Saturday, April 25, 2009

You Can't Win if You Don't Turn Up

I recently took up BMX racing. It's an odd hobby to start at my age I know, but I desperately wanted to do it as a child and wasn't allowed. My mother thought I'd break my neck. After years of not thinking about it, I caught a bit of coverage on the TV and mentioned to my husband that I'd always wanted to try it. He said, "Then why don't you?" So I did.

Thing is, I'm not very good at it. My balance is bad, my foot speed is bad, my posture is bad, my mental intensity is bad, and every other aspect of my riding is bad. But despite all that, I'm currently top of the regional points table in my class. This is because I'm the only rider in my class. I won the first race of the summer simply by virtue of turning up.

What's this got to do with writing, you ask? Well, this week I put in my application for the BBC College of Comedy. I'll be absolutely shocked if I get anywhere. I briefly pondered not even bothering, but then I remembered how I'd won that BMX race. I'm not saying I'll get into the College of Comedy just by applying, but I know I most definitely won't get in by not applying. You can't win if you don't turn up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eastercon 2009

This past weekend I attended the 60th Eastercon. Or maybe it was the 61st. There's an ongoing argument about this.

Anyway, Eastercon is a large science fiction convention with a literary (as opposed to TV or film) slant. It's held -- wait for it -- every Easter. This year's event was in Bradford, and my husband and I drove up in our VW camper van. The idea was to stay at a nearby campsite to save money, but there was a bit of a SNAFU with the campsite. Their web site said they had toilets and showers, when in fact all the place was, was a little field and a hosepipe. Not seeing any reason to pay for parking in a little field with a hosepipe, we bade the campsite goodbye and wound up camping in the convention hotel's car park. This arrangement, while somewhat lacking in scenery, turned out to be surprisingly comfortable -- as well as free. The only real down side was the lack of showers. Washing in the van's sink just wasn't a proper substitute.

Now, I think the camping in a car park anecdote is fairly amusing, but my main reason for blogging about the convention is this: the event boasted more published authors than you could shake a stick at, both as guests of honour and ordinary participants. There were also quite a few publishing types floating around. If you have aspirations in the science fiction novel department (1), you could do a lot worse than turning up next year and doing the networking thing.

(1) I have no ambitions in the science fiction novel department because I can't write prose. I wish I could, but I also wish I could sing the Queen of the Night at the Royal Opera and I don't think wishing is going to make that happen either.