So my brain has finally rebooted after SFContario2. I think it took this long since I was stuck in traffic in downtown Toronto for two hours, trying to get to the highway, due to what I assume was the Santa Claus parade.
Did I enjoy the con? Yes, definitely. It's always great to run into friends I only get to see at conventions and have a chance to catch up. Also, there were a lot of great panels and an overflow of great guests.
The highlight of the guests, for me at least, had to be John Scalzi, who was in full "performing monkey" mode. (His words, not mine). The Creation Museum slideshow on Saturday, where John took the audience through his photos of his trip to the Creation Museum while gently mocking it, was hilarious. I say "gently" mocking as at no point did he get into a fire and brimstone rant at how utterly moronic some of the notions expressed in the museum were. It was more like he took a pin, poked a hole, and deflated a great deal of mental hot air.
Another highlight was seeing J.M. Frey up and about. That woman is made of win. She recently went through abdominal surgery but still was able to show up and be pleasant and engaging, even if she was a bit tired. I'm glad to hear she's got another few books in the works, and I look forward to picking them up as they're released.
Another good thing was the Auroras. My friend Marie Bilodeau was up for best novel, and while she didn't win she was positive and upbeat, congratulating the winners and showing that, like J.M., she is also made of win. Marie didn't win this year but I'm sure there is a trophy with her name on it in the future. And hey, we were sitting at the table with the most winners that day. Maybe some of that good luck will rub off.
A personal highlight of the Auroras was being introduced to the other people at the table as a writer. While I do self-identify myself as a writer I am very careful not to claim myself as such. I'm self-deprecating on this, and call myself unpublished. One attendee was kind enough to call me "undiscovered". Be that as it may, to actually have someone else recognize me as a writer was a great mental boost.
The final highlight of the con for me was the final panel I attended. This was entitled "The Business of Writing", and the content pretty much matched the title. It started out with the moderator, Marie, throwing it open to questions to the audience. Mine was the first answered (helps when you know the moderator and slip her five bucks beforehand - no this didn't happen I'm joking). I asked what is the greatest business danger for new writers, and received some great answers and advice. Also, I learned a great trick to remember for myself when on panels in the future. Scalzi looked directly at me and made eye contact while answering my question, even though he was second or third to answer. This may seem like a small thing, but it took that moment from "hey thanks for giving us something to talk about" to "hey here's some information you could find useful". He acknowledge that I was the one asking the question and addressed the answer to me as opposed to being someone standing on high making grand pronouncements.
In no way should this take away from the contributions of the other panelists as they provided great advice/information as well, but it did strike me as something I should pay attention to if I'm on a panel and answering a question.
Going to conventions is a learning experience for me in addition to being enjoyable. I'm looking forward to next year's conventions as I think I'm done for 2011 at this point.
Would I go to another SFContario? Yes, but probably not next year as World Fantasy is in town then and I've already registered and booked a hotel room.