, I was nervous. Sarah and I had not one but two panels, the first of which was at 10 AM. No breakfast for me. "Mind over stomach," became my motto.
I'm not sure what I was more worried about: no one showing up (seeing as we were up against the Guest of Honour brunch), or people showing up and having to speak in front of them. We loitered outside the room for a while, and Tanya Huff came over and chatted with us. (My reaction: Tanya Huff!! Talking to me!!) We were all a bit groggy (it being a Sunday morning and all), and Sarah and I were a bit nervous, but we still had a good conversation. I think I managed to not act like a complete fangirl, but I did have her sign some books for me.
Then it was time for Panel #1: Creating a Religion. We went into the room--well, actually we went into the wrong room, figured out that we were in the wrong room, and sheepishly went into the right room. The room was … large. Large enough for two chandeliers on the ceiling. There was a podium. As we came in, a volunteer was just setting up the microphones. (Mind over stomach, mind over stomach…)
Sarah and I got set up, and looked over who we were sharing a panel with (for the twentieth time). They were: the Campbell, Philip K. Dick and Aurora-winning author, Robert Charles Wilson; author of nine novels and four poetry collections, Phyllis Gotlieb; and the notable Gemma Files. And Sarah, of course, has recently sold her first pro short story to the Wonder Zone book Odyssey--the first of many, I'm sure.
I started to sing, "One of these things just doesn't belong here…"
To make matters more interesting, Dan and Erin had asked me if I'd heard "what we do to new panelists." Um, no… I tried to pry some info out of them, but neither was budging. My nervousness increased. (Mind over stomach, mind over stomach…)
The panel actually went really well. No one could see that my hands were shaking at the beginning, because I hid them under the table. As Sarah said later, it became more of a discussion of theology than actually creating a religion, which was somewhat disappointing, but I managed. I think I spent most of the time that I was speaking trying to get the conversation out of the "Western religious thinking" groove that we seemed to be stuck in. I also spent a good deal of time watching Dan and Erin out of the corner of my eye, certain of my Impending Doom. Yeah, they got me. What do they do to new panelists? Freak us out. Mission accomplished!
Afterwards, I said to Sarah, "That was fun! I want to do it again!"
To which she replied, "How about this afternoon?"