Queuing, Coffee and Stories of Ugly Babies: Seeing Maggie Steifvater at YALC 2016

So I might have mentioned I went to the Young Adult Literature Convention. Here is a brief summary of my day.

The Working Toilet Search

I came into town on the Liverpool Street line, which is a) shittier than the Fenchurch Street line and b) obliged on Sundays to stop at every station in east London between Shenfield and Stratford. I necked a coffee somewhere around Rayleigh and by Billericay was thinking ‘yeah this carriage could really use a toilet’. By Stratford I was actually going to die so I hopped off in search of one. The only facilities in the entirety of Stratford station, as far as I could see, were out of order – so I made a quick detour to Westfield. Pro tip: Westfield is a ghost mall at 8:30am on a Sunday. Go then.

Why is Everyone So Quiet?

I clocked in just after ten – too late to muscle in on the first event I’d bookmarked, too early to spend all my money – so I got another coffee and sussed out where the fire exits were.

Which was easy to do

Because it was almost deathly quiet

Because everyone who wasn’t a vendor and probably some of the vendors

Was reading The Cursed Child

Which I had forgotten about

Because I am broke and try not to dwell on the things I can’t buy yet. Spoiler: it turned out I wasn’t too broke to buy an illustrated Philosopher’s Stone that was on sale. So I don’t know what past me was thinking, but she was a plonker not to reserve a copy. Pro tip: make sure you have money for Potter-related purchases. Another pro tip: cons are supposed to be buzzing. People in a group reading is wonderfully quiet and stupefying. YALC might be the only con in the world where stupefying is better. Go to it.

Agent Arena Publishing 102: God Exists

There’s quite a large part of my soul that belongs to the book industry, and the Agent Arena talk on publishing filled that part of my soul with hope that I might be able to work in it one day. Could I work in publicity? Maybe. Could I work in editorial? Maybe. Could I work in foreign rights? Probably not, because my grasp of foreign languages is shite. Pro tip: sit up the front because whoever designed Kensington Olympia forgot that sometimes small groups convene and like to hear one another.

Why the Fuck is there No Food Here

See Stories from the Bathroom Floor for why a packet of crisps  and a pot of melon three hours apart does not constitute an acceptable meal. In the end I found the food court at the main London Film and Comic Con (which looks way more chill than MCM, for the record) and scarfed a baked potato. Pro tip: bring more snacks than you think you’ll ever need. Especially if there’s a chance you’ll join a queue.

London Film and Comic Con Kensington Olympia
There’s more light at LFCC than I remember MCM having.

The Queue for Maggie in Conversation

Around about the time I was exploring the fire exits, people turned up. I turned a corner and oh, shit, there’s a fucking large queue to see Maggie Stiefvater in conversation. I should mention at this point that I went to YALC by myself, not expecting to see anyone I knew. I met a lot of people at various points, from bloggers and readers to agents. I completely forgot to ask names and swap Instas. So if you met someone wearing Blue Sargent dungarees and hair that vaguely resembled the bisexual pride flag, leave a comment. Pro tip: if I looked like I wanted to kill someone, that’s my normal face.

Maggie in Conversation

Some of you may yet see Maggie on tour, so I’ll let her tell you the story of the broken sunglasses. And the story of setting John Green on fire. And the story of her child vomiting on a long haul flight. Pro tip: there are no Raven King spoilers.

The Queue for the Queue for Maggie’s Signing

Only in Britain would you be made to queue for tickets that determine your place in another queue. Pro tip: get in there before number 238 of 250 if you want more than one book signed.

Queuing is really just like waiting for a gate to open in an airport, ie after a while you forget why you’re there

‘Come back in an hour.’ I did another round of exploring. I sourced a pot of melon. Then I sourced a baked potato. Numbers zero to 20 had become numbers zero to 40. ‘Come back in another hour.’ I made two phone calls. I took a photograph.

queuing for Maggie Stiefvater at YALC 2016

 

I discovered that my bag made a great pillow. I wrote some notes. I reflected that the last time I queued sitting down was the last time I saw Mindless. I missed seeing Mindless. Pro tip: bring friends to talk to for this bit, or learn to chat. 

Actually Meeting Maggie

It was 5:55pm. The con was closing. The queue was urgently shuffled forward. My number was called. I met a girl named Lizzie who had brought a notebook for autographs. I gave a lady my phone to take photographs. I gave another lady my book with my name on a Post It. A girl in front said ‘please pronounce the name of the boys’ school.’

‘Aglionby,’ Maggie said. Pro tip: she pronounces the G. 

The other lady gave Maggie my book, plus Post It.

Once upon a time an interviewer asked Gerard Way what fans usually said when they met him. ‘They usually just say thank you,’ he said.

