Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ah, is that you Spring? Must be Brisbane Writers' Festival Time ...

I live for my family. I live for friends, a good walk, red skinny jeans and cooking the perfect creme brulee. I also live for the Brisbane Writers' Festival. This is my time of the year. I have my already well-worn copy of the program from The Weekend Australian. I have colour-coded events and authors I absolutely must see, events I wouldn't mind seeing and events outside my usual taste and comfort-zone - for this is where serendipity comes into play. I have a (growing) list of books I must buy at this year's festival and I am about to transform my initial confusion (think kid in a candy shop) into a very grown-up spreadsheet. Go to www.bwf.org.au for ticket details.
After my first writers' festival in Ubud in 2007 (where I forewent the chance to party with Richard Flanagan - sigh - because I was there to learn, listen and work) and after being a paying participant at the BWF for years, this year for the first time, I am a Brisbane Writers' Festival volunteer. I will wear a blue t-shirt adorned with a heart-shaped stack of books (can you think of anything more appropriate?), help people find where they need to go, hopefully get to meet authors, and listen in on some fabulous talks. So when I say I live for my family, well, they will have to look after themselves between September 5 and 9. Okay, I will cook up a freezer full of food and worry about the mountain of washing created in my absence later.
Another reason why I love the Brisbane Writers' Festival, apart from all things books, is that it marks a time when the weather begins to turn in our beautiful city. I have embraced winter rather than endured it this year - with the help of a slow cooker, a super-comfy cable-knit jumper and our new fire-pit in the back yard. But there's no time of the year I look forward to with such anticipation than September.The State Library's Queensland Terrace with its Great Wall of China (one hell of a crazy tea set)  is touched by the warm hand of spring, birds are atwitter and City Council buses rumble by on the street level below. It's there that I see the same lady from West End every year as if some magic brings us together to the same spot year after year. We both know this and we glean a silly comfort from it. I don't even know her name.
Today also marks the deadlines for several short story competitions that have plagued my working subconscious for some time. Do I have anything ready? Maybe. Do I have anything good enough to enter in the extremely profitable Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers? Probably not, but it's worth a crack and the experience is invaluable. So today, I will be at my desk in a flurry of last-minute editing, concentration and hope.