For the first time since I moved to Melbourne I attended the Adelaide Writers’ Week in (you guessed it, Adelaide) I had a duel sort of purpose for being down, one was this and the other was that I officially became godmother to the most adorable little man on the planet. Bliss. It was also, in short, a great little holiday I needed where I read, caught up with old friends, found out lots of new things as well as looked back on the past, but enough about that. What you really want to know about is the Writers’ Week.
Being on a come down from almost being burnt out I put my hand up to be a volunteer at the Writers’ Week and I had fun, I have to say in the least. It was mostly standing around and giving directions as to which tent was which and handing out little seedlings but I did manage to catch Graeme Simsion, Jerry Pinto, Joanna Rakoff and Roxanne Gay. Each were snippets because I was working but I did manage to sit down and hear all of Jerry’s talks, which was fantastic. I left feeling energetic and really wanting to work on my writing because he captured what I could never put into words.
Writing for me (and for him) is like anitch that’s under the skin that I can never scratch and be satisfied. I always need more, I always want to do more. I can’t explain it but I can sit down and happily write for days on end, but ask me to get into the logistics on how to do that and I have no fucking idea how to get it out succinctly for you. I like to sit down and just write and there is nothing more frustrating for when I’m so upset that I can’t write or that I was blocked for two months straight because I can’t get that time back. I can’t spend time trying to get it back. So I’m not going to.
Jerry set himself a goal. And I think it was something like write 1000 words every day for like eight years or something. Now that is a lot of words but he found about 30k that were his true nuggets and he worked with them.
I thought I had seen all I could see with writer’s talking about their process (who really has a process, seriously?) and how they explain it but I hadn’t seen anything until Jerry came alive on the site, his entire being was filled with light and joy when he spoke about writing. That’s how I feel when really get into.
Nevertheless, Adelaide Writers’ Week has been one of the best organised festivals I’ve been to in a long time. There was so much easy and joy and you could see that people love coming to the festival as much as they love putting it on. The only criticism I had was that at some points there were just too many volunteers on. I wanted to have some more hands on experience and being able to stand around and listen while I handed out seedlings was okay for the first half hour but when there are 6 or 7 others doing the same it gets a bit over the top.
Bring back the days when people like Irvine Welsh and Audrey Niffeneggar were around too, there was something lacking in the excitement that bubbled in the air.
Do you guys go to writers’ festivals? What do you get out of them? Let me know.