‘Thank you,’ I said.

Then I said, ‘my dad told me to offer you his car.’ Then I said, ‘it doesn’t have a clutch.’

IT’S AN AUTOMATIC. I MEANT THAT IT’S AN AUTOMATIC. Also it is a Mustang and was either born in Texas or assembled there.

‘What colour is it?’ she asked.

‘Red.’ Officially I think it’s called something like “Midlife Crisis Ruby Metallic”.

‘Tell him to paint it black, lower it an inch and a half, and then we’ll talk.’

Meeting Maggie Stiefvater at YALC 2016

I have told him, but it’s probably a good thing that she has a no-driving-readers’ cars policy. Southend Borough Council dislikes paying out for road maintenance when the cause is drag racing down the seafront. Pro tip: they usually catch you drag racing down the seafront and moan about you in the paper. (No, that’s not a confession. I don’t think my Micra could drag race. I will wait until the Mustang is unattended.)

Then I hobbled back to the Liverpool Street line (my blisters actually have blisters), did a lil bit of Instagram bragging and thought that I might, like, go to Venezuela.

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New Year’s Intentions 2016

Late last year, but not so late I remembered it, I signed up for WordPress’s Blogging 101 2016, a blog community thing designed to encourage new bloggers to blog and old bloggers to, well, avoid getting old. Today’s assignment is to write an post introducing yourself and your manifesto, or to revisit your manifesto from when you started. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to write about when I started Indifferent Ignorance other than knowing that ‘indifferent ignorance’ sounded cool and that I wanted a platform to say whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted… but I need not fail at the first hurdle of blogging 101, because coincidentally I was going to write about new year’s resolutions.

Generally I try to think of resolutions as intentions, because let’s face it, no one who startsadietbeginsexercisingchangestheirhairandgetsanewjob in the first fortnight of January will be keeping it up by March. I did once know a girl who gave up chocolate for a year with nerves of steel in the face of Lindt, but she is the only person who I can remember sticking to her resolve. Also I am far more a fan of short term goals than I am long term plans, because how does one plan life? I thought I could plan what I’d be reading this autumn, then The Raven Cycle came along and my other books gathered dust. No regrets. As we are in a new year, my diary is clean and my room full of new toys, I feel that although a massive unkeepable resolution would be a waste of time, Christmas and January is a good time to take stock of one’s life and desires, and to set new short term goals. So I have compiled a short list of my blogging intentions for the coming few months:

Learn to Take Better Photographs

Some photos in my shop are lovely. Many look like they were taken in someone’s lounge at 10pm with the flash off. Maybe they were. If I’m going to become a trillionaire then my product images need to improve, and I’d like to take more original photos here too (there are only so many times I can dig out that Gerard Way GIF). I got a light tent for Christmas and I intend to use the shit out of it. I apologise in advance if you follow me on Instagram.

ew from sunshinethekatt.tumblr
Well at least one more time. from sunshinethekatt.tumblr.com

Read More Varied News Sources

I think I mentioned I was thinking of bringing back the Six O’Clock News? Since I left school I’ve been terrible at keeping up with current events, basically just tuning into Radio 4 when I wake up and ignoring the world for the rest of the day. Not very conducive to my desire to a) take the piss out of politicians or b) use real life as inspiration for art.

Learn to Use Facebook

I know, I know, it’s my job. I recently started doing more marketing on Facebook and I’m realising that Pages are actually far more interesting than I’d given them credit for. Everyone needs to see something on their timeline that isn’t their aunt’s best friend’s cousin’s poppy appeal poster. Having ignored the Indifferent Ignorance Facebook for a good four years (18 likes? Come on Francesca, you have a reputation), I resolve to post there more. I’ve no idea what… anything that’s longer than Twitter but needs less tags than Instagram?

To Chill the Eff Out

This is a bit self-centred, but I think we’ve all seen how completely plagued I am with doubt about this blog. Do I want it to be political satire? Do I want to write essays? Do I want to tell you all that my mum’s Poldark calendar can be viewed from the street? I never know. Some days I want to blog for a living and consider sending out applications for advanced reader copies of novels or taking paid reviews for art. Some days I want to close it down and move to Cambodia to write screenplays. So my intention for the next few months is to try blogging new things, to let myself poke around with the theme, to write terribly, to make an effort to write well, to stop worrying that I lost my mojo at 16. I already have a weird and varied job(s); there is no reason why I can’t also have a weird and varied blog. I don’t know who I want to connect with on here, I don’t know what I hope to have accomplished by 2017, I don’t know what I will consider success or failure. So I intend to try to be okay with not knowing… especially since that is probably when I will find out.

