April 6th, 2010

natcon50

Swancon 2010

I'm sitting at home, waiting for my laptop to recharge. My car is unpacked but I haven't looked at starting to unpack all the bags and boxes. My objective is to always come home with less books than I took to a con and whilst I think I have succeeded in this, this year, I also gained two large plastic boxes of materials for the child care room. Which means it's kinda dawning on me that we really are the con com now.

I had a really lovely weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had a fantastic location for Twelfth Planet Press and so many people came by to say hi, to buy books and to chat. Fantastic Planet were also really kind and helped me out with eftpos facilities - small press starts to go high tech! I worked a lot of the con so I was excited to get out and see the book launches (I love seeing new books), sat on a panel with Amanda and Stefan about perfectly packaging science fiction and we got to talk about our favourite topic (books), launching Swancon 2011, the Tin Ducks and the WASFF Meeting (yes, well).

Launching Swancon 2011 was so exciting! I hate keeping secrets and not being able to tell everyone who our guests are and which hotel and what we have planned was excruciating! But I also don't really like public speaking very much and have been trying to both forget and psych myself up for the moment. I was really happy with it in the end - the drinks looked really cool (we had fanta and champagne with blue food dye in martini glasses) and balloons. A big thank you to Cat Sparks who put together a gorgeous nostalgic photo presentation of fans at cons over the years. And also thank you to those who supplied photos - Cat, Sally Beasley, Stephen Dedman and Terry Dowling. Tehani presented the launch for us with Amanda's technical assistance with the playing of videos from each of the guests. And it turns out, I don't mind so much if I get to have a microphone!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped us pull off the launch. I've been on a steep learning curve as a "first time convenor" and I suspect I will be on the steep learning curve for a while longer. But I have to say that from this position, you get to have the best view of our community. Because you get to see the people who make up our community and the way these events get pulled off - and how many people just do stuff in the background because they know how and they can see it needs to be done. The number of times this weekend that I turned around in urgent need of help and it was there, was just amazing. And also in the lead up to the con, we received so much help along the way to pull this all off in time: budget approval, venue contract signed and so on. It's also all the little things that you don't really know about - like having a big enough float in the right denominations, having the right receipt books, having all the tables that you want in the room that you want at the time that you need them. A big thank you to Rohan and Elaine for all their help behind the scenes and also the Swancon 2010 committee who were awesome and helped us make everything run smoothly for what we needed to get done. And to those who just dived in and helped cause they could see it was needed - Linda, Chris, Rohan and I'm sure I've forgotten lots of people. I'm excited to get to be part of the behind the scenes this year and see how all the magic is done.

Thank you also to all the people who have emailed or approached one of us in person and already volunteered to help in some way over the next year. This community really is amazing and awesome.

This weekend was also had some really proud moments for Twelfth Planet Press. The Tin Ducks ceremony was a lot of fun and the Tin Ducks were - well, they were the bird flu microbe mounted on a wooden base. Stephen Dedman won the Best WA Short Story category for "Fair Trade" which we published in New Ceres Nights! A Book of Endings was awarded Best WA Professional Production. The launch of New Ceres Nights was awarded the Best WA Fan Production - enormous thanks to Liz Grzyb who made all the costumes, to Kate, Cat, Tehani and Liz who read out excerpts at the launch (and dressed up as 18th Century ladies with me) and to Tehani who helped me make sooooooo many teeny cupcakes and sorted all the coffee and tea and milo to help recreate a New Ceresian Coffee House in which we launched our book. And finally, but no means least, Amanda Rainey won the Best WA Professional Art Tin Duck for the cover design for Roadkill/Siren Beat!

Then we finished off the Swancon weekend with a 4.5 hour long WASFF AGM. I knew it would be looooong and full of lots of debate so I brought a sock to knit. If I'd been able to remember how to turn the heel properly instead of having to unpick it at least 6 times, I just might have finished the whole thing in the meeting. As it is, I got a fair way towards the end of the gusset. Much was debated. Much change was voted in. It means that as a con convenor I will have an extra meeting commitment as I now sit on both the WASFF Board and the Swancon Steering Committee. That kinda dawned on me at about 1am this morning - I will have to find the time! On the other hand, I want to be able to share what we learn and the momentum we hope to generate with the con after ours and hope that they will be able to do the same. I want to be a part of seeing through the ideas that we have thrown around, and the ways we can see might help foster and grow specfic in WA and Swancon. So ... I guess this means I have to put my money where my mouth is!

I finished off my con by sitting on the registration desk, helping to sell some more memberships to our con etc. And then had a lovely dinner with Chris before he headed off home. I stayed an extra night and that made packing up and checking out much less stressful this morning.

Now, there is nothing left to do but start working for next year! But today I'm going to spend the day with Twelfth Planet Press and my taxes, both of whom feel most neglected!

See you all at the first Swancon movie screening later this month - all the details are on the Swancon website. and in PR0. And the rest of you at Worldcon in September!

Willow

Post-Swancon

I enjoyed the drinks and catch up that I managed to have but didn't spend nearly enough time with friends this Swancon. I decided this year that I was sick of feeling increasingly ill as the con progresses so I prepared a bunch of stuff including gluten free and dairy free snacks for in the room and at the trading table. I tried to drink more water, less alcohol and eat better, healthy meals rather than crappy food on the fly. I also made myself go to bed earlier that usual. In some ways I felt like a spoilsport but on the other, I didn't have an increasingly bad headache, sore stomach and zombie-like headspace. And I seem to have bounced back much better today that normal. And - no sore throat or lost voice (though there were moments where I thought it was starting to go).

I did get to see a bit of narrelle which I am happy about - though more time would have been better. She was in excellent form. Til she wasn't. And I didn't get to say goodbye! Perhaps it's just adieu?!

Today I was checked out by 9.30 and home not long after that. I never get a day off to just ... do whatever it is that I would do on such a day. I decided to head down to jonathanstrahan's old haunt and see what it was like to work there. Divine, as it turns out. I took my laptop and Robot War Espresso and sat and edited for a couple of hours before I had an appointment. It's such a nice space and the coffee is good. I got a fair bit of work done. I may go to work there again - though it was probably good because it was a Tuesday after lunch. When I normally go, it's pretty packed and not really a space for working.

I popped in to my mother's before heading off to go pick up Benji. He'd had a lovely weekend, it seems. He fitted in fine. Ran with the big boys. And slept on the man's bed with not a peep out of him during the night. No biting. No barking. Harumph! I arrived in the dark and the man came out to greet me, calling Benji's name out into the night. I heard nothing. I called out and got one bark back. And then eventually I was aware of movement in the dark and then could see Benji trotting down to the gate to me. He was pretty cool when I was handed him but in the car he licked my left arm all the way home. He got a bath. And now he's sleeping, curled up at my feet. I've been warned he may sleep for a few days :)

Tomorrow chores lie before me. And lunch with a friend. I better find time to work out what I am wearing to the wedding on the weekend. And finish my taxes. But tonight? I might go to bed early. I got back into the habit of reading before bed over this last weekend. Would be nice to keep it up.

Ooh and despite having internet access all weekend, my email inbox is again out of control. If I take time to answer, I'm getting there. I promise!