Anyhow, to content. I need a content-full post so that I can finish with Conflux and move on to Medieval Sex and other teaching delights (today I learned that more people are interested in Medieval Magic than Medieval Sex - in Canberra, at least).
I didn't get to many panels I was not on and I didn't make any launches at all. I had a fairly busy time of my own program and basically waved at piles of books in passing.
The first panel I made was "Making a living as a writer, but not necessarily a novelist" (which I was on) and we talked about a fairly wide range of income options, from technical writing, to working in media, to teaching, to freelance writing, to comics, to pro-blogging. The main audience interest was in the film industry, so Mark Shireffs had to answer more questions than I did (mwa ha ha): I got most of the blogging questions at the blogging workshop and Karen Simpson-Nikakis handled at lot of the teaching questions. In other words, I was bog lazy, which is my favourite thing to be.
Nyssa and I shared a pizza at the bar for lunch (Nyssa owes me many drinks, since I've decided I charge extortionate interest on drinks - I was too good throughout Conflux, basically, and now evil Gillian has emerged).
After lunch I went to the alternate history panel, about which I have blogged and about which you have heard. I'm pretty sure the panellists haven't yet realised I liveblogged them. If I die tomorrow, all my leftover sweets and chocolate go to Cat Sparks and my skulls get divided between my publishers. Also, if I die tomorrow, my ghost shall haunt the speakers on the alternate history panel because one of them is likely to have been the death-bringer. Anyone who writes a really good alliterative death rhyme for me, lauding my achievements, gets my Medieval book collection and the first person who can demonstrate they've actually read all my fiction gets my entire (and enviable) fiction collection. If I don't die tomorrow, then I get to keep it all, including the skull that's attached to my head.
I missed so many good things at Conflux because of conflict. The thing I most wanted to go to (of the many things I most wanted to go to) was Mark's Jasper Morello film. If anyone has a copy, I promise to give you exciting things in return for borrowing it. Maybe some of the grains of paradise that we scientifically tested on the food and worldbuilding panel? Or alcoholic medlars? Or other exciting things from that panel (I have lots, and made people try them, too. Oddly, not a single Conflux report so far has mentioned the panel - maybe I killed all those people off?).
After that was the mass book signing and auction. I was too tired to bid for things, but I did sign stuff. Oddly, of all those copies of my book that has been sold only one appeared for signing. Also, of all the copies of the overview of Australian Speculative Fiction that had been given to Confluxers in their con bags, only 2 appeared for signing. Mass signings are mysterious in their mechanisms. Anyhow, I had enough people ask for signatures so I felt respectable and then I spent the rest of the time in chat or vile gossip (depending on who I was talking to).
The auction (the bits I got - I left when Dr Who stuff came out because I so love it and I so have no money) was hilarious. Danny Oz could sell an elephant his own trunk and make the elephant laugh in the doing.
I changed for the banquet then was on banquet duty for the rest of the night. I got to enjoy the banquet (which I did, muchly) but I also was there for questions and problems and making sure everyone knew the drinks arrangements. It made me realise how awesome Karen is, because she was on this kind of background duty all the time. No-one blinked an eye about me turning from guest to committee, just as no-one had puzzled over my presence at the reggo desk on Friday or my presence at the CSFG desk when Scott needed a bit of a breather. My mind games were a complete failure this convention. I need to retrain.
Sunday morning I caught up with a bunch of things and missed all the panels. No heckling the evil overlord panel, alas, though one of my Evil Henchpeople from last year was there in my stead. When I ask her how it went she nods sweetly and smiles even more sweetly. I suspect my Evil Overlordship status will soon be threatened.
After my morning of doing miscellaneous things I was on another panel. This was, for me, the best panel of the convention. We didn't have a big audience because it was opposite the launch of Margo Lanagan's book (Peter Strong, the bookseller, was ecstatic - "We sold everything" he said for the remainder of the convention. "We sold out."). We had 4 different minority groups and an anthropologically-trained chair talking about some of the less-discussed aspects of cultural appropriation. We talked about respect and consequences and self-definitions.
I had a one hour break then and spent it getting ready for 3 hours in a row of doing things, so I missed some awesome stuff and you'll have to rely on other reports for it.
My 3 pm slot was my guest speech. If you missed it, all I can do is laugh, because it was full of all the things I promised. I won't tell you that Bruce Gillespie wants to print it, though, because that will mean you feel good about not being there, and you shouldn't. Everyone there got a truly awful Star Trek joke, plus the news about Life through Cellophane ahead of anyone else. Apparently I was so emotional I trembled, but that may just have been overexhaustion. I definitely teared-up.
There was apparently a brilliant panel at 4 pm (and I was cursing missing it) on Accessing the dreaming (white Australians and indigenous mythology). Yaritji told me about it afterwards and I cursed even more. They were talking about the difference between wider copyright law (where the story isn't copyright, only the telling) and indigenous (where stories may be owned). I so need to learn more about this. Pity Yaritji had to go home - I could have chained her until she told me all she knew (which is a lot - she might not be comfortable after the first few hours - maybe that's why she left so quietly?).
At 5 pm I waltzed into what I thought was a shared world panel that had me on but turned out to be a panel on critical writing. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to have 4 hours of 5 in front of audiences in one afternoon? Ian Nicols kindly dealt with my loss of brain (or was that 'dealt kindly' - anyway, he kept things afloat until my brain returned from its wanderings, and I owe him). Donna was oddly absent, I now realise (my one panel with her, and she wasn't there!). Jenny Blackford and Bruce Gillespie are wonderful, BTW. Very good to be on a panel with. Very easy to bounce off and get riffs of conversation going. It was - in short - a good panel.
After that I spent some time with Purplezoners (dinner!) and then we looked up the Speakeasy but our feet were restless and we all went in different directions. My feet led my towards Baron Munchausen. I kept on getting foodstuff to build stories on, so my stories were very ordinary householding ones. That's the bad news. The good news is that my European geography is better than certain other peoples' (who shall remain nameless because they are taller than me) and I managed to pronounce 'automaton' correctly despite how very tired I was. Chris, I've never played the game before, but if you run it again I want in! (Everyone else should want in too, Chris Barnes makes it very, very funny - just don't ask him about rafts made of chickens).
Monday. Last day. Yesterday. I should be wearing mourning today because all that wonder and good friends is gone, part of my past.
On Monday everyone who missed the cream pie incident told me how sorry they were to miss it. I told them I wasn't sorry they missed it, I hope, but I really can't remember. By yesterday I was beyond tired.
I was very fortunate, though, because Felicity Pulman turned up to give a workshop. She's a good friend and a fine writer and we spent Jannatime. I can't wait to find out what happens to Janna in the next book and whenever she has a question for me, I know she is a step closer to a draft and I am a step closer to reading it. Mostly we talked generally yesterday, but next week I'm hoping for lots of questions. I love giving historical advice, being a teacherly sort of soul.
I forgot. I made one more panel. The one I confused the day before: the shared world one. I was a bit of a fish out of water, because the others are serious parts of major universes. We heard stories of making the train set of Superman and writing a Star Wars novel. All I have is New Ceres. I did a lot of listening and felt rather small, to be honest. I talked when I could and Karen Miller was excellent at finding ways of keeping me in the dialogue, but she and Lewis Morley and Marilyn Pride had the most to say, and with very good reason.
After that I got to be a participant again at the excellent grant writing workshop.
And after that it was 4 pm and it was all over. All except the closing ceremony. The closing ceremony was incredibly funny. I was so tired I couldn't stand up, so it's just as well I didn't have to line up with the rest of the committee. If anyone had insisted on it, someone would have had to carry me and prop me up. Liz Argall and Richard Harland are super-wonderful MCs, even when wearing wings and tiara (Richard) or looking and sounding like someone out of Anne Bishop (Liz).
The bar finally emptied about 11 pm, and Conflux was over.
PS for Confluxers (as Richard Harland said "Who're you going to call: Confluxers!") who wondered why I was very comfortable temperate while you were freezing in the airconditioning, it appears I still have that fine fever. This is a practical demonstration of the power of adrenaline and chocolate - I must have been operating on them the whole time!! To those friends who made me eat even though I wasn't hungry, many thanks. Before any of you can tell me to go see the doctor, I've already checked to see when he's available.
PPS Don't put milk in St John's Wort tea. It is really not a wise thing to do.