I'm well. Feeling good and refreshed, which is odd, because usually conventions leave me drained, exhausted and, though satisfied, generally unable to function. Not so, this time. This is largely because I made a point of going to bed at a reasonable hour, and not running myself ragged.
It also helped that I wasn't manning a table, either, so I didn't have to be continually "on" the whole day. There is a great deal of value to being able to hide for a bit, to switch off for a little while, and recoup. I did a fair amount of this time, because I could get away.
Ad Astra was not as scary as I had anticipated. These things are rarely as scary as I anticipate, but they can be very scary.
I am incredibly fortunate in that I had good company. The drive up, I was accompanied by the always wonderful Derek Künsken, who played the part of driver, and also with brilliant Nicole Lavigne, who, I should inform you, is an incredible baker. It was one of the most entertaining drives, ever.
Upon arriving, there was a whole slew of writers from Ottawa I knew, not to mention Toronto natives I have met and befriended at previous Can-Cons in Ottawa.
Having so many familiar and friendly faces around certainly helped with the crushing anxiety I always feel in strange surrounds amongst strangers. It was so much fun to reconnect with awesome people. And I even managed to make new friends. Go me.
I will say, part of Can-Con's strength is in their fantastic programming. The programming at Ad Astra was not as strong, but I did head out to a fair number of panels.. A stand out was a panel on the origins of religion and folklore. They concentrated on far more modern developments, which is a little out of my field, but it was fiercely interesting, and Peter Watt told the funniest story about the shenanigans he got up to while doing field work.
Had I been there, I'd be burying his body somewhere, I'm sure. It was hilarious to listen to, so many years after the fact. It would not have been much fun to experience.
I learnt nothing new at the panel about how to get a literary agent, except I did manage to acquire a healthy dose of envy (happy envy, though. I love hearing success stories. It gives me hope).
Something I really appreciated at Ad Astra is that they had a gorgeous art gallery. It was one of my favourite places to disappear to when everything was getting overwhelming. There' something about walking around a quiet room, with beautiful pieces of art for company that really helps calm me down.
So, day 1 - we arrived, checked in, and headed downstairs for registration and the first few panels. There were parties happening after the panels ended, but I was finding myself a little too much on the tired side, so I went into hiding in my hotel room.
Day 2 - was a lot of programming stuff. Before that, however, I ran into Marie Bilodeau, who would be on of my roomies that night. It turned into a 20 minute driving adventure, most of which was spent laughing. There are few people who make me feel as at ease and make me laugh quite as much as Marie. She's good people.
I had trouble picking panels to attend, as not too many of them grabbed my interest. I did attend a few, though. One of the best of day two was the panel about Hellmaw, the first of Ed Greenwood's shared world publishing enterprises. It was hilarious and really interesting. It gave me a story idea, as well, so perhaps I might throw in a pitch for a novel in the world. Who knows?
There were a couple of other panels to attend, which I did, and then I retreated once more to gather my strength for the ChiZine Publishing's room party. That was fun, and the number of people in attendance was quite something! Of course, it became a little overwhelming, so around 10:00pm, I bowed out and went to bed. It was the good choice, as Derek later informed me.
I did not attend any panels Sunday, preferring instead to catch up with my good friend Tim and later do a little bit of writing while I awaited the rest of the gang to arrive from their lunch and begin the return journey to Ottawa.
And the drive back to Ottawa was just as entertaining as the drive in, and we had the magnificent company of Chad Ginther. Honestly, I'd road trip with these people any day. The drive was almost more fun than the convention! Almost.
I know this isn't really an in-depth look at Ad Astra, and I'm sorry. As I was there as merely an attendee this time, I neglected to make the mental notes I normally make. Sorry!
In any case, I think I will make a habit of attending Ad Astra. The jury is out as to whether I'll purchase a table, but I'll certainly volunteer for programming the next time.
Well, that's all I have time for. With Daughters of Britain away with Beta Reader number two, I have the rewrite of The Third Prince to attend to.