I had meant to blog about this a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had time because of assignments, social life, attending events I'll be referring to, and just generally because I've been a lazy blogger. But assignments are all done now and I'm free from study commitments for a few weeks. So, now is the time for me to catch the blogosphere up on the shenanigans I've been getting into, especially, in this post, during Melbourne's Emerging Writers' Festival.
I made it to six of the twelve free events I was intending to go to, which is a much better achievement than last year, when I only went to one event at all.
I went to two and a half events on Wednesday 28 May. At Thousand Pound Bend in Melbourne's CBD, the festival's hub hosted 'Festival Icebreaker with Our Mates Mary'. I attended initially alone, but made a new friend as soon as I got there. This really cool chick named Margo and I were both having trouble finding the entrance and ended up figuring out it was around the back side of the building, down a rather stabby-looking alleyway... together, we managed to enter the building without getting stabbed. Upon entry, we were given half a quote each, from well known pieces of literature by well known authors. The point of the night was to meet other people while trying to locate the person with the other half of your quote, and then work together to identify the author. I was given the first half of a quote, which read, "I don't want everyone to like me...". I didn't think I had met the person with the other half of my quote until after the event, when I found out what the other half actually was and realised that I HAD in fact spoken to someone wit the other half. The full quote was "I don't want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did", a quote by Henry James, whose work I am unfamiliar with. But this event was awesome, I had a lovely time drinking Shiraz and talking to other writerly people.
On the same night, at the same venue, not long after the first event wrapped up, I stayed for part of the event 'Kill Your Darlings: Highbrow vs Lowbrow', in which the literary magazine Kill Your Darlings had a set of debates. In an entertaining battle between participants, we debated highbrow vs lