Monday, 11 July 2011

A Wonderful Weekend

I don't get out much. Most weekends see me catching up on laundry, cleaning bathrooms and assisting with homework rather than slinging a smart little suitcase in the back of the car and whizzing off for a couple of days of fun/heavy drinking/inspiration - however, that's exactly what I did this weekend when I went to the RNA conference at Caerleon. (Except for the 'smart little suitcase' bit, but more of that later.)

For reasons mostly to do with deadlines and looming summer holidays this was my first conference, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect beyond beautiful shoes and lots of wine consumption. Having been the kind of person who always had ten good reasons to go to the union bar instead of a lecture when I was at university I certainly wasn't anticipating wanting to go to every single session, but that's pretty much what happened. From Lizzie Kremer's opening talk on contracts to lovely Sara Craven's summing-up speech I only missed one, when tiredness and the need for tea got the better of us and Natalie Rivers and I sloped back to our flat. (Very good thing indeed that the conference goody bags had been visted by the Green & Blacks fairy - my bar of fruit and nut was practically medicinal by that stage.)

Aside from being monumentally motivating, it was just fabulous to get together with people I don't see nearly often enough and meet lots of new friends, including new medical author Scarlet Wilson. Am sure her books will be as funny and smart and fantastic as she is, so we're all in for a treat. She's also incredibly glamorous, but you'll just have to take my word for that as this is the moment when I have to admit that I have returned home without a single photo. (Again. *sheepish look*) I'm going to say this was due to chucking all my stuff into a bigger suitcase five minutes before I had to leave for the station on Friday, having broken the zip on the small one trying to close it, and forgetting to retrieve my camera from the little pocket, but in all honesty I didn't even notice I hadn't taken it until I got home. Too busy talking to do photos, obviously.

Amongst the many highlights of the weekend were the dinner on Saturday night, when we were lucky enough to share a table with all four gorgeous M&B editors (and were the last to leave the hall at sometime after 1 am...) Fiona Harper's utterly brilliant talk on Getting Emotion on the Page, finally coming up with a pretty satisfactory 'elevator pitch' sentence for the book I'm trying to write in Jane Wenham-Jones' excellent session (with help from Fiona) and - now I come to think of it - just thinking about books and writing for a whole weekend, without having to apply my mind to the contents of the fridge and what to do with them. (The mini-fridge in my room contained a pint of milk and the aforementioned bar of Green and Blacks. No probs thinking what to do with either of those. Maybe should recreate this at home.)

The strangest part was seeing so many faces that were half-familiar from twitter profile pics, and being too shy to approach most of them. It's a funny old thing - like falling into a book and where you know all the characters, but suspecting that you'll come across as a total scary weirdo-stalker if you behave as such. Wonder if this is an age thing? Suspect the yoof of today are much better at making the transition between cyber and real world. Will try to be braver next time.

The train home was ancient, filthy and vastly overcrowded but I had plenty to think about, and I'm not just talking about the salacious details of the conversation the women opposite me were having. Back at home He seemed to have managed fine without me, which was a little impolite, I felt. However, online shop arrived last night and it transpired he had forgotten to order biscuits. *smug face* I would never do that. Nice to know I am needed after all.

Now. Must write book.


Morton S Gray said...

Lovely to see you again India. I felt very inspired by the conference and hope to go again next year for more days. Mx

India said...

So glad to hear you're planning to go next year Morton. I think it really is a useful event. The fact that it's also ENORMOUS FUN is entirely coincidental...

Sharon Kendrick said...

Ooh, this was a brilliant post, India - you made it sound delectable (and not just the G & B chocolate!) and you've inspired me to go to an RNA conference - cos I've never been to one before. (MIght have attempted this year's but was in New York and clearly do not have the stamina of Fiona Harper, who was also in America!).

You've also intrigued me about elevator pitch - is this where you try to describe your book in a sentence?

India said...

Yes, - elevator pitch (as featured on last night's Apprentice final, excitingly enough) is when you have to sell your book in a couple of sentences. The key, apparently, is to be specific and state clearly what actually happens - what the characters do, rather than vague, grand themes. It's an interesting exercise!

Would be great if you did come next year - old friends and new ideas, all in one place, with free G&B chocolate. What could be better?!

Trenda Plunket (a.k.a. Kalliope Bell) said...

Wonderful to see you back, India. I spent a week out of state with my sister back in April, and dh kept the kiddos. I enjoyed my trip but felt a bit lost with no one asking me to help them find their spectacles and shoes. Was very glad to be back home where I was needed!!! (Very gratifying to hear my MIL worried my children weren't sleeping or eating properly and really, when was the last time they brushed their teeth, Brian?...Hehe, she does approve of me!) Must say though, she worried for nothing. He made an excellent stay at home daddy. :-)

Have a wonderful day!