of view and most of us fit in neither from a gender point of view either, especially since gender is as much defined by where you are in the world.
I didn’t want to put that question forward because I was afraid of putting the panelists on the spot, but thankfully one of the panelists brought it up for me. I believe it was Margaret Stohl (or it could have been Meghan Whalen Turner or Robin Wasserman…) who talked a bit about the problems of gender binaries at the end of the panel, and it made me realize that I was being really… snobby about my opinions. I mean, why in the world would I think that these intelligent, wonderful people would not be able to respond to my question about gender? It also taught me that I need to stop thinking about what others may think about me because I was afraid of rocking the boat among so many people that I see as kinder spirits. Never be afraid to rock the boat. Life lessons at LeakyLit: just one reason it is so awesome.
Meeting the Authors
I also got to meet three of my favourite authors in the world during the LeakyLit signing: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Stephanie Perkins.
I’ve been wanting to meet John Green since I started watching his videos in late 2007. There were so many things I wanted to say, but when I reached him I was so focused on not passing out from all the feelings all I managed to say was “thank you.” I think he understood that I meant “thank you for everything that you do for helping to create this wonderful community where I can feel accepted and for helping to decrease world suck and for teaching this young generation that it’s good to be different and kind and awesome because the nerdfighters really and truly do give me hope each and every day that maybe some day things like homophobia and racism and sexism won’t be prevalent in our people and in our laws.” His response: “It goes both ways, so thank you.” Or at least something to that affect. I think he used more words or bigger words or rhyming couplets or something, but that was the general gist of it.
Right next to John Green was Maureen Johnson, and I cannot express how BADLY I MESSED THIS UP. So bad. I went to tell Maureen how much she means to me because as much I love John (and Hank), I feel like Maureen is the female voice that nerdfighteria so desperately needs. She’s not afraid to speak up and speak out on so many topics and she is such a huge role model to me. Except when I went to tell her that all that came out were sobs. Yes. I cried in front of Maureen Johnson and succeeded in creeping out the world’s champion of creepiness. I’m so sorry Maureen!
I managed to calm down in time to meet Stephanie Perkins. She is the sweetest most beautiful person I have ever met. I told her how much I love her books and how the movie theatre scene from Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favourite scenes ever because it so truly captures what it’s really like to be watching a movie with that guy you really, really like. She told me how she believes that is the scene that got her book an agent. She said she loved my hair and had seen it in the audience in the panel and had been hoping to tell me she liked it. I told her how much I loved her hair because it was PINK and gorgeous. *sigh* I love Stephanie Perkins.
I wish I had gotten the opportunity to meet with the other authors there: Holly Black, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Lev Grossman, Margaret Stohl, Laini Taylor, Megan Whalen Turner, and Robin Wasserman. If you ever go to LeakyCon (which I fully encourage) you should definitely sign up for LeakyLit because it was fantastic. Just make sure you bring a notebook.