My Blogging 101 instructions are to now write five tags that will show the world this post. I just came up with 15 and they’re shite. Would it be unethical to just put ‘x rated video’ or ‘baby panda sneezing’?

Don’t answer that.

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2014

This year has some new categories and tough competition!

Books of the Year

I’ve stopped trying to pick one.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which I thought was going to be about whiny teenagers and is actually a lovely story about twins with great names who go to university in Nebraska. One of them writes a fanfiction that has thirty thousand hits a day. Whatever you think it will be like, you’re wrong. Read it if you’ve ever read or written fanfiction.

Or How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper, which I read in Greece. It’s about Doug, a 29-year-old widower who hasn’t left his house in a year except to buy Jack Daniels until his sister comes to stay. The characters are incredibly real and although they’re not nice, you want to spend time with them… I wasn’t sure at first but it is A*.

Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. Because Nico and Reyna got their airtime and it was beautiful.

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I tried re-reading this recently and I couldn’t because after the first page I remembered how much my stomach was tied in knots the whole flipping book. If I could write like anyone, I’d pick Khaled Hosseini. The power to make your readers cry, man..

The True Lives of My Chemical Romance by Tom Bryant. I read this the Sunday after the #revenge10 meetup in Camden, which was the fist time I’d been able to listen to live MCR since MCR ended. It was lovely hanging out with other fans and not having to explain or justify how much I love this band. The book made me sad in a lot of ways because it opened a window to the inside of MCR, and it was contrary to the image portrayed by the media (and maybe the band) at the time… But by reading the entire history, told objectively by someone who understood and respected the magnitude of MCR, I felt like I could really start to enjoy MCR again. Listening to songs didn’t make me sad any more; I was genuinely excited for the guys’ new work. So thank you to Tom Bryant! Also I met him at #revenge10 and he is a good dude.

Best New Musician

Lorde. Lorde Lorde Lorde. I ignored her stuff for ages because I was bitter and twisted that someone younger than me had a) such great hair and b) worldwide success. I am now over that. Partly because girls should support girls on their quests for awesomedom, and partly because her music is excellent.

Best New Album

Stomachaches.. Hesitant Alien. May Death Never Stop You. Come on, was I going to pick anything else? I haven’t bought anything else! I am turning into an old lady when it comes to new music. I hope to change this in 2015 buy physical copies of the music I like.

Live Show of the Year

King Lear (amateur production) in my town. Lear almost dropped Cordelia. Unlike the Sam Mendes production, there was a little room for audience participation – mostly because there was all of 50 people watching and you could make eye contact with most of them.

Most Interesting TV Event

Eurovision… Conchita winning was pretty brilliant in itself, but I think this part of the show may have been the most entertaining for the viewer:

Rudest Person on the Internet

Either most of Tumblr, the person on DeviantART who told me they’d ‘just print’ my artwork instead of buying an official copy, or the people featured in @TheDMReporter’s screen shots.

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award

This was such a hard one to choose I was wondering if you guys would like to suggest any examples? I mean, there’s the usual US-pastor-saying-something-offensive, and recently a UKIP MEP who is actually gay called equal marriage “false bollocks”. I dunno, I feel like we need to expand our horizons. Anyone got any horror stories

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award

It was very hard to narrow the nominations down this year. So I haven’t.

The purportedly Muslim group calling itself Islamic State. You sirs are giving Islam a terrible name and you ought to be ashamed. My knowledge of Muslim theology is not as thorough as my knowledge of Christianity (A Levels, huh) but I’m pretty sure the Quran is not telling people to behead aid workers and use people as slaves.

Vladimir Putin and his inner government group. (I am not sure what the Russian name for that is.) Do you actually think no one minds or has noticed that you’re rebuilding the Iron Curtain? Please stop. I would like to go to Eastern Europe and Russia in my lifetime without feeling like I’ve stepped into 1965.

The citizens of America who think it is 1965. It’s not. Shooting people is not even remotely a good thing. Shooting them based on their skin colour is even worse. You’re embarrassing your country.

Okay I think that is enough for one post. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions for different winners or new categories? I couldn’t think up a category for Chantal Claret’s Pledge campaign, for example, or one for Lola, the chimp who does Gerard Way’s PR. 2014 has been an action-packed, sometimes-hilarious-but-mostly-depressing-news-stories year!

Zine Envy

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for the Five Years of Blogging – currently have about seven, but about three of them might not be plausible – and Gerard’s made me want to make a zine.

