Thanks to the Canada Council for helping to pay for my trip to Portland, and my promotion of my work to an audience that would not have been accessible otherwise.
This weekend in Portland was exhuasting, stressful, and ultimately invigorating. I had an early morning plane to catch on Friday, so I went into Toronto the day before (met up with Cameron), and stayed overnight at the airport hotel. It's a nice place, but it's hard to appreciate it when you have to get up at 4:45 in the morning.
Friday the 13th lived up to its name, in spite of the best efforts of the workers at Toronto and Calgary International Airports. Thanks to the hardworking security staff, I managed to get through both airports quickly, and made a connection in Calgary within 90 minutes, even while going through US Customs. However, I was almost tripped up when I was notified that my connecting flight to Portland had switched gates and I spotted Air Canada and WestJet flights to Portland -- both leaving at the same time -- on the board. I was flying WestJet. Guess which gate I accidentally came to?
Fortunately, I realized my mistake with enough time to hoof it across the concourse (Calgary's International concourse is big), reaching the WestJet gate just as they were boarding. Phew, I thought, nothing else could go wrong.
And then I got to Portland, after a 90 minute cramped flight (but with nice staff), and I grabbed my carry-on bag and hoofed it off the plane and out through security to grab my LRT to the hotel. It was literally minutes after I went through the automatic doors that said, prominently, "NO RE-ENTRY AFTER THIS POINT" when I realized that I'd left my computer bag behind on the plane. Worse, such were the security protocols that there was no way I could get WestJet to get the bag off the plane and to me somewhere in the airport. I resigned myself to filling out a lost baggage report (even though it wasn't technically lost -- I knew exactly where it was), and I headed into town while my computer went back to Calgary.
It could have been much worse. I had nothing critical in that bag, and nothing irreplaceable either. I still had my passport, my NEXUS card, my cellphone, my sleep apnea machine, and my change of clothes. And all of my computer files are in the cloud. I was mostly upset with myself at my stupidity, and the fact that I was out about $500 if my computer never showed up. Fortunately, there was a happy ending. The WestJet crew called me the next day to tell me the bag was found, and I could pick it up at the WestJet check-in counter on Sunday. It's back in my possession, now (I'm typing on it now), and I don't intend to let it out of my sight.
Well, that's my travel. What about what I travelled to Portland for?
Portland's Rose City Comic Con is as startling and energetic as any of the other major Comic Cons across the continent. Last year, over 40,000 were in attendance, and I'm pretty sure they matched that number. And as is the case with Comic Cons, cosplayers ruled the roost. I saw so many fantastic creations, got permission to snap a photo or two, spotted Daleks, and generally enjoyed watching the people have a good time.
Kisa greeted me at the REUTS Publications Booth on Friday, and I set out to search for the panel room I'd be using the next day. This prep work was vital, because the Oregon Convention Centre is huge, and with it bustling, I doubt I would have found the room in time for my panel if it had been my first go. JetLag haunted me a bit. At 4:00, I was surprised to find myself weak with hunger and wondering why the heck that should be, before realizing my body still thought it was 7:00 p.m. and, moreover, breakfast had been at 5:15 a.m.
I met up wth fellow panelists Benjamin Gorman and Drew Hayes on Saturday. Fellow panelist Sarina Dorie could not make it, unfortumately. I was most impressed by the turnout for our one-hour discussion, and there was great energy in the room. I moderated things, and Drew and Benjamin offered great insights into all aspects of urban fantasy. We also had great questions from the audience, and a few people who came out to the REUTS booth afterward to received signed copies of our books.
Ah, yes, the book. I was most pleased to clap eyes on the first copies of The Night Girl at the event, to hold it, flip through the pages, and smell it. It looks great, and I'm looking forward to put it on the shelf next to Icarus Down. It was well received.
Sunday, I helped out at the REUTS booth again, and talked with Kisa, her husband, and Benjamin about writing and books, before retiring at 4 p.m. as the Comic Con was winding down.
In addition to all this, I went on some Portland pilgrimages, heading back to Voodoo Donuts, and visiting Powells City of Books, leaving behind some Night Girl bookmarks for some guerrila marketing. I rode the LRT and Portland's streetcar, and ate some good food. And, with my computer back in my hands, I did some writing as well.
All in all, a successful qeekend, and thanks again to the Canada Council for making it possible.
I've uploaded more photos of my trip to my Facebook timeline here...
Now I'm heading back. Let's hope that the journey home is less eventful than the journey here.