YALC 2016 Insight From Girl of Books and Torchlight 🙂
Hi My name is Serena *waves awkawardly* 🙂
I have been following Amy on Instagram and Twitter (and following this blog) for quite a few months now and jumped at the chance to write a guest YALC post. Though technically it was meant to be a Pre-YALC post, but my forgetful brain means that it is a post-YALC reflection instead.
I thought that here on Amy’s blog it only made sense to write about the main benefit of YALC that connects us – its ability to bring book-loving people, that would probably have never have met IRL, together in a place that they can thrive.
Before I left for YALC there were a couple of people that I knew from the internet that would be there and was both excited and terrified to meet them. Being someone who is a lot more confident than they used to be, but still quite awkward in starting conversations there was definitely an element of fear and anxiety to attending an event completely alone and having to actively start conversations. People on the wonderfully helpful YALC twitter chats that Amy organised had said how friendly everyone at YALC was and how easy it would be to strike up conversation, but sometimes that is hard to believe until you experience it, you’re mind whispering that maybe they were the lucky ones and you will be alone in a corner for the whole event.
But by half way through the first of my two days at YALC I had chatted to more people than I thought I would talk to over the whole time that I was there, including the staff on the publisher stands, people in queues and a couple of people that I knew online. Nearly everyone at YALC is willing to chat, especially in the queues, where nearly everyone is alone and happy to talk about books, life or anything really rather than stand alone and silent in what could be up to an hour of queuing.
In terms of internet friends, I had imagined a packed room where it would be impossible to spot anyone I hadn’t met before, but the space that YALC is in is never packed and the way that it is laid out you are likely to pass people you have talked to before several times with or (if distracted by the stalls) without noticing. So having spent a while looking out for Amy and failing, I finally spotted her sitting about 3 metres away with her friends while I was in the Patrick Ness queue and had that awkward moment of not wanting to call out someones name in case 1) not being 100% sure it was them even though are 99.9% sure and 2) imagining the possible moment where that person had no idea who you were and also, a possiblity that just stuck me of 3) more than one person in the near vicinity having the same name haha. Seeing that she was with her friends I was tempted not to approach them, feeling like I was interrupting, but in the end, once I had finally reached the end of the queue and got my books signed, I put on my brave face and went to say ‘hello’. Though she wasn’t looking my way so instead of hovering awkwardly I instead went in with a very very awkward (possibly more awkward than the hovering) ‘is that Amy?’ to her friend *facepalm*
But the point is that despite my doubts, yes she recognised me and no the conversation wasn’t scary and both her and her friends were lovely (though I don;t know your names! If you are reading this follow/message me! :)) and I ended up comfortably queuing in the V.E.Schwab queue with them.
The moral, I guess, of this slightly rambling story is that YALC is an amazingly warm and friendly environment that is as much about the people and the community as it is about the books. There is always someone to talk to and even if you go alone, you won’t often feel hindered by that (and it is perfectly possible to sit alone on a beanbag in the rest area without feeling out of place or uncomfortable). So if you are going to or thinking about going to YALC 2017, if you have anything to worry about then it is fitting all the awesome things in, it certainly is not being lonely.
Plus, after this year”s awesomeness, I will certainly be there next year, so you will be able to come chat to me.
Will be posting some more YALC post on my blog this week, so be sure to check it out (shameless blog promotion sorry haha).
Love. Live. Laugh.