Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Things What I Learned at BCon pt5

Mes Amis


I can't speak. I cannot actually speak. My throat is dry as hell, my head is pounding and I feel nauseous. This isn't a hangover. I know from hangovers. I have to get up, however, and I do so slowly. I'm away today and I can't believe it. I intend fully to attend Linda Landrigan's short story workshop (She's the wonderful editor of AHMM) but I can barely move. When I can, I have a lot of packing to do - how am I going to fit all these books into my bag? Luckily I thought smart and brought a small folding bag so that helps.

I go downstairs to grab coffee, end up at breakfast with Donna Moore and a whole bunch of others. I'm learning slowly that Donna knows everyone in the universe and yet she still seems to have time for them all. I'm trying to join in but I'm fading fast. It doesn't stop me enjoying my eggs, though.

After breakfast I check out my bags and leave them with the luggage guys. I meet G Miki Hayden again and she gives me one of her books, signed over to me. She is such a nice person and extremely intelligent. We discuss the panel a bit and the life of a writer and its pleasing to find she thinks almost the same way I do. Its a hell of a business and we're all suckers for trying but most people who make it, well its doubtful they could be doing much else.

I intend to go back to the book room but I'm too late. All the same down there I meet some cool folks, mostly Rickards (again), Guthrie, John Schramm and the Jordans who pop up everywhere. I meet Steven Torres who's a nice guy and carries a large cardboard version of his book cover. He wishes someone had nicked it; he doesn't fancy shoving it into a bag. I would have nicked it, just because I love collecting odd things but I have no bag space left for anything. He also has some nice stuff to say about the panel I was on. I've met a few people with nice things to say about it, but I still can't help doing the head-down, gosh-I-didn't-know-what-I-was-doing thing. Guess I'll never be a true ego maniac.

There's a feeling of stuff closing down, now. I feel slightly sad. Me and Al Guthrie head up to check out the picnic but its really close to busting and we give up. Anyway, who holds a picnic indoors? Huh? I chat to a few more folks for a while and then head out to the city.


I do some gift buying, see a cow made of fibreglass and painted gold just standing in the middle of the street. David Hewson is out as well and points me towards the loop when he realises I'm lost and keep going round in circles.

Chicago is an amazing place and I wonder around a little stunned wishing I had more time to see the place. I wish I'd been there a day earlier or stayed a day later. But that can't be helped. I pick up a Dennis Farrina audio tour of the city for my Dad. It looks awful but just cheesy enough to be something you have to listen to and Dennis Farrina is cool ("Hey, you got one of those shirts that says "uncercover"?").

Returning to the hotel I have enough time for a drink with Rickards, Kernick, the clan Jordan (sans Jen who is off somewhere taunting some other fool about their verbal ticks, no doubt) and Pamala Burke. When I realise who she is I have a gushing fanboy moment about her Dad's work but luckily my bus is due and I stumble from the hotel. My voice is getting worse and I'm feeling very tired.

At the airport I almost faint in the queue. My voice is going and I feel sick. Once I'm checked in I try to relax but things get worse on the plane and I gives the poor stewardess a fright when I go up to get a drink but cannot form words. My voice is gone. I have the Rickards flu (the man has been coughing and spluttering the whole) and apparently altitude and recycled air does no good.


By the time I get back to the UK and have to wait around Dublin airport I'm looking like a corpse. I feel ready to die and can barely eat. Finally I get on the plane and its a short hop back to Glasgow. I'm meant to be meeting Beccy tonight but I feel like I can barely do it. However the show goes on and while it does mean I feel like real death for my travel back to Dundee the next morning, its all worthwhile.

And now I'm back and cold-filled and shivery and knackered but filled with an odd sense of satisfaction. I met so many cool people, scared only a few of them, and managed to make a few new friends (its hard to think simply of contacts with everyone being so nice) into the bargain. Unfortunately having done one I know I must do more. It gives me a chance to hang with some very cool people, to see what's hot and not in the field and more importantly it gives me a chance to travel to some place I'd really like to see.

Here's to next year!

Au revoir


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