Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ad Astra 2015 - Day Two: Personal Reflection

I'd like to quote Mark Twain, if I may: "I've lived through a lot of catastrophes in my life, some of which actually happened."

I offer that quote partly because quoting Mark Twain makes me seem infinitely smarter and wiser than I actually am. If I quoted from Plato, I might never get over myself. Mostly, though, it's relevant to my Saturday at Ad Astra. I dreaded 'going into battle' with the panelist I mentioned in my last post, whom I had to deal with in more than one panel yesterday. I thought of ways to score cheap points against this person, silly ways of dealing with them, or strategies wherein I could be the 'bigger man' and not let it bother me. Even though it totally would have bothered me.

And, like my friend and personal masseuse Mark Twain, I had nothing to worry about. We got along (not famously, but just enough), and by the end of the evening I went away with a deeper understanding of this person. I'm glad it turned out that way, but I am also grateful for this experience in general. I was genuinely scared to face this person again today - not because I was scared of them, but because I wasn't sure I could deal with it in a way that would leave me satisfied. This is a personal battle I've fought many times in the presence of difficult people, and I'd often come away feeling like a loser. "Don't let them bother you," people would say, but they'd always neglect to tell me how. When I went to do my panels yesterday evening, I was prepared to 'not be bothered'. Whatever happened, I would keep my cool and accept that I could not change this person, and scoring the cheap victories I'd imagined would only make things worse.

Did those panels go perfectly? No, not quite. I felt out of my depth in a couple of them, especially the one on romance in YA fiction. I'll write more about that later (because I have to catch a bus very soon!). However, I did come away from yesterday feeling satisfied. For me, it was a good start.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ad Astra 2015 - Thoughts on the First Day

This one's completely in-the-moment, off the cuff. I usually write my posts out longhand first, but I'm winging this one for the sake of brevity and timeliness. As in, if I write it right now, there's a good chance I'll post it sometime close to when it happened! Fighting back against laziness and unmotivation, you know.

Yes, unmotivation. That's totally a word now. You're welcome.

Yesterday afternoon I made myself a pot roast in the crock pot, and ate a nice yummy bowlful before heading out to the Sheraton in Richmond Hill. I was concerned about timeliness, but that wasn't an issue at all. The trip was smooth and painless, and I got registered in no time at all. I went straight to the dealer's room to find friends, and find them I did! I had a lovely time chatting, catching up and making future plans. I also had to answer that inevitable question (and honestly, I should be damn grateful people are asking it): when are my ebooks going to come out in print? Not yet, I'm afraid. But perhaps sooner than even I would have thought...

Then came my first panel, Escape from Horror Remakes and the end of Neverending Sequels IV - Revenge of the Remakequel. Though I was optimistic and looking forward to a good bit of banter, I also had a small feeling of dread. There was someone on this panel who, based on their interactions with me in the past, I've concluded doesn't like me at all. The panel did nothing to disprove that notion. Indeed, this person had a go at me right from the start, and proceeded to dominate the panel. We've all had to deal with people who can't stand the sound of someone else's voice. The moderator tried repeatedly to include myself and one other panelist in the discussion, to very little avail. Not a pleasant experience.

I'm trying to learn from it. After all, people like that are everywhere - I've had more than a few bosses and one doctor who dominated me through sheer force of not listening. I have more panels with this person today. My goal is not to beat this person at their own game, but just to figure out how to deal with it without feeling like I'm being stomped on. I have an opportunity for personal growth. Best not waste it.

More catching up took place after the panel, and soon drinks came into the picture. Overall, a good first night.

Now it's Saturday, and I really need to get off the computer, throw myself together and get back to the Sheraton. I want to have lunch with friends, attend a book launch, and generally have a good time before my four panels this evening.

Here's my remaining schedule for the weekend:

Signing Sessions ◼ ◼

Time: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Rooms: Richmond A, Richmond B

Why Are We Fighting the Same War? Inclusiveness from 1970 to Now ◼

Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Room: Newmarket

Mummy is Hot for Edward Cullen: 50 shades of Monster Romance ◼ ◼ ◼

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Room: Oakridge

Someone Else's Playground: Flattery, Lawsuits and the Organization of Transformative Works and Culture ◼

Time: 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Room: Newmarket

Favourite Doctor: Why Peter Capaldi is Awesome... Or Not ◼

Time: 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Room: Markham B

And on Sunday:
Summer Sci-Fi Trailer Park ◼

Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Room: Richmond C & D

Russell T. Davis vs, Stephen Moffat - Female Doctors, Story Arcs and the Death of the Doctor ◼

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Room: Aurora

If all goes well, I'll post about the weekend as soon as I get home Sunday afternoon.