I have been carrying a camera around with me for the last ten or so days, but have been unable to post them up until now, so I thought I’d do a pictorial recap of my experience of the EWF 2010 festival. Some of the shots are unsalvageable, so please forgive me if your photos aren’t here.
Does anyone recall last year’s 15 Minutes of Fame? Angela Meyer perched on a stool, interviewing timid-looking writers also perched on stools. Free wine tastings. Small room. Guy slumped in the pod on the other side of the glass wall, oblivious to the EWF happenings.
Well, this year’s first 15 Minutes is like last year’s 15 Minutes on steroids. Think imposing Wheeler Centre stage, bright lights, square armchairs. Think Estelle Tang with seductively husky radio voice, telling post-Catholic neurotic, Joel Magarey, to ‘suck it up’ on stage*. Think Meyer and Tang having a face-off, with Meyer later admiting that Tang’s 15 Minutes was funnier than hers. You missed out. Yeah, you did.
Miscellaneous Voices, an anthology of Australian blog writing, is Miscellaneous Press’ first title. Editor Karen Andrews and contributor Carla Del Vecchio represented the anthology; both discussed their blogs and why they loved blogging. In spite of the imperfections, blog posts are often written in the heat of the moment and thus have a ‘raw power or beauty about them’. Andrews tried to distill this in the anthology, choosing pieces that resonated with a coincidentally personal bent.
Reviews for Miscellaneous Voices were mostly positive. There was one reviewer who didn’t see the point of such a book, since they had already read five of their favourite pieces previously online, but Tang was quick to note that Voices would have been a great introduction to twenty-six other bloggers. Geordie Williamson’s review also came up. In response to ‘some pieces show signs of having been gussied up at the last moment for publication’, Andrews declared that the edits were similar to that of any other book.
Andee Jones, writer of the memoir Kissing Frogs, started her fifteen minutes with a tongue-in-cheek performance, establishing the tone for the rest of the evening. Her memoir details a mature woman’s experience with internet dating. A child of the sixties, she had never been on a date before, believed it to only happen on sitcoms. But she had hoped that one got braver as one got older, so she gave it a try. Jones comes across as sassy and self-reliant and her book seems less cynical than Michaela McGuire or Clementine Ford’s thoughts on internet dating.
Next up was Lucienne Noontil who wrote and illustrated Possum Tales. Storytelling for adults is not quite the same as it is for kids. Noontil deliberately adopted a patronising tone in her reading and was rewarded by silly interjections from Tang. Afterwards, the two spoke about the editing process, how every word has to count in a children’s book and how one has to avoid offending readers. For instance, Rusty the possum leaves home, but Noontil had to word it in such a way so that it didn’t sound like he was getting kicked out of home.
In the last quarter, Joel Magarey spoke about his book Exposure, which details his global odyssey. He had hoped to replicate a state of being he had experienced while living with a tribe in Papua New Guinea; he believed that his Western existence had a surplus of choice, leading to bewilderment and anxiety.
Magarey described the process of writing Exposure as psychotherapy: he had been through the pain during his travels but learning to understand it was like light. What he noted was that comedy equals tragedy plus time and was darkness transposed, something he would talk about further in his other EWF gig, Going to a Dark Place. Yes, 15 minutes is all about the spruiking, people**. Get over it.
*She did apologise profusely afterwards.
Update: Damnit, Jodie Kinnersley beat me to it. She’s already posted on 15 Minutes. THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION.
The Emerging Writers’ Festival starts this Friday (21st of May). I’m working this Friday. I am also rostered this Saturday (22nd), Sunday (23rd), Monday (24th), Tuesday (25th), Wednesday (26th), Thursday (27th), Friday (28th), and Saturday (29th). In other words, with the exception of Sunday (30th), I am working every day of the festival. They’re not nine-to-five shifts, but I usually finish around seven, which means I won’t be able to make most of EWF’s weeknightly events. No Write What You Know or Creative Writing Bootcamp for Thuy!
My position is casual/part-time. Usually, I don’t mind working weekends and the extra odd shift, but when all of the full-timers decide to take time off during the week of a festival (for non-festival-related activities), I start to mind a lot.
I managed to wheedle an early night out of one of my bosses so I’ll be able to go to Monday’s 15 Minutes of Fame with Estelle Tang, and I’ll be Page Parlouring on Sunday the 23rd at Fed Square, selling Brows and buying the journal equivalent of several rain forests—
I was going to give a lowdown on the rest of my EWF schedule (plus bitch some more), but my internet browser just crashed, and I lost most of my post, and it’s twenty-one minutes to midnight, and I have to grab some sleep off the shelf. So, how about we rendezvous on Sunday evening? I’ll tell you how my day of Page Parlouring went, and you can tell me what events I should go to, or something like. It’s like totally a date you guys. Like totally.