Thursday, September 24, 2009

Through the golden haze...

Last night was my first full nights sleep in four months. As I look around the house and see bunches of flowers and feel the bone tired exhaustion...I also look for the new baby that all these symptoms usually indicate....the baby has left home.

I hear about the baby’s impact on the wider world through emails and phone calls. I thought it was a small or medium sized baby but it seems to be striding out there making its presence felt in a large way.

My army brother says that what I am feeling is battlefield syndrome...the result of living on the edge of your skin, for a long time in the field, then a protracted engagement/fire fight and then back to base where you are safe. He warns me that now my health will pack it in because that always happens in battlefield syndrome.

The Spinning Gold conference was huge...I don’t think I could adequately describe it for anyone who wasn’t there.

We set out to deliver the best conference we could....and we did.

I am in awe of our volunteers from the Whitireia publishing course. They looked at our planning nodded their heads and said leave it to us. We left lots to them.

Our committee were the best. We all looked at each others work levels during the conference and picked up the slack where we had to, everyone pitching in.

Some of us are still working hard. Helen filmed three big sessions and is now editing them. Fifi and I are wading through the emails with our eye on our report to Creative New Zealand. Pippa is tracking and paying bills. The blog keeps going....Already there are plans being made by presenters to capitalise on the extraordinary energy and enthusiasm generated by the conference.

For many people the sheer honesty of the presentations was the key impact of the conference.

Nobody said this field is easy...especially the publishers. The sheer bravery of the pitch slam is uppermost in my mind. I watched people who were truly nervous...walk up those stairs, crack jokes to help out others and go through those doors to face an editor or agent and pitch their work in three minutes. Their writing selves laid bare.

I was terrified...I kept thinking, I am insane... I am insane... as I walked up those stairs...others around me had practised and honed their pitches...all I can say is that I spent Friday night stressing about the scheduling and dreaming that I burst into tears when I went through the door....I didn’t as it happens. Thank God for Brian Falkner, whose magnificent workshop, Make a Mark, on Saturday morning impacted enough so I could think of a tag line for the work I was pitching. Even now as I think of it I get goose bumps. I can’t believe I pulled it off.

We have had the most amazing emails...the ones that have broken through the haze and left me with tears are the emails from people who thought we had planned the conference with them in mind. When more than one person says that, you know that you have struck a chord that has resonated through the community of Children’s Writer and Illustrators.

I wish I could have sat down for coffee with delegates...chewed the fat with people from North and South...all I could be was my manic self, surprising the committee I think, well at least the skirt did, me who always wears jeans, and my mother now has proof that I did wear one (thanks Fi.)

While I was being the manic front, Fifi was being the manic back, holding internet connections together by sheer force of will.

I am in awe of my incredible co convenor. She didn’t get to see much of the conference sliding in and out unless she was introducing or on a panel.... Fifi is an inspiration, a force to be reckoned with...her huge week is not over. Along with fellow delegate Lucy Moore, Fifi will find out if she has won her section at the Wearable Art Awards on Friday Night....My fingers are firmly crossed for her. She has given so much time to making the conference a success and putting together her WOW entry during the process...She deserves every accolade.


Fifi Colston said...

much love, much love xxxx

Stacy Nyikos said...

Super huge congrats! I'm so happy the conference went so very well for you. You deserve that success. You really put your whole self into this.

Maureen said...

Hi Stacy,
Yes, we did...and it has been a funny week on the other side of it. I find myself with no sustained energy...I start well and then I just fold and look longingly at a bed in the middle of the the kids are on school holidays...I can at least sleep in but those manuscripts I have to prepare...hmmm not there yet....


Johanna Knox said...

Maureen, that's beautiful!!!! And I love that image of Fifi holding internet connections together with sheer force of will (it captions nicely one of my mental images from the conference which is Fifi in the middle of the hallway holding a cord in each hand, looking grim and determined ... so that's what she was doing!!) :)

Maureen I wish you many well deserved mid-day sleeps. xxx

Maureen said...

Thats great coming from you...i'm not trying to pack up my house and kids and move after putting all my energies into putting on a major conference....
good luck for your own midday sleeps SuperJO

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