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[personal profile] wahlee

A little less than ten years ago, I got on an airplane all by myself and flew to a place full of people I'd never actually met before, but who I felt like I knew better than many in my real life. It was, barring meeting up with one local fan on a book release night, my first experience meeting people in real life that I had only known on the internet. Some I had interacted with for years, through a tiny little message board thread for a fifth-year fic full of the usual fifth-year-fic cliches--new DADA teacher who turns out to be a Weasley cousin, Voldemort fathers a child as part of his evil plan, "I'm serious, Black," etc.--but where some of the best and brightest of fandom gathered. Others I had admired from afar until thrown together by a momentary impulse which launched me into the bloody morass of the shipping wars. Some were only vaguely present to me-- a semi-familiar screen name from a fanfic archive forum. And then there were some that I had never encountered at all before I shook hands with or hugged them that night.

I discovered that weekend, and in the years since, that the line between internet friends and real friends is extremely nebulous, if it exists at all. As I greeted each new-old friend, finally putting faces and voices to screen names, it felt like I was greeting someone who I had seen weeks, if not days before, and we were just catching up. I never would have guessed, though, that ten years later, some of those people would have disappeared from my life, while some I see on a yearly (or more!) basis. Or that I'd be getting on a plane, all by myself, on my way to a place full of people I'd never actually met before. Again.

I'm missing the friends I met ten years ago, and the ones I met in the amazing gatherings that have happened since then. I'm marveling that the friend who slept on a roll-away bed in my hotel room ten years ago is now standing in front of 4,000 people, welcoming them to a convention celebrating all things geeky. I hope I'll be able to talk to her, once, this weekend. I look forward to Saturday when I'll see another friend I haven't been able to have actual face-time with for entirely too many years. But I also hope that this might be the beginning of friendships that will last as long as the ones I forged all those years ago. Because no one can ever tell me that true friendship can't start online.

I have ten years of memories to prove it.

(Yes, this post means I'm at LeakyCon. It's awesome so far, if a tiny bit lonely).

Date: 2013-06-28 04:13 am (UTC)
ext_9390: My Phoebers! :D  (HP: One Two Trio)
From: [identity profile] chickadilly.livejournal.com
Oooh, have fun!! :)

Date: 2013-06-28 04:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljrags.livejournal.com
Have a great time! Look forward to your reports :)

Date: 2013-06-28 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duchessdollydot.livejournal.com
Some I had interacted with for years, through a tiny little message board thread for a fifth-year fic full of the usual fifth-year-fic cliches--new DADA teacher who turns out to be a Weasley cousin, Voldemort fathers a child as part of his evil plan, "I'm serious, Black," etc.

Yes. Yes. That happened. All of that definitely happened.

I'm jealous that you're going to Leaky! I have never been to a big fan gathering like that. Someday, you and I will finally find a way to meet in person.

Have a super super awesome weekend! xo Hope you see some old friends and that girl standing in front of the 4,000 ;)

Date: 2013-06-28 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] second-batgirl.livejournal.com
I hope you have a lot of fun. And I miss you! ♥

Date: 2013-06-28 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurel-potter.livejournal.com
I remember that hotel room! I was there, too.

Sigh. I miss you, too.

Date: 2013-07-01 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hymnia.livejournal.com
Yeah, I found LeakyCon fun but lonely, too. The golden age of the fandom has passed, and while the friendships formed online are real, they don't always last beyond the initial point of connection--much like "real life" friendships that fade after, say, graduation from high school or college. Still, however things have changed, I still appreciate the experiences I've had and the connections I was able to make, even those that didn't last, and I won't let nostalgia keep me from enjoying what is still there to enjoy. :)

BTW, my Mom has spent the afternoon mainlining the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I'm planning to watch them when I finish my current re-watch of Veronica Mars.

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