Remember how sometimes teachers would assign that ridiculous essay asking what you did over your summer vacation? Our little Fiction Flurry hiatus felt a lot like a summer vacation to me. I feel like telling you what I did.
1. I turned 24. And while I'm still the "young'un" of the group, it feels old to me. I keep thinking there's NO WAY I'm 24. And, yet, I am.
2. I celebrated 4th of July with my friends the only way we seem to know how--going to downtown Columbus for Red, White, and BOOM and hanging out with the million other people who do the same. There were some drunk teenagers on our bus on the way into the city. One girl puked in her own purse. It's moments like that when I ask myself why I love RWB so much, but I do.
3. I helped run Portkey, which was a special online conference of sorts that the Harry Potter Alliance staff put on during LeakyCon, which was the BIG Harry Potter convention that was down in Orlando, FL this year. I headed up Gryffindor house for the house cup and Livestreamed a lot. We gained fans. It was...surreal.
4. I nerded out over the last Harry Potter movie, re-read all the books, held a two-day "Potterpalooza" with my friends (where we marathon-watched all the Harry Potter movies), and then I dressed in costume and went to the midnight premiere of the last movie. I cried. But my costume was AWESOME.
5. I went to a couple of concerts, all indie artists. One was in Cleveland, to see a few "nerd bands" as you might call them--Alex Carpenter, Jason Munday, Christian Caldeira, and Mike Lombardo. They're all YouTube musicians, three are/were in wizard rock bands, and I fangirled with the best of them. The second concert was Harry and the Potters. Judge away.
5. I moved out of my parents' house, and into an apartment with my friend Tracy (whom I've known since kindergarten) and my friend Kathleen (who was my roommate for four years in college). We have yet to kill each other, so I count it a success. I finally finished unpacking my room this weekend.
6. I watched an obscene amount of NCIS, after stocking up on all the seasons on DVD. I'm currently on season 8 and trying to see if I can catch up before the season 9 premiere on Tuesday.
7. I kept Livestreaming with Portkey, but not as a conference. We decided to keep the fun alive, and somehow I found myself as a regular host. On the night of July 30/July 31, we spontaneously decided to pull an all-nighter to try to get into the beta of Pottermore with the first clue posted in the "Magical Quill Challenge." Ten. Hour. Livestream. I went to bed as the sun was coming up.
8. I started beta testing Pottermore...getting access to the site one week after access started. That was a painful week to wait. And then I had a slight identity crisis as I got sorted into Ravenclaw, as opposed to Gryffindor. And then I got over it. Now...dude, I'm a Ravenclaw and don't know how I didn't see it before. Since getting access...I've successfully brewed a handful of potions and successfully exploded two cauldrons (and I still have no idea why).
9. I started re-reading the Harry Potter books. Again. After buying a third set of the books to mark up, highlight, and write in the margins to my heart's content. Now, let's be fair. I'm reading it through this time much slower...mostly only at night, before bed. But it's still fun to have a set of Potter books that I'm allowing myself to mark all over.
10. I danced at the Dublin Irish Festival, as I have done since I took up Irish dancing two years ago. I won five medals in the dance competition. And then, recently, we lost our dance teacher to cancer. It's been strange starting the new dance year without her there.
11. I went to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with my friends for the first time in about five years. I bought a quill, a leather journal, and a jar that says "Floo Powder," because I can't go anywhere without buying something nerdy (at the Irish Festival, I bought a Deathly Hallows symbol...and if you know what I'm talking about, you get extra points in my book).
12. I finished my third draft on my novel. Then I bought myself a HUGE cup of frozen yogurt, with WAY too many topics at Menchie's.
13. I went to the 20th Anniversary Homecoming game for my high school, and marched in the alumni band with people who represented 16 of the 20 graduating classes from the school. It was amazing and fun and stressed me out to no end, because I somehow found myself in charge of organizing it.
In summary, I did many, many geeky things and had many, many adventures. And now it's the fall, and I'm getting ready to send out my novel to literary agents, and I'm counting down to NaNoWriMo, and I'm still doing Livestreams with Portkey, and I continue to work with the HPA. I've also become a writer for the Potter Games, a choose your own adventure style online game, and I've made amazing friends over at an RPG called Magic is Might Continues, which has become a great writing exercise for me and entertains me to no end. Yes, I've fallen even more into the Potter fandom, and I'm okay with that, and I continue to learn more about my own writing. It's been an amazing summer, but I'm ready for the fall and the new adventures that will bring.
So what did all of YOU do during the "summer vacation"?