I love to go to conventions. I’m lucky I have so many to choose from. Not only does my home town host several I enjoy that feature my genre and focus on literature, such as Ad Astra, but occasionally I find one nearby enough to be able to get to without too much hassle, and I have a loyal friend who usually wants to join me.
This year I’ve scheduled two out of town conventions: Can-Con in Ottawa, and World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Both are heavily weighted towards literary concerns. Can-con is focused on Canadian content, which I totally support, and World Fantasy is more like a trade fair for authors. One can expect to see many of the luminaries there, as well as editors and agents and some very savvy readers. There will be no Klingons roaming the halls there as there might be at other conventions.
What I like best about attending these is the chance to meet other authors and to learn more about the trade, but also to hear what readers have to say. It’s even great when I get to do a reading or be on a panel. There’s nothing like pithy discourse in front of an audience on an interesting subject.
It’s also important from the point of view of creativity to get out of one’s environment from time to time. See new things, experience new tastes, sounds and sights, and be away. You can even do this in your own city as long as you go somewhere you haven’t been before.
Once, a while back, I went downtown on a week day in the middle of the day to write at a little cafe there. It was such a great day and so summery and bright, I felt uplifted by it all, and took a bunch of pictures with the intention of blogging about it later.
Here is the train station downtown in Toronto. Since I live near a commuter station in the suburbs, I prefer to take this mode for a quick and convenient ride into the heart of Toronto. It’s under a major renovation, so everything is upside down on the inside, but it was nicely cleaned up on the outside for last year’s PanAm Games. There’s even a cool curved skyscraper in the distance.
One thing that always inspires me is our CN Tower. It’s modern, tall and aspiring to greatness. Here it is, peering out between other tall buildings and against a bright summer sky.
What really made me happy that day, as I walked along, enjoying the sun’s warmth and the bustle of the city, was the piano man. He was playing some ragtime pieces on a piano that was set out by a special project.
This one appears to be moved in and out as needed, as you can see by the wheeled platform resting against it. I shudder to think of moving it in and out each time it gets used. I can’t imagine it was good for the tuning either.
Still, even a badly tuned piano can bring joy. It left me uplifted and when I reached my destination cafe, where I sat down in the very last available seat (serendipity, it must have been) and settled into a productive session of writing. In spite of the noise and the people, I found this environment more conducive to creativity than anywhere quiet in my home. It may not suit everyone, but this is what suits me, sometimes, at least. Getting out and about is good in general for your health, and even better for your creativity, even if you go home to do the work. At least you go home filled up with new energy.