Thursday, October 04, 2007

Since I had no internet access I wrote my blogs daily and now I’m transferring them to my blog. The dates will be weird but hey, if it doesn’t bother me…

Thursday 27 September, 2007

I’m at the airport waiting in line to check in. I’m juggling a walking stick, a carry on bag on wheels, a suitcase, also with wheels, my handbag, laptop, camera and ticket folder. I’m more than usually hampered because on my way here – in the car in fact – I suddenly developed severe sciatica. Simultaneously three check-in lights start flashing. Virgo, who dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car, is nowhere to be seen and the line behind me is getting restive. You’d think the walking stick shuffle might have alerted them to my limitations but they seem to have the idea that I’m messing about. In fact I’m trying, not very effectively, to move forward without losing my grip on my belongings. Then I manage to drop just about everything. That helps a lot. With difficulty, I gather up my possessions and head for the nearest window where I drop another bundle. This does not make for a confident approach but the check-in itself goes smoothly and I’m offered and gratefully accept a wheelchair. At that moment a harried Virgo appears and takes over.

We head for the security check and the laptop is extracted and my bags get dumped in trays and we’re in the gate – to the accompaniment of loud beeps. This always happens to me! Why? Anyway I’m hustled away – as usual. Will I consent to a pat down – like I have any choice. A consent form and a pen are shoved in front of me and I sign. I offer to stand. Not necessary. Surely it would be less trouble for all concerned but I’m not going to cause any trouble. I’m not sure that much could have been concealed under a pair of jeans and a fitted sweater but if it makes them happy… Besides my very ample figure probably looks suspiciously oversize but I make it on board to wait out the delays caused by a late connecting passenger coming from the International Terminal and a disruptive passenger who has to be removed and we’re off. At least my journeys are full of exciting moments, aren't they.

Friday, 28 September, 2007

It’s years since I’ve been in Canberra so I spent some time this morning checking out the city centre before heading to the Gorman House Arts Centre for the first workshop I’d booked into – The Noble and Knightly Art of the Long Sword. What an experience! A mix of age and gender and all shapes and sizes, we lined up to be taught a few of the basics of handling a long sword. We stepped, lunged, attacked, defended. The difficulties of co-ordinating hands, feet and body while remembering exactly what moves had to be made provided a challenge, lots of laughs and near misses. It has to be the best fun I’ve had in years.

I caught up with some fellow Clarionites at the opening ceremony. This was a blast and MC Jack Dann had us in fits of laughter. The official guests were introduced. Most exciting from my point of view, Laura Goodin, one of my Clarion South mates, was presented with her prize as the winner of the Conflux Short Story Competition. Congratulations, Laura!

Then Larissa Stoljar gave an amazing performance of a vocal work – not singing but sounds familiar to us all from cartoons arranged into a co-ordinated performance piece. Truly extraordinary – and unforgettable.

Saturday 29 September 2007.

So many panels – and I want to go to all of them. They cover so much – paranormal romance, world building, blogging, magic, genres, publishing. Add the interview/question and answer sessions with the official guests and workshops and we barely have time to breathe. Fortunately the panels are all being transferred to pod casts so I can pick up any I miss later. Yay! Tonight I’m skipping the Regency Gothic banquet and out to dinner with friends. It has been so great to catch up with all those people I rarely get to see. And, even more exciting, some more Clarionites have arrived.

Sunday 30 September 2007

So now I know a lot more ways to kill someone efficiently using a dagger, long sword or short sword. Hmm. At last my heroine will know what she's actually doing which I'm sure will be a relief to her. I also know about writing tie-ins, where exactly YA fiction sits in relation to urban fantasy and more about blogging and using LJs. Most of us Clarionites turned up to the panel on Clarions and decided that we had been a fairly functional group as these workshops go. Then a couple of us wandered out into the cold Canberra night in search of pizza – and very good it was too. The Masquerade was in full swing when we got back and we peeked in but retreated from the noise and into the bar.

Monday October 2007

Dammit, I missed the panel on what makes a good villain due to yet another elevator malfunction. The lifts have been the one irritation of the weekend. They skip the floor you’re on or stop at every floor whether they have been called there or not. They arrive without a light indicating they are moving or which direction they are heading. You press the down button and are swept non-stop up to the top floor and back down to the basement before you’re spat out on the ground floor. Those who could tried the fire escape stairs but that led straight to the basement where the exit doors were locked so they had to take another lift, when it finally arrived, back up to the ground floor. You can wait with an ever increasing queue to go back to your room and on one occasion the lift never came – at all. We trailed around after a helpful staff member like a flock of ducklings and crammed in to the service elevator with the room service trolley. The worst though was when a lift full of people got stuck and they were rescued only when someone heard them hammering on the door. No-one (including me who finds stairs very difficult at the best of times) was brave enough to take the lift either up or down between the 1st floor (where the convention rooms were) and the ground floor (the bar and restaurant) so there was continual traipsing up and down the spiral staircase, which fortunately sweeps widely making it feasible for all but those with toddlers in pushers.

So what else today? Readings by Jason Nahrung, Kaaron Warren, Rob Hood and Richard Harland, a KaffeeKlatch session with Simon Brown, a fascinating panel on the role of the female in speculative fiction including insights into the success and otherwise of women writing male characters and men writing women and some thoughts on space opera. And finally the closing ceremony followed by the Dead Dog party in the bar.

By then we were just about dead from exhaustion and I wouldn’t have missed a moment of it.

Tuesday 2 October 2007

Apart from my blog entries I haven’t written a word over the four days but others have. Some disappeared to laptops in their rooms and a few settled in the bar with files or writing pads. While I really want to go to sleep now - for a long time but the plane flight home will have to suffice - I feel re-energised as well. My head is buzzing with ideas that I want to put on paper. Maybe a nice little horror piece on lifts? We shall see.

It was strange at breakfast this morning to see the change in those eating there. Only a handful of Confluxers remain, those of us who like me intend to do a bit of sightseeing or have awkward plane times. Most of the new cohort appears to be part of tour groups here to visit Floriade and that’s where I’m off to now.


Satima Flavell said...

Hey, good to have you back, Helen! I've been looking forward to your Conflux report. Among you and Karen and Gillian I feel almost as if I'd been myself:-)

Maybe next year...

Imagine me said...

Thanks, Satima. Maybe we'll both be there next year.

Carol Ryles said...

Sounds like you had a fun and busy time over there. I'm hoping to go there next year. Fingers crossed.

Imagine me said...

It certainly was, Carol - fun that is. I'm hoping for next year too but we shall see.

Glenda Larke said...

I'm now listening to the podcasts and feeling suitably envious. Wish I had been there.

Imagine me said...

There's always Swancon, Glenda.