Friday, September 30, 2011

Conflux day one

It was a big day, although not a big day spent at the conference!
Just getting down to Canberra was nearly four hours in the car - and four hours of dealing with crazy drivers.
A couple of things I noticed:
If your 4WD is too big to stay in one lane, then you probably have some major body compensation issues.
And what part of ``Keep Left Unless Overtaking'' do people not understand? When you've got caravans doing 90km/h in the fast lane and dozens of people queued behind, you would think they might notice.
The HarperCollins rep for Canberra and South Coast, Jodi, told me today she reckons it's the theory of ``If my name isn't on it, then it doesn't apply to me''. I think she's right!
When I hit Canberra, I hit the bookstores. Sadly, the local bookstore scene is much reduced since the last time I was down here, with the Borders and A+R stores all gone.
Luckily the three Dymocks are still alive and well and truly kicking - I did Belconnen at lunchtime and then Canberra Central in the afternoon.
Canberrans love their books and I talked to a great many fascinating people - including several authors and people who want to be authors.
One of the most memorable was actually a bloke called Henry.
He didn't buy the whole trilogy, just book one, but he stood out.
You see, I always ask people, ``Do you like reading?'' and then if they stop, I then talk to them about the books and go from there.
He gave me the reply - ``I don't read''.
Usually I just smile and then turn away, but Henry wanted to talk. After chatting, he decided to buy the first book.
For a writer, that's a huge responsibility. If he doesn't get into this, then he might be turned off reading.
I hope, I really hope, that he gets into it and develops a love of reading.
I sold, I think, getting on for 50 books at the two stores (I'll have to go back into Twitter to check!)
Then I checked into the hotel before rushing off to check into Conflux.
I have the nasty feeling the hotel may be a big mistake. With Floriade, there was nothing available for two nights in the mid-range price. I'm in the Formule 1. It's cheap. For a reason. Still, there's always the hope the bed might be comfortable ...
The first panel at Conflux was on media franchises and while it was an interesting discussion, I wasn't able to make the point I had been thinking about when I signed up for it.
I see the development of spin-offs and fan fiction etc around TV shows and films as a demonstration of pure imagination, the imagination that speculative fiction fans need.
That's imagination being used for a positive thing.
Of course everyone has imagination but, sadly, too many people use it for purposes such as:
1) Imagining their bum does look good in those pants
2) Imagining that calling their kid Britney - but with two `i's, three `t's and four `e's is creative
3) Imagining that footballers with the morals of an alley cat and the sexual appetite of a randy goat make good role models for little Brittteeneei and her brother Cooper (spelt with a K, two `p's and two `h's)

Anyway, plenty of panels and one more bookstore tomorrow!
And the strange room at Formule 1 awaits ...

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