Fun is a Con

I’m on the second plane, heading home to the Gold Coast, after the great surprise of bumping into Sue Bursztynski at the airport and sitting together on the flight to Melbourne.

As usual, Natcon was awesome and left me infused with the happy glow that comes from hanging out with fun creative people. The official website is here, with better photos than mine. If you think you might like conning, check it out.



The highlights were…

1) The conversations I had with anyone I could corner.

2) The dance floor on Saturday night – Groovers in the heart, ay yai yai yai – it was going off.

3) The Regency Dinner (What a feast! Twenty dishes!) Though I wish the music hadn’t returned as the soundtrack to haunt my hangover this morning.

4) Hearing kind words about my published shorts from lovely editors.

5) Pitching to Alex, Paul and Tara. Alex lights up the room with her beautiful personality and smile. And Paul has a really cool techno non-cigarette thing (Vape pen), over which he kindly answered my lengthy inquiry. What a team!

6) Training my very nice sensible friends Mr and Mrs @Klaus_bear (who now carry around a sleepy baby bear) how to cope with a Spec-crazed adolescent-equivalent. You cook her dinner, collect and deliver her to hotels and airports as required and aren’t the least displeased by her turning up four hours late to breakfast. They’re already great parents. Big thank you.

7) Staying up all night drinking, including going to a room party. I’m not sure that big glass of wine at 2.30 was such a great idea, Ben. But thanks!

8) The hangover. It’s kind of cathartic and um…something. This is where our writer slaps herself and says, right, enough, you can’t find anything good about a hangover. Move on!

9) Marc Gascgoine’s kaffeeklatsch. He loves what he does.

10) The launch of NEXT, containing Casino Five (by me). It’s fantastic having a story selected and polished and published in such a beautiful book. And congratulations to all the other launchers, too!

11) Gillian’s Three Senses workshop. I was high on scents.

12) The Newbies. Welcome to the community!

photo 1 photo 2

Now, I shall present a balanced view and list the things that went very badly. My sneakers and swimmers stayed in my suitcase which refused to close when I was packing. Today I woke up at seven am despite staying up until three am. There might have been an alien in my ceiling.

Saying bye is always sad and discombobulating, as you never quite know which time is the last time you’ll see someone.

Who to hug and who not to hug can also be confusing. I’ve never been comfortable with a hug-all policy. If anyone missed a hug that was due, we’ll have one next time. And if you were hugged against your will, I’d take it back if I could.

Oh god, we’ve come to the Thank You part, which reminds me of that sweet white Greek goo we used to eat off a spoon dipped in water. Apologies if I miss you. Remind me.

Big breath.

Thanks to Gillian for bringing me a puffy warm vest thingy; everyone for being so welcoming and friendly; Donna, Nicole, and the team for organising Conflux; Russ, Claire, Kaaron, Emma Kate, Ben and everyone for buying/sharing drinks; Jason for his loud exclamations of love for Surgeon Scalpelfingers; Ian for eliciting and enduring various rants from me; Zena for sharing her social media smarts and the dance floor; Kyla for being brilliantly dressed and friendly; Rob, Simon, Nicole and everyone who helped with the Next launch; Lawrie and all the other costumers; Rachel and Emma for rockin’ the dance floor from the start of the night.

More thanks to Jodi, Wade and Jack for creative exploration on our Life Transitions panel; everyone at the Writing Community panel for sharing their experiences and ideas; Alan for saying I looked like a mugger (I still want that witch); everyone who shared autism and ASD stories with me; everyone who told me about their lives (jobs, housemates, nightclubs, etc); all the professional writers for being fun, encouraging and fantastic role models who let their hair down and party; the Newbies for their fresh shining faces, wide eyes and fertile minds; and everyone who hung out and chatted. You know who you are.

Breathe out.

There were people who I missed having a good talk to. Next time. The plane is about to land. Close the computer. Back to reality.

I can’t wait to get home.

Helen. photo 3

PS. And here are a few shots of Canberra scenery. I need to get my phone fixed so that it takes photos the normal way. Taking selfies of everything is painful.

hair and car helenpark

PPS. My family seems to have survived, or even thrived, without me. This augurs well for them letting me out again next year. When and where is next year’s Natcon?


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