Monday, 14 November 2011


Just back from an excellent weekend in Nottingham at Novacon41. Novacon is the UKs longest running SF con, but it was my first visit. It was good. A lot of familiar faces from past Eastercons.

The main program was only single stream but there was a lot of quality on offer. One of the highlights was Prof Meghan Gray from Nottingham Uni. talking about Dark Matter. She seemed to pitch it just right for the audience. I got a lot of good stuff down in the notebook, salted away for later use once the subconscious has had time to turn it into something weirder than it already is.

The guest of honour was John Meaney and he gave a few good talks, including the one where he more or less hypnotised the entire audience to get us to write every day. Did it work? Well, I’m away on a conference this week, a day-job thing, and I was up at five this morning getting in a bit of writing before breakfast. First time I’ve done that in a long time. Thank you, John. I wasn’t so thrilled about the part of the session where he got everyone to pair-up, close their eyes and describe what they were visualising to their partners.  I saw nothing. The blackness that hides behind my eyelids, nothing else. What has happened to my imagination? My wife saw all kinds; fields, rivers, mountains – she felt the wind on her face and smelled the scent of the flowers. Perhaps I was in a cave, or a falling into a black hole - who knows? But I got quite anxious about it. Being unable to visualise anything at all is not a comfortable state of affairs for someone who thinks of himself as a writer. John Meaney was very good about it. “Isaac Asimov couldn’t visualise, either,” he said. Hmm. Maybe it’s just a phase; the pressure of the moment.
I tried again today during the day-job conference. Bingo! Full day-dreaming mode has been restored.

What else at Novacon? Oh yes, I did well at the art auction, coming away with a limited edition David Hardy calendar for 2012 – one of only six. It is gorgeous. 12 fabulous pictures that I will frame when I get to the end of next year. It is going to look great hanging in my study.
Overall a very successful weekend. Lots of writing ideas. Back to the keyboard with renewed vigour.

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