Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Catching up

It's been a busy month, and I've obviously not kept up with my blog. I'm hoping to get caught up a bit over the next few days. It looks like I'll have the weekend off as well, since the workshop I had planned on teaching is being cancelled due to low registration. Not a problem really. This will give at least two more people the chance to join us when we do make it happen. 

So – to catch up on a busy month: I'll begin with Pantheacon. Pantheacon is probably the largest Neo-Pagan gathering out on the West coast. It is held at a Hilton and has been going on for quite a few years. I first presented a workshop there a few years back, and had a pretty good experience. However, I decided to wait until I had my book published before I returned, so that I would be able to promote it there. 

I left at 7:00 am to drive up to Dayton, where I caught the flight out to San Francisco – via Detroit and Atlanta, I believe. I arrived at 7:30 pm and was met at the airport by my good friend Amy who was kind enough to let me crash at her house before heading down to San Jose the next morning. Even on the flight out I was wondering how I was going to manage to make it back to the airport for my 5:40 am flight on monday, especially after the workshop they had scheduled my to give at 11:00 pm on Sunday night. After a lot of consideration, I decided to take the BART back to the airport from Amy's the next morning, as she hurried off to work. There I picked up the car I had rented the night before via the internet. I got a great deal on it, considering that I wouldn't have really needed a car where it not for the inconvenient timing of workshop and flight. 

Let me interject here that I had – very responsibly – mailed a full case of my books out to my friend Keter's address the week before, in plenty of time so that Keter could bring them with her to the conference. I checked with her from the airport and they still had not arrived. So it looked like I was going to be going through all of this and I wouldn't even have any books to sell beyond the two copies I had crammed into my suitcase as an afterthought. 

So there I am in the airport, lugging my bags to the rent-a-car and then driving down highway 101 to San Jose. That part went quite smoothly. I had brought my Nuvi (GPS) just in case and it came in handy. But I had forgotten to bring along the car charger, so I had to keep turning it off to save it's batteries. I arrive at the hotel and go to register only to find that they have me in a room in a different hotel a few blocks away. This turned out to be a very nice room, all to myself. But it was cold and rainy the whole weekend, so the five minute walk was a bit uncomfortable at times.

By now you have a feel for how the weekend was going for me. It was friday. I was at the conference, with no books, with no workshops to teach until sunday night. My potential book signing on saturday came and went with no books. I was beginning to wonder if I hadn't inadvertently irritated one of my ancestor spirits who had chosen to return the favor many time over. 

Strangely, in spite of all the little mishaps and timing issues, I was having a good time. I was in a light and open mood. I remained engaged and open to the folks I knew there; got a chance to hang out with my best friend and long time mentor, Elisheva and to help out with one of the things she was offering – so I wasn't completely wasting my time. I began to wonder what was going on though. This was feeling kind of . . . spooky. 

Sometime saturday afternoon I found out that the books had arrived – in San Francisco – and that the place that was holding them would be closing by 6:00, so Keter and I jumped in my car and drove back to San Francisco, got lost, got found again, and managed to pick up the books minutes before they closed. I got the case into the back seat of the car and thought, "I could have sworn that box was a lot heavier." When we got back to the hotel, I opened the box to find that only half of them were there. Somewhere in transit the box had been opened and 23 books had gone missing. This was getting a bit ridiculous. 

That afternoon I was cruising around the hotel looking for a familiar face and came across Don Kraig sitting with a couple of women in the bar. I joined them for awhile, which was a nice break from wondering around on my own. We sat and chatted for awhile. I tried to order a drink but they were out of Jamesons. Finally settled on a G&T, then wandered off without paying my bill. The two women were both very interesting. One was a Gardnerian High Priestess, Lady Raw, who seemed quite down to earth. The other was apparently a coven mate of hers, a very charismatic woman who insisted that people were having a problem with her threatening to take her clothes off. 

Sunday was a bit of a blur. I managed to do a short book signing at noon, while most everyone was off eating lunch. I think I sold 2 or 3 books, but had a few nice chats. Then I started thinking about what I would do for my workshop. There had been other things on my mind up to then. Somewhere in there, the two ladies from the night before invited me to dinner and as I was heading out to join them I noticed my car was missing. I went to the desk and asked if a car had been towed away recently. Then I called the police, but refused to file a report right then, because I had to meet my new friends for dinner. I rushed back to the other hotel and up to Lady Rae and Paula's room. They suggested I go back and check in the lot again. Now, mind you, it was raining and dark. When they drove me into the lot, I saw my car right were I left it, sitting beneath the harsh yellow light that magically turns red cars into brown cars. One mystery solved to my ecstatic relief. 

The night rolled on – culminating in the workshop entitled "the Shaman's Dance with the Divine." I had planned on using some of the techniques from my workshops to offer an experiential introduction to animism. Now I wasn't sure that there was going to be anyone showing up for it, but there were. Ten people showed up and it was a good group. Rather intimate for such a large room, but great people. We did some shamanic trance work, evocation of spirits and such. A good time was had by all. 

Then it was back to the (other) hotel. Mad packing; a short nap; a 3:00 am alarm; quick shower and another drive back up the 101 to the San Francisco airport for my morning flight. I made that with no problem.

With all that, you would think I had already had enough – and you would be right. But, after flying from San Francisco to Cincinnati (where I couldn't get off because they had my luggage and my car was parked in Dayton) to Detroit and then taking off for Dayton, we turned back after we were over halfway there, because of a "maintenance issue." We were on the ground for another three hours in Detroit before flying out again at 8:40 pm, arriving in Dayton around 9:45 where I finally picked up my car from the economy parking lot and wearily drove home. 

More catching up to come.