I took the day off yesterday and went down to Glastonbury to interact with people who live outside of my head. If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know I was panicking about meeting people and being sociable. I did nearly leap off the bus at Temple Cloud and scurry home with my tail between my legs, but then I remembered I blew up Temple Cloud in a previous story, and I would feel guilty for crashing a spaceship on such a pretty village, so I’d better keep going.
Glastonbury, if you haven’t been, is a gloriously weird place, even if you don’t subscribe to all that tree-huggin’ hippy stuff. Every other shop is Gothic, or Pagan, or Ye Olde Camelot Bun Shoppe that sells buns with pentagrams on them. It’s a mecca for people who fly outside the mainstream, and it’s also a rather attractive medieval town.
The conference was outside the main High Street, in the Grail Centre, which is now run by Liz Williams and her husband, which is currently hosting a display of beautiful paintings by Anne Sudworth (http://www.annesudworth.co.uk/)
Talks were varied, Liz Williams talked about Dion Fortune, early 20th century novelist and Glastonbury scholar, and her influence on Marion Zimmer Bradley. Guest of Honour Freda Warrington talked about her own work, and about the influence of landscape on her writing, which was a recurring theme. Kari Sperring, who I didn’t get the courage to speak to, talked about the historical evidence for King Arthur (of which there is none), and there were a couple of talks on The Glastonbury Zodicac (not convinced), and the influence of Glastonbury Romance.
And I talked to people, thanks mainly to my friend Cheryl who persuaded me downstairs and introduced me to people, although my brain did that Eddie Izzard thing where the names fly through your head and end up in a heap on the carpet. I had a nice chat with Amal El-Mohtar, author of “The Honey Month” ( http://www.papaveria.com/portfolio/the-honey-month/, ) who was discovered through her blog, and we admired the fancy books on the Papaveria table.
Wear something you feel comfortable in. Preferably, don’t wear a dress with buttons that tend to pop open at inopportune moments and provide the good citizens of Glastonbury with an eyeful of sturdy Debenhams bra, unless you check them at regular intervals. (I speak from experience, the button dress was, in retrospect, a Bad Idea…)
When people are introduced to you, try repeating their names in the hope that they will lodge in your head. Only try this if you’re sure you’ve heard their name properly.
Remember, no one is staring at you. It’s not the first day of High School. People will remember you for being friendly, not for falling over the doorstop and dropping your purse.
Things are rarely as awful as you build them up to be in your imagination. Often, they’re a lot better! I had a nice day, met some fascinating people, learned some stuff, squirreled away some book ideas, and didn’t make a total muppet of myself. It’s worth doing again. I can’t promise not to be nervous though!