Last November, post conference, I was in Helsinki. After only a handful of half-lit hours during the day, the evenings became colder and darker. In such inauspicious circumstances, there were two choices. Stay inside the relative familiarity of the hotel, or do as the locals do: go to a sauna.
And so this is where my partner and I headed. Off to the docks, past the small boats and luxury liner. All the way to the end of a quay, to a small wooden building perched on the edge, ominously waymarked by a red light. We took off our shoes and dutifully lined them up with all the other neatly placed pairs inside the door. Then we paid the man for towels – one to sit on, one to wrap around.
|The red-lit sauna|
The process was: heat yourself to the point of combustion, then run out and plunge directly in to the Baltic. And repeat as many times as required. It quickly became apparent that we would need a swimming costume for the latter part of this experience – which we could borrow, if we wanted.
It is my eternal regret that I declined (albeit that I am quite possibly still alive as a result), but my partner accepted (he is still alive, but no thanks to the 11 degrees sea). I made do with a towel, and merely standing in the freezing air. After the volcanic heat of the sauna, this, was quite 'plungey' enough for me.
My point is this: you may be a little unsure whether the conference is for you or not. It's far off in some strange city. You don't know anyone who's going. It's getting cold out there, for goodness sake, and dark. Wouldn't it be better, all round, to stay put, hear about it afterwards?
The answer, I'm afraid (and I'm a great one for taking the warmer option) is no. For memorable experiences (good or bad), you've got to be there, where it's happening. You've got to put on your swimmers, and plunge in. It's no good hearing about it from someone else. You've got to feel that wonderful tingling sensation for yourself.
So go on, click here to book yourself in to the conference. It will refresh all those parts not being there won't reach.
Monday's Monthly Inspiration piece from K M Lockwood - how to make the most out of what children say
Tuesday's delectable pick of the blogs, in Nick's Ten-Minute Blog Break
Wednesday's Proofreading Tips from Catriona - this month, it's metaphorically speaking
Thursday's Event Report comes from Alison Gardiner, at the latest Industry Insiders MG & YA event
Friday's new Featured Illustrator, this month it's Jane Porter
Nancy Saunders is the Editor of W&P. You can find some of her short stories here, and on Twitter @nancyesaunders