Nashville Geek Life

NGL

So this is a special weekend as one of my favorite haunts turns one year old today. If you follow me on my official website or on social media, then you know I’m a proud regular contributor for Nashville Geek Life.

I had been planning on doing a special signal boost post for NGL for a a couple of weeks now and with the website turning one this weekend, it seemed as opportune a time as any.

If you’re not one of the legions of cool geeks reading NGL, then hopefully this post will make you reflect on your personal choices and make you ask yourself why you insist on being a failure in life. 😉

I first had the pleasure of meeting Brianna Reed, Fearless Leader (you watched Rocky & Bullwinkle too, don’t front), last June at Hypericon. I was a panelist and she and a few of the NGL crew were promoting the fledgling site. As many of you are aware, I’m very selective about things I commit to and people I work with. Time is money and if we’re talking dollars, then it better make sense. I’m not one who is easily swayed, so when I say I was immensely impressed with what I saw from Brianna, her colleagues and the business plan she had laid out. NGL was an investment/commitment I wanted in on from the ground floor and I was honored and humbled when they accepted me as a writer and contributor.

As time went on and I got the pleasure to meet other colleagues, I realized there was something special about this crew and it wasn’t random happenstance that our paths crossed. It wasn’t until Geek Media Expo last November, that I began to figure things out. In addition to the writer panels, I had signed up for the Inaugural speaker series. For weeks leading up to it, I was a nervous wreck. Even hanging out backstage, I was freaking out. The only thing keeping me from completely spazzing was watching videos of the Goddess of Perfection. I believe you all know her as Gina Torres. Thankfully, Brianna had signed up as well and having a friend in the trenches helped calm me.

Brianna was the first to present and I was scheduled to go last. While my topic of choice was diversity in geek culture, she spoke on her experiences about what inspired NGL and launching the site. What I would come to learn is that when she first posed the idea, she posted her idea and thoughts on Facebook and got an overwhelmingly positive response as a result. But it was the when that proved to be providential. The date she made the post was on Feb. 1, 2013. Feb. 1 is my birthday, and I don’t believe in coincidences. Not those this key. This group was in my life for a reason and at the time I still couldn’t figure out why.

Hearing Brianna talk fearlessly and passionately about pursuing a vision and dream and the endless possibilities of this endeavor, not only calmed me and gave me the confidence to present but it reminded me why I’m a novelist and and equal rights activist.

When it was time for me to present about diversity in geek culture and why it’s imperative to work towards making fandom safer and inclusive for women, people of color, LGBTQs, people with disabilities and other minorities, I was in rare form.

The biggest reward was after the speaking series. A white family approached me and thanked me for the inspiring words and told me that their 7-year-old son needed to hear that as he had been a victim of bullying at school. Being able to offer words of encouragement to both the parents and their son (in geekdom no less) motivated me to work even harder in my endeavors.

For that alone, I’m grateful to Fearless Leader. And of course Gina Torres, she who is flawless personified and uplifts us all.

I was thinking back on this during an NGL outing at the movies last month, and then it finally clicked for me.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m very selective about the people and groups I associate with and this especially the case in geekdom. Unfortunately geek culture continues to be a hostile a bigoted cesspool towards minorities and there are very few places many of us can go without having to worry about racial slurs, homophobia, or even rape and death threats. Even for the few of us fighting the good fight, it can leave you pretty disgusted and understandably so.

That’s when it hit me. There’s a reason why this ragtag motley crew of geeks resonated with me. There’s something special at the core. Our team is comprised of geeks from all walks of life, spanning various demographics: men, women, white, PoC, LGBTQs, etc. The common denominator, we all love being a geek and love sharing something we treasure with others. It is a love in the purest form, most selfless sense. There aren’t many spaces where I can honestly say I’ve been able to lower my guard and just be me, but NGL has been that space. I think that’s why our paths have crossed. I’m being reminded that there are those out there who are geeks for the right reasons. That’s a nice reminder to have.

So what is Nashville Geek Life? It’s a website dedicated to promoting and building the geek community in Nashville. It also reports on the events and happenings in the geek world in the surrounding Midsouth area. More than that, it’s a website where a ragtag band of nerds, led by Fearless Leader,get to share our ideas and thoughts on every facet of geek culture: anime, video games, scifi movies, comic books, etc. In short, we get to share our love of something special to us with the rest of the world.

While NGL is turning one, we’re only getting started. We’ve got some big things in store as Fearless Leader recently announced.

It’s been a fun ride so far. I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.

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By Dennis R. Upkins