Been scouting the sites this morning and see many have already posted wrap-ups of various EWF events. My truth includes just one downer, which didn't really have anything to do with the festival, but my trip home on Thursday. Won't go into it, but for a while it inspired a piece titled 'Dear Connex', but I don't think that's going to happen. Would rather think about the fun things.
I enjoyed so many aspects of the festival, it's kind of hard to narrow it down to just a few, but I'm willing to give it a try. At risk of it sounding oh so wrong, one of the things I most liked was the opportunity to wean my (8 month old) baby by not leaving my boobs at home. I also enjoyed that the panel I spoke on 'Just Write Dammit!' was the first of the weekend, as I was then able to relax (and see others stressing prior to their own). PD Martin introduced us to the concept of a 10K Day, which I hope to try one day.
I got to meet and speak to many, many people, including some I now call friends. It is true that I love a good chat (though it seemed not everyone already knew this). I enjoyed listening to words of advice (and entertainment) from panellists I'd never heard before, and some I had, as well as soaking up the excitement of fellow attendees. All of the festival staff were friendly, helpful and approachable, and I particularly liked the way they engaged with festval goers and in being part of the audience themselves. I took courage from at least one panellist who is brave enough to go places where most of us aren't and appreciated the reminders from many others who brought wise words out from the dark corners to the forefront of my mind.
Oh, and I challenged writers to check out a stranger next time they were on the train/in a cafe/wherever and to think about the stranger as a character. To make some notes not only about their general appearance but to imagine things about them that might spark a story/poem/whatever they write: where are they going? what are they hiding? what is their biggest secret? what is in their bag? etc. Feel free to let me know how you go if you decide to try this.
I even managed to be seduced by the younguns (well, maybe only one) into staying out drinking later and larger quantities than I intended. While I avoided the drunken temptation to dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller with youngun, I am not so sure I got through Sunday without appearing to be one. I dragged myself to the 10am session where we all dreamed of being signed by a publisher into a guaranteed bestseller market (for several books). And later, to find out what a mentorship has to offer, by Stu Hatton.
As if all that wasn't enough, I somehow competed in another slam in the evening, and while I didn't win a prize (Santo Cazzati took home the magpies footy!), I perfomed well enough to earn a spot in the next one, which I think is a kind of preliminary final before the big one. So pencil in August 4th.
Meanwhile, I'm off for another coffee.