Monday, 7 April 2014

Ad Astra - How I Love Thee

This weekend was a romp in Toronto.  We left Ottawa at noon with a car full of Ottawa writers. (Several such cars leaving from Ottawa around the same time. I truly regret not suggesting a caravan. Because caravans are cool.)  My car was also full of party supplies for the CAN-CON party, but we managed to tuck everything in okay.

I had a panel at 8 and another at 9. Based on these two panels, I've decided that I love Friday night panels. Everyone is still so awake and I get to be a pest and people think it's funny.  My first panel was the Myth-Information in Modern Fantasy.  I knew all of my co-panelists and knew they were all awesome and interesting people (Chadwick Ginther, Jen Frankel, Stephen B. Pearl, Katrina Guy).  We started off by dancing around myths, legends and fairy tales that were interesting, but I really wanted to push the discussion further. Were fantasy writers limiting themselves by following mythic structures?  Were archetypes passé? Did science-fiction have the "cutting-edge" reputation because it didn't generally conform to a pre-existing structure?  And so on, so forth.  So I kept asking if I could ask questions, because I wanted to hear their smart answers.  

That was a popular game that I played, apparently, since the audience laughed every time I asked a new question. I am disappointed, however, that I couldn't get a pitchfork mob formed to go against a certain Black Gate blogger for some of his recent posts.  I think he was disappointed, too, but oh well.  Maybe next year.

The second panel was all about having a day job and writing. Again, wonderful panelists (Ada Hoffman, Joel Sutherland, Karen Danylak). This panel reinforced my belief that authors need to chat about writer burnout. More on that later.

Saturday was as much fun as Sunday. I killed myself laughing on several occasions, especially at the book signing while discussing zombie turtles with Linda Poitevin and James Alan Gardner. But, come on - zombie turtles.  There is nothing not awesome about that.  My reading with Matt Moore was a lot of fun and quite full (thanks to everyone who came out!), and Matt read one of my favourite stories of all time, Touch the Sky, They Say. Find it, read it. It's beautiful.

The CAN-CON Sweets and Caffeine Party was great, and thanks to Robin Riopelle for saving me by bringing in cupcakes after I'd realized I hadn't made cupcakes despite cheerfully exclaiming about them on Facebook. My party co-organizers also picked some up, so we were rocking. Party organizing is all about surrounding people who can cover your cupcake faux-pas. The chocolate fountain was a hit, especially once maintenance came over with pliers to turn the broken nob.  I hope we enticed many people to come out for CAN-CON (Ottawa, October 3-5). It's a fun and smart con, and we need even more smart and fun people. Which there were lots of at the party! 

I had so many great conversations that I can't capture everything right now, especially as I'm still lagged over by Gravol.  That was how my con unfortunately ended - waking up at 1 on Sunday morning with the awkward thought "am I dreaming I'm nauseated, or am I actually nauseated?"  Well, turned out it was food poisoning, so I had to cancel everything that morning and try to get better enough to sit in a car for five hours on the way home.  Thanks to my roommates, Mary Pletsch, Nicole Lavigne and Sarah Parkinson for mothering me and taking over my Sunday morning life. Much appreciated! (I think it was a hot dog that did me in. Damn hot dogs!  Damn yummy hot dogs...)  At one point, I ran to the bathroom quickly, in the dark, not realizing that one of my roommates had closed the door over after using it last. I threw that door open with my forehead. Shocking and funny all at once.  But no goose egg, so that's good!

Ad Astra was a hit again this year, and I can't wait until next year! Thanks to the organizers for another great con!