Whew! The Gathering came to a wonderful, happy conclusion, and I have a few days of liberty time to recover and see a bit more of my surroundings.
Much to my shock, about 100 people showed up Monday morning for bacon sandwiches and my closing address. I had to throw out my original speech, and for the first time, delivered one almost entirely off the cuff. Oddly, no one seemed to notice or care - note to self. Hmmm.
I got back to my host home yesterday afternoon, sat in the sun with coffee and had some quiet chatting time, napped, then went out for a solitary walk down Norton Street in the evening. I stopped in at Shearer's Bookstore and picked up Colleen McCullough's Song of Troy, which I've wanted for a while. Then they surprised me by giving me a free book! Apparently there is a program called Get Reading! that provides these books in order to promote reading and Australian authors. Although the program ended on September 30, apparently some stores still had some of the promotional give-away volume and I lucked out by getting 10 Short Stories You Must read in 2010. And damn if it isn't a fine collection! What a nice treat. I read a bit while enjoying a coffee in the bookstore cafe. Ahh, quiet time.
Naturally I collapsed last night after I got back and slept deeply. Four classes, a speech, a party and a lot of book signing does take a bit of energy. Today is laundry, reading, making this post, doing QUIET things.
But tomorrow, I am being whisked off on a tour from an online buddy of longtime acquaintance. And a barbecue!! Yay! Thursday is another little bit of a trip, so I can pet the local critters and take a peek at the Blue Mountain area. Then we'll run back to a city area gay bar to my reading and MP Maven discussion at 7PM. I know the Uber page says Tuesday. But it's Thursday, and only ten bucks for people who attended The Gathering. Of course there will be more books there for sale.
Friday, Dee and I take off for Melbourne! I wish I could stay longer, but for this trip, a quick weekend will have to do. I'm thrilled to be able to stop by Chains and meet the lovely people there, and will be giving FIVE, count 'em, FIVE classes in two days. And that includes two I have never given before! We'll have books, yadda-yadda. And then when I get back to Sydney, I will have a few more days to poke about and maybe connect with more friendly natives.
Then, wow, I am going to New Zealand. Sadly, the conference scheduled had to be postponed because of the earthquake that hit Christchurch. But I will be doing a much scaled down appearance, and taking advantage of just being here. I mean, this is a long way to travel without even taking a PEEK at NZ. I am looking forward to down time, maybe some writing time. And sheep. I understand I might see a sheep or two...