Ah, the sadness and the gladness of endings! It had to happen, I suppose. Sunday’s trip back up to Manchester was hellish – didn’t sleep a wink, cos I had a new novel turning in my overtired brain. A science fantasy called Lifer. Had to start writing it there and then. I blame Brian Aldiss. Couldn’t even sleep that night cos I had to do more. Then up at a hideously early time on Monday to get to the uni and start teaching. Agony.
Still, a day off tomorrow, when I will have to check with a couple of publishers that I didn’t entirely imagine certain conversations we had. I’d also better check whether I owe anyone apologies for poor behaviour. Heh. As if!
What was the highlight of the event? Maybe doing a deep voice competition with Pat Rothfuss. Maybe calling him the Dwarf King. Maybe asking him if he’s a nature poet who writes in the tradition of Walt Whitman. Maybe being unexpectedly kissed by some drunk American woman at the bar (she was probably committing assault, but I’ll forgive her). Meeting the Charlie’s Angels of Belgium? Being mesmerised by Scott Lynch? Maybe chewing the fat with Joe Hill (very tall man – I’ll forever be in his shadow). Hanging out with Tom Lloyd. So many things.
The lowlight? The emotional difficulty of navigating what Brian Aldiss calls the strange mix of competition and collaboration that is human life? Trying not to be upset when blanked by certain people? Trying not to turn into the Hulk. Nah, none of that. The lowlight was leaving behind so many friends that I might not see again for another year.
Glad I went really. And I love Titan books and the whole of France (even the unwashed bits).