On Thursday 12 March, as we sat at the airport, all checked in and ready to board our plane in half an hour, we heard that Eroticon was cancelled. I think I asked Master T about five times: What do we do? and every time his answer was the same: We go. Part of this decision was because we had non-refundable rooms at the Holiday Inn, and it was only when we landed in London that we heard that those rooms would be refunded too. Well, we were in London and decided to just make the best of the weekend, to see it as a mini-holiday.
It turned out to be a weekend of where the conference happened even though it didn’t.
On Friday evening I learned that we would have a mini conference — a #noEroticon of you like — where Haiku and Anna Sky would deliver their sessions, and Eye invited me to do mine too. I only had to think about it for a minute, and said yes, I would be there. I loved this initiative of Eye, and definitely wanted to be part of it, especially as I have seen the disappointment around me of people who only heard on Friday that the conference was cancelled.
At noon on Saturday several of us gathered in the Hawley Arms in Camden, and there amidst some hot drinks and yummy food, we first listened to Haiku teaching us how to write haikus. First there was a bit of history, which I found incredibly interesting, and then we looked at haikus and decided whether they were sexy or not. Haiku handed out paper that she could fold into cranes afterwards and on that we jotted down our own haikus. Mine was:
sounds of snores echo
off quiet walls
Where I have never written a haiku before, simply because I didn’t know how to, I think I might write some more in future.
Next up was Anna Sky with her session on micro-fiction. Now I am no stranger to fiction, but as I sat there, listening to Anna sharing her expertise, so many ideas popped into my head — ideas I can use for the Smut Marathon. I learned about dribbles and drabbles, about where to publish micro-fiction and about how important titles are when you write micro-fiction. Anna shared many pointers as to how make every word in your micro-fiction stories count. Listening to her talk, I started feeling the enthusiasm to get involved in #Storyin12 again, to practice my micro-fiction skills.
After Anna’s talk, it was time to deliver mine. I was incredibly nervous and think I spoke far too quickly, but loved sharing the information about feedback, about how to give feedback, but even more important, how to receive it. I hope those present has taken something away from my talk too.
This program filled the entire afternoon, and it felt good walking back to the hotel, where Master T was waiting, knowing I have played my part in salvaging something of the weekend.
Now everyone knows the weekend of the conference is not all about the conference, but also about the socials. For us it normally starts on the Thursday, and this time was no different. We met old friends and made new, and on Friday more people arrived. While the lobby of the Holiday Inn wasn’t as busy as it can be on these weekends, they definitely knew we were there. At the height of the unofficial-meet-and-greet gathering for #noEroticon there were about twenty people chatting, laughing and having drinks. We were only back in our room by 2am and up again in time for breakfast.
On Saturday evening we went out for dinner, but when we returned, once more there was fun and laughter in the lobby. This time we didn’t see 2am on the clock, but it was late nonetheless before we finally lay in bed.
After the close of each conference, people tend to gather for drinks in the hotel, but I didn’t expect that to happen this time. How wrong I was. As the two of us sat on the couch in the lobby, we were joined by others, and had a most enjoyable evening. Our numbers were low; our spirits high.
Master T and I were the last two to leave the lobby that evening, and once in our room we looked at each other and said: This was a good weekend.
There were some sad moments too. I was sad for those who traveled to experience their first Eroticon, and couldn’t. Sad for the one delegate who arrived from the US late on Thursday evening, and when she wanted to research the speakers on Friday morning found out that the conference had been cancelled. I was happy for this same woman to be at the #noEroticon gathering in the pub on Saturday afternoon, and for her to at least take that with her.
I look back at our #noEroticon weekend with a smile, because we got to hug old friends, and made new ones.
On Sunday evening I sent out a whole series of tweets in which I mentioned the people we have seen, but I want to list all those people here too, as each and every one of them has contributed to making our weekend special, even if we only saw them from a distance.
So thank you to: Kurvy Kinkster, The Gentleman’s Relish, Carolyna Luna (& cousin), Eye, okamuse, Julie (& master), Sub Bee, Bee Keeper, Rose Monrou (& boyfriend), Haiku, Innocent Loverboy, Tabitha Rayne, Honey, The Other Livvy, Exhibit A, Jayne Renault, Rosie, Zak Jane Keir, Anna Sky (& husband), Kitty Rush, Cousin Pons, Eve Ray and last but not least, the beautiful people of Luke + Jack.
Thank you all for being there, for standing together, for sharing hugs and fun and laughter.