Monday, October 24, 2011


Autumn in Western Mass

Monday, October 24, 2011
Day before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and crisp

Playing catch-up on oh-so-many levels. Friday, I was sick and frustrated and just over it all. I left after lunch and hit Sturbridge around 3-ish. I checked in to the Publick House Inn — I had a deal to get a good rate. Unfortunately, I could only get one night, because the next day, they had a wedding and the entire place was booked. But one night was better than nothing, so I took it.

I wasn’t in the main, historic building. I was in the outbuildings, more like Catskill motel rooms than anything else. My room was fine, although have you ever seen so much toile in your life? And I’m not a fan of toile. Fortunately, I thought it was hilarious, and the tiny balcony was nice, too.

I settled in, ran some errands, had someone come up to fix the heat which wouldn’t turn on. I had dinner in the tavern, enjoying myself and eavesdropping shamelessly. I even jotted down some notes on a cocktail napkin to use in the presentation the next day. I had the roast duck in a cranberry glaze with sausage stuffing and sweet potatoes, paired with a wonderful Argentinean wine. Very good.

I worked on my presentation a bit, but went to bed early, because I felt like crap. Someone from the conference had called while I was on the road, but the message felt more like they were worried I’d make a scene, rather than trying to make things right.

Up at 5:30 the next morning, yoga, shower, ran through the presentation again, packed the car, checked out, had breakfast at the inn. A group of people were whining about the very good coffee — I walked out before I bitch-slapped the whole group silly. These people were idiots. They didn’t seen the coffee made in front of them; therefore, because it came out of an urn, they were going to bitch about it.

I’d woken up with a hacking cough and NO voice — was a little worried, but some slippery elm at least got me croaking again.

It took me a little less than an hour to drive to the conference. The color’s more advanced in Western Mass than there on the Cape. It was lovely. There were people to help me unload, which was great. I parked ‘round the back, close to where my actual presentation room was, which later made re-loading the car much easier.

Met Corrina Lawson, with whom I’ve been tweeting for months. She is SO wonderful. I mean, she’s always been wonderful on Twitter, but she’s even more fun in person. Terrific person. Unfortunately, we were presenting at the same time, so we couldn’t attend each other’s sessions!

Keynote speaker was great, again emphasizing the need to sit down and do the work. First session was good, but I had to excuse myself a couple of times when I felt a coughing fit come on. I didn’t want to be distracting, and it was less distracting to slip out of the room and cough up a lung in the ladies’ room than do it in session.

My own session was fun. I barely sat down — I was walking around, using the props. I hadn’t trusted them to supply me with the easel and the pad of paper, so I got my own pad of paper and pre-wrote bits I wanted to display. They did come through (I know, I was shocked, too), but I already had my stuff, so that’s what we used. They got their handouts, I made them WRITE in class. And what they wrote was good. They embraced the exercises and the energy of the presentation. And bore with my failing voice, which lasted for the session, and then got weaker and weaker. Sold some books, answered a lot of questions. Had help reloading the car.

I think people had a good time — most of the presentations were panels with Q&A. They were great, but mine was really different, which I think was a good contrast. This was more interactive and made them apply what we discussed in the moment, rather than them thinking about it and maybe using it “someday.”

Lunch was fun — buffet style, soups and salads (good quality), small tables, real linens and silverware. Very nice spread. We had lots of fun, lively discussion at the table.

I managed to connect with the student who’d brought me into the conference and we got some of the frustrations sorted. I still think they should have come up with a SOLUTION instead of just shrugging when they found out about the series of fuck-ups, but whatever. I HAVE a solution for next year, which I will send them, and I’m resentful because it’s not my job. It’s my job to provide what is asked and do a kick-ass presentation, not fix THEIR fuck-ups. But, as a B’way pal said, “We’re in production. That’s what we DO. Solve problems. People who aren’t in production can’t see that there’s more than one possibility. That’s why they’re NOT in production.” Well, putting on a conference is being in production, as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, I lasted through one more speaker, and then I knew I was fading fast, hacking up not just lungs but all kinds of additional organs, and just miserable. I excused myself, got in the car, and drove all the way back to the Cape.

I was in my own bed before 8 PM.

Granted, I caught myself going 90 mph. I was thinking, “Wow, people are really slow today” and then looked at the speedometer. Oops. I’m usually more careful than that.

I stayed pretty quiet, yesterday, although I observed an hilarious exchange between two guys, probably in their fifties, in the parking lot, when I went out to get the Sunday papers:

Guy 1: I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m the guy who runs past your house every morning.

Guy 2: Yeah, I’m standing there smoking a cigarette and you’re running. Don’t think I don’t get the irony.

Now that’s the seed of another short story!

Also, as I was resting in bed, got a couple of scenes flashing through my head. Scribbled them down and wound up with an outline. Will have to put it in the queue. Also ordered some books, including Corinna’s DINAH OF SENECA. Because that’s by a small publisher, too, and heaven forbid the conference’s “bookstore manager” bother to carry it for the conference. The bookstore manager who was “too sick” to attend. Riiiight. She’d have been a lot sicker if I’d gotten my hands on her, that’s for sure.

Struggled to get back into the harpy book this morning, but I finally got there.

They’re working on the roof again, I have to catch up with students, work on Confidential Job #1, and the tulip bulbs HAVE to go in today.

In the meantime, check out the essay on Nicole Peeler’s Jane True, and the one on Diana Bishop of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Enjoy!

Devon

Today’s word count: 1,180
Total word count: 37,228

4 Comments

  1. Well, I daresy you still feel like shit, but you’re seeming a million times better. Maybe that’s being home. Still sending healing vibes.

  2. Love the comment on thinking everyone else was going too slow. Sorry to hear you are feeling bad. I hope you feel better soon!

  3. Sturbridge isn’t all that far from my son, who’s in Canaan (way west).

    And that IS a lot of toile!

  4. It was great meeting you too! I was a bit of a bummer that we couldn’t attend each other’s session but I’m so glad I got a chance to talk to you in person. 🙂


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