Once a year I allow myself to cavort around Walsh Bay in dark sun glasses, high heels and Review cardie, and I try to look all luvvy and creative-like at the Sydney Writers Festival.
This is a vital part of ‘following my dream.’
I think I look like Tara Moss but I’m probably more Jilly Cooper.
I had to move heaven and earth to get to my first session this year – it can be SO tedious when the day job conflicts with my wannabe life as aspiring writer.
But these trips are so invaluable for keeping me motivated. I see the Writers Festival like a sort of work ‘jolly’ – as recompense for the hours of toil I waste at my computer, (with very little to show for it). It’s like a paint sample pot worth of gold that sits close to the finish line of the symbolic rainbow in my head, that keeps me going for the rest of the year.
The ‘end of the rainbow’ being when I finally get something published.
I may kid myself that I go to the festival to further my education, but I actually go there to
pose soak up the ambience by stalking being with bonafide, successful writers and social commentators – people who have been able to justify those hours of frustration, isolation and intense misery.
And the sessions never disappoint. Last year I came out a reinvigorated feminist, ready to storm the government for change and burn my bra if necessary.
And today was no different. By the end of the session, I had developed a renewed vigour for finishing my own book and an even greater motivation to help improve awareness about mental health issues in young people.
This is what culture is all about, people – enhancing your learning via the brilliance of other people.
The theme of the discussion was ‘Wild Things’, and it was about the new-found violence and sociopathic behaviour we are witnessing in 15-19 year old men today, which could be blamed on anything from changing family structures or alcohol consumption to a lack of nurture.
So not exactly aimed at the Bridget Jones blondies like me…
But the main protagonist in my book, (whose working title remains ‘How Much Fucking Longer’) is a wild and angry young man, who lives life impulsively and is always on the edge of trouble. So as you can imagine, the session was full of new ideas to infuse into my character.
Can’t think who could have possibly inspired this character of mine! I must just be brilliant!
The panel sat on these very sexy, writer-ish chairs.
And I decided there and then that I will know that I have truly made it as a writer when I am invited to the Writers Festival to discuss my award-winning and best-selling book and film, and I get to sit on an Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair.
And I also realised that ‘following your dream’ is not just about achieving success, or your goal or that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; it’s about having fun along the way, too.