“Witness my banana.”

Dear reader, it’s been a week since Nine Worlds, which doesn’t feel quite right. Here’s my write-up-of-sorts – a small one because yesterday I cleared out my mother’s flat and I’m a bit tired (hence the slight vagueness of this entry).

Nine Worlds was overall splendid – it was so good to catch up with old friends, make new ones and go to various interesting talks and panels on all things geeky. There were a couple of organisational problems and the hotel’s standard of service was a bit low (unlike the price of the drinks), but I’m already looking forward to Nine Worlds 2016 (and thinking of what I could submit for another talk). Due to that fatigue crash I mentioned in an earlier entry, I ended up still writing my talk while at Nine Worlds, which wasn’t fantastic – I had to miss several things I wanted to go to in order to keep plugging away, but I finished writing it about twelve hours before it was due to be presented.  It was seriously, wonderfully delightful to bimble on about Dystopian London to a whole roomful of people at nine o’clock on a Sunday morning, who were clearly listening as they laughed in the right places.

The walking stick and the noodles

One aspect of Nine Worlds that I loved was how everyone is welcome – I was using my walking stick for most of the weekend and not once did I get a nasty stare or question of ‘what did you do to yourself?’ (The next time I’m asked that by a stranger I’m going all-out and answering ‘fought with a tiger’. Silly question, silly answer) It was annoying to have to stump around all weekend and take afternoon naps due to fatigue, but the attitude of Nine World-ers was much better than that of the people on the Piccadilly Line come Monday morning. After that journey, I’m going to be answering any unpleasant stares I catch with a big, bright smile, as I’ve had quite enough of stares like those I caught on the journey back across London. Either that or I do what I’ve been threatening for a while and make a glittery walking stick so bright that nobody will be able to stare at it for long.

Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a rant. I had some foodie fun this year, as after last year I don’t really trust the food at the convention hotel and didn’t really fancy McDonald’s three times a day. Unfortunately my appetite wasn’t up to much, probably due to stress and tiredness, but I still managed to make banana and honey sandwiches for breakfast and noodles for lunch or dinner (one nest of thin noodles, broken into a thermos flask, with a pinch of salt, pinch of chilli flakes, one or two chicken stock cubes, thin slices of red bell pepper – pour in boiling water until it covers the noodles, stir and then seal with the lid for about five minutes). The rest of the time, I had pieces of fruit and slices of homemade brownies – I’d also brought couscous and small tins of fish and other vegetables, but didn’t get round to them. Small juice cartons and hot chocolate sachets, topped up with individual portions of UHT milk, were also a good alternative to water and what was available in the bar.

The monsterclass and the apocalypse

In between slurping up chicken-chilli noodles and quaffing hot chocolate while frantically beavering away at my laptop, I managed to get to some panels and other events. The publishing monsterclass was especially useful, even if it means I’m having to do a redraft of The Novel. It’s a good redraft, though, and will just mean that I’ll be writing what I find fun rather than trying to be a Serious Novelist. I think I gave that idea up when I wrote something about a zombie hot water bottle (don’t worry, dear reader, I won’t inflict it on you). I worked pretty solidly for most of Friday, giving myself the evening off to attend Historical Heroines and the Film Quiz – there was Shatner-style karaoke again and I couldn’t miss that. On Saturday I crashed again and didn’t manage to get to very much, but a nap perked me up enough to get to the evening entertainments and, as mentioned, to finish writing. After delivering my talk on Sunday morning, I went to panels on disability and the apocalypse (which I had to leave early due to needing food and a lie-down) and getting into comics. Another nap later, I took part in the end-of-the-con quiz with some friends and narrowly avoided winning Marmite-flavoured rock. Even though I didn’t manage to do everything I wanted to, I still had a really good time – working on the assumption that I’ll get a chance to be involved again next year, I’ll be sure to give myself even more time to finish whatever it is I get to present before the start of Nine Worlds. Perhaps then I can do a bit more than I managed to, which would be nice.

The chrome banana, the endorphins and bumping back to reality

I had the chance to catch up with a lot of friends at Nine Worlds, some of whom I hadn’t seen since last year, and to make some new ones, which was lovely. It was so good to be around my friends again that I ended up missing a couple of panels I’d intended to go to, but when a game of Exploding Kittens is about to start and someone is doing their best to cover a banana in edible metallic spray paint, there’s not much competition. I also had the opportunity to be fixed by one of these new friends, who fiddled with my muscles until I felt quite a bit better; I was also so full of endorphins that I ended up giggling that I was a Furby. I’ve no idea why, either.

11121102_10152991371732624_722617586_nI headed home on Monday, having stayed another night in order to prevent any more crashing, and came home to find that Barney had missed me to the point of draping himself across or next to me for the following twenty-four hours. I woke up the next morning to find him gazing into my face, purring loudly. He was also around for ‘con crash’ at two in the morning, which is a particularly unpleasant time for such things, and offered up a fluffy belly to stroke until I felt better.

Nine Worlds has given me a lot to think about, both in terms of writing professionally and how I can do more than I realise, even when shaking with fatigue and pain. So, thank you, Nine Worlds, for being awesome and for marking the one-year anniversary of this blog (!).

In the next entry, I’ll have a few odds and ends to think about, as well as more usual subjects like cake, Barney and writing. Until next Sunday, dear reader.

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