It wasn’t that I expected Bradford to be a bad Eastercon, I just had really low expectations. For that reason, my entire focus leading up to the event was on my panels and trying to ensure they were as entertaining as possible. But it turned out to be a truly exceptional con.
One of the highlights of the SFF calendar in the UK is Eastercon, an annual convention with a literary focus and solid aattendance. I’ve been going for a few years now, and even when the panels haven’t personally interested me, it’s been great to catch up with friends.
This year is a little different in that it’s my first year as a panelist at the event and I’m equal measures of scared and excited.
Time is just running away from me. It feels like only yesterday I handed in one of my monthly articles and already it’s nearly time to hand in the next. Likewise, I’ve had a note to blog about a friend’s book launch I attended, and I now realise it was a couple of weeks ago. Where has the time gone?
I’ve known Laura Lam for about 18 months. We met at a Fantasycon that feels like years ago. We were both aspiring authors, full of ideas and working hard on books that would eventually become our debuts. “And now,” as she said to me at her launch event at Forbidden Planet, “we’re both published authors.” Yep, mission accomplished.
The boss on my day job is absolutely brilliant. Not only does he understand that happy employees mean productive, dedicated employees, but he is really supportive on what little of a writing career I have. As a result, on Thursday, he said he would stay and deal with a vendor so I could get away early to get up into London for Adam Christopher’s launch event.
Last week, I managed to call in some favours to knock off the day job early in order to head up t the British Library to attend the Strange Chemistry imprint launch. Those who’ve ever read my writing might question why I would go to the launch of an imprint specialising in YA fiction. The answer to that goes back to long before the imprint was conceived.
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been blogging a lot less lately. This isn’t intentional. I’ve just had the most crazy couple of weeks and blog updates got sacrificed to the gods of time. I promise to blog more next week as I have a lot of big posts lined up.
But as crazy as my week was, I did manage to get away to go up to London for the High Fantasy Event organised by Fantasy Faction, featuring three great fantasy authors.
I read something recently that argued that it is harder to write hope than it is to write cynicism. I think that’s probably true. Likewise, I think that it’s easier to be cynical than to be hopeful. Showing hope somehow exposes us, lays bare our dreams and aspirations, amkes us vulnerable.
This is why I think symbols are important. I doubt you’d find a writer who disagrees. After all, isn’t everything we create some form of symbolism?
There are many fine and justified arguments against the Olympics: we can’t afford it, it doesn’t benefit local communities. Like many others I get incensed when I see missiles being deployed on top of people’s homes or all the fast food sponsorship (except Cadbury’s. I will not have a word said against them, om nom nom). But setting all that aside, on a purely symbolic level, I’m all for the ideal and symbolism of the Olympics.
The Raddison Edwardian Heathrow is a strange place. It was either designed by an architect whilst dropping acid or one with an acute hate of right angles. It is possible to take a lift up one floor and end two floors above where you started, routes back from places don’t seem the same as the one you took to get there originally, there are secret stairs that don’t seem to take you down to the logical place on the floor below; heck, it even has a pond on the second floor. It is a place that seems to break the laws of geometry and physics, and therefore the perfect place to hold an Eastercon.
So it looks like I am going to Eastercon.
For a long time it didn’t look likely. First it was severe lack of funds, and then when I started the new job which has an out of hours element it was very likely I might be on call that weekend. And then there was the small point of moving house around then.
But these conventions are one of the few chances to catch up with friends, not just the ones I chat with regularly, but the ones who I rarely get chance to have more than a few real words with. I hoped that I might be able to make one day but it seems all the stars have mysteriously aligned and Easter is the one free weekend I have for literally months.
So having been paid (and whipped into action by friends), I went and booked myself in for the whole weekend. If you want to blame anyone, blame Anne Lyle for letting me know that the convention was close to capacity. And you can blame her by buying her book that comes out next week!
It’s probably not wise to go to a convention a week after moving, but hey-ho! And after a couple of months where real life has had to take priority over the writing (oh, how I can’t wait to settle in and have time to get some serious writing again) going to a proper event is just what I need to motivate me.
Hope to see some of you there in the bar!