I realise now that this festival is not for writers… It is about writers but it is not actually for them.
25 May 2013 – It is a beautiful day as I wander from Circular Quay around to the Festival Pick up Point. I am on my own, against my better judgement. Both of my writing friends can’t make it, as one lives in Wollongong and the other is away with her husband. I have my program in my bag, note books, lunch and money for coffee. Here goes…
So I am standing in an enormous line of people twisting and snaking its way through the crowd. A lot of this just feels like chaos. I am not sure what I am going into, or if this is the right line. I’d love to get some coffee before it starts, but so many people have lined up behind me I fear I wont get in. Twitter is alive with #SWF13 activity… and it appears that everyone is having a better time than me.
So many people sitting around drinking coffee and reading their free newspaper. I wish I knew what they knew. I can’t seem to find the front door at this writers festival. I cant seem to figure out the truth of it all. Everyone seems to know each other and know where they are going and what they need to do. As I stand in line, I see friends running into each other, students catching up and volunteers calling out to people walking past. I thought that I would feel a part of something, but I only feel more separate.
I realise now that this festival is not for writers… It is about writers but it is not actually for them. I could have brought SF down to hang out for the day and we would have had a great time together. Had I come here with her, I would not now be sitting on the ground, beside an emergency exit being ask me to move out of the way. (Which happened twice).
On the bus traveling home I was filled with an urgency to write all night. I really needed that after the last few weeks. Perhaps it was simply being in such a close proximity to people who have achieved what I am now craving. I did learn a lot in the talks that I got into. There was a fantastic dialogue about genre fiction writing – and a discussion about altering a book for an overseas market. There was a talk on how it feels to have your work translated, and to give yourself up to a text you cant read yourself. Throughout the day there were golden sentences that I wrote down and took home with me, excited about getting back to work.