He makes it look so simple and pretty! I love playing about with tape and scraps of paper! On the downside, I probably don’t have enough decent work to fit a zine that is both entertaining and pertinent to this blog. Here is what I’ve come up with for topics so far:

  • How not to be a blogger
  • Designing an okay layout and/or colour scheme
  • What not to discuss
  • How to ward off the urge to post gossip or rude things about people who have upset you
  • Dogs

I reckon they’re a bit wordy though. Plus there’s my complete lack of photocopying resources. Downloadable PDF for £2.50 anyone?

Five-ish Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging: MCR Poster & Magazine Giveaway

Despite the plethora of wonderful ideas you all had for how I could celebrate Indifferent Ignorance turning five, I have come up with my own celebration. It’s called Five-ish Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging and is coming to an Internet-connected device near you between now and November!

I say five-ish things because I’m not completely sure if a couple of them will come to fruition or when, so check back regularly to see which number we’re on.

The first thing is on Tumblr now, because I thought it would be funny if my first blog celebration was held on my scrubbly little non-blog (I don’t get out much). Plus I need to post it before I go to Greece. It hurts my heart to part with MCR possessions, but it turns out that a couple of the magazines were spares anyway, and those posters deserve to be put up somewhere, hence the giveaway.

The next four or so things will be revealed in good time, ie when I’ve put them together. Right, I’m off to drink some coffee and celebrate entering my last year of teenage-dom. I’m kind of bummed that I’ve only got a year to change the lyrics of Teenagers to “we” instead of “they”, and only a year to use “I’m a teenager” as an excuse for being rude to people, but so far 19 is looking peaceful and productive.

Probably because I’ve done little but write copy for zoos and look at MCR merch.

Moving Image Appreciation Post #7

In case you were wondering what I want to be listening to on the beach, here are some videos that I can’t wait to get the CDs for!

frnkiero andthe cellabration weighted

I don’t care that it’s not got footage. Let’s flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Lily Allen URL Badman

I don’t care that this very site to which I owe two thirds of my writing career (‘career’). Lily is brilliant!

NME interview: Gerard Way On Solo Life After My Chemical Romance

I don’t care that there’s not a tune in sight. (I do care that I can’t go to Reading or Leeds. Take pictures at Leeds Jacki! Please!)

Yes/No Show with those guys from X Men

I first saw a GIFset of one of the questions on Tumblr, then the video popped up on the YouTube suggestions and it’s funnier with the accent. This probably isn’t available on CD. Whatever.

The Ten O’Clock News: In Which Smithy Fixes FIFA

I’m not sure how much longer the football world cup is on for so I’d better chat about it while it’s in the news. To start off, I’m with Gerard when it comes to giving a shit:

Printscreened from the Twitter.
Printscreened from the Twitter.

Seriously though, when did football become the biggest sport in Europe? Why has a bloke biting another bloke (which is gross, by the way), garnered such attention? Hopefully because it’s gross, but it’s hard to tell since a lot of big footballers get paid roughly the GDP of some small countries. (I may have invented that statistic. Shut up, I’m on holiday. Sort of.) Actually I’ve been taking a break from news stuff recently because all those actual statistics were bumming me out. Next week I’ll hopefully have regained some sense of typing but in the mean time I think it’s important that we all remember who should be in charge of the England team and probably the 2020 games.

When I was looking for that I found this and it’s flipping brilliant.

George GIFs and G. Way’s Festival Listing

Darlings,

Half term has flown by, which is weird because I am technically no longer at school. Except I have seven exams to do before I don’t actually have to go back, so I feel like I’m in stasis.

From georgeslays.tumblr.com
From georgeslays.tumblr.com

Speaking of ‘my people’… I’ve opened up a Society6 shop, as you can tell from that wonderful imposing link in the sidebar. There’s only fan art up at the moment but I’ve been sketching some ideas and a new life goal is to create a collection of coffee mugs. The big difference between Society6 and Etsy is that Society6 prints everything and delivers it to you from the USA, as opposed to me printing it and sending it from a post office in Essex. Both give me the same amount of profit though – of the $15 Society6 charges for a mini print of something pretty, I get $2.42, which Google tells me is about a quarter of the price of a cinema ticket.

Actually I’m lying. I set the price for basic prints and I started at $15 because the site’s base price is $12. Still, it means I don’t have to physically print and post everything – although of course I will if you buy on Etsy. Ah, artwork and the things people do for promotion.

Speaking of promotion, why is Gerard’s name half way down the Reading and Leeds poster? Does nobody remember last time? Maybe they remember the time before… Whatever. My new new life goal is to see G at Reading. One ticket is the equivalent of 75 mini posters, assuming the exchange rate doesn’t change…go on, snowflakes. I’ll live blog the whole experience!

Okayfine. I’ll live blog the BBC Three stream, assuming it’s still going then.