Two Festivals and a Convention

The first half of the year seems to have passed me in a whirl of activity. Not only did we put our house on the market and purchase another one, but just four days after we moved (honestly, it was two weeks after we went unconditional that we moved! I like to do things quickly) I was on a plane to Australia for the first time in almost two decades.

Two. Decades.

How has it been so long since I left the country? I mean, I KNOW why, but still, it was amazing to think that much time had passed. Due to the fact my eldest is only 14, it means this was also my first trip out of the country since having kids. It was kind of weird to think they were on a whole other island than me, but for the most part I forgot I was outside of New Zealand.

Sydney is beautiful, by the way. If you haven’t been there before, I recommend it. There is a gorgeous mix of old and new buildings, though the older ones are my fav, and the ones that have plants growing all over them, their glass shining brilliantly alongside the green, like they’re out of the best kind of future (or Horizon Zero Dawn, which is a future I could live with).

Our primary reason for being in Sydney was the Writers’ Festival. It was my first time ever attending such a massive writerly thing, and so great to do it with my crew from Te Papa Tupu; they are like a warm security blanket when you’re out there in new spaces, and our shared meals and conversations really embellished the whole event. It was an amazing experience, and I’d definitely recommend it. I came away with my mind buzzing, lots of thoughts and things to learn more on – and a HUGE stack of books. It’s amazing I stayed under the luggage weight.

Two weeks later was the Auckland Writers’ Festival, which was also really cool (though I’m a little horrified by how much more expensive books are in New Zealand than Australia. It was a good reminder of why I stick to digital or library borrows most of the time). Different to Sydney, but also similar. I’m getting a feel for these things now. I went to a really cool workshop on creativity with the lovely Kathryn Burnett, and ended up with a mind explosion of an idea, totally out of my norm (okay, not totally, there will be intense situations, relationship conflict, and monsters of some sort…)

And finally, two weeks after that, I attended our National SFF convention in Rotorua. This time I took the whole whanau, and it was really cool to get to do some touristy stuff with them between panels. I got to be on stage a couple of times, participating in the Mythology panel, as well as one entitled Hot and Steamy in Rotorua – which, I believe, was the only ‘adult content’ panel on the programme. I think that’s pretty epic 😉 We had a great set of panellists, and an excellent audience who engaged in the conversation beautifully. I think it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a panel.

And now it’s JUNE. And I only have six months left of the year to get on with things – and I’ll be outlining what that will look like in my next post. For now, I think I’m still recovering from the first half of the year…