The streets are packed, everyone is running late for work and it is standing room only on the bus. Adelaide’s mad March is on again. It kicked off with the fringe a couple of weeks ago, then hit a bit of a low with the Clipsal 500 starting Friday morning, countered somewhat with the launch of the Arts Festival on Friday night, lifted again by Adelaide Writers’ Week starting on Saturday.
This year there are a lot of authors I have never heard of at Writers’ Week. There are also a lot of authors who specialise in areas I don’t read a lot of; poetry, biography, political commentary. At first, I must confess, I was a little disappointed with the line-up; there are very few speculative fiction writers, and very few commercially popular writers, but I guess a big part of what the festival offers is discovery.
A lot of people have asked me what I get out of it, and in truth not many of them know I write, so the appeal for me may not be obvious. But when they asked me this, it struck me as odd that I couldn’t really answer them with any great clarity.
I do find it fascinating to hear writers talk of their process for bringing a novel into the world, but would I change my process based on their experience? I doubt it. When authors tell of where they get their ideas, does it change my idea-harvesting technique? No, not at all.
All I can conclude is that I love to hear people talk about writing, whether it be well published authors with 50 publications to their name, or my writers group friends who are still trying to find a publishing house for their first novel.
Writing can be a very lonely pastime. Sure it is also wonderful and magical, but when you resurface into the real world, you realise it is just the cat there (or a human loved one) who doesn’t fully understand where you have been for the last three hours. Writers festivals are full of people who understand, and that is a nice place to be… At least for a little while.
The Adelaide Writers’ Week runs from March 2nd to March 7th (no, not a whole week, but Adelaide Writers’ Six Days doesn’t have the same ring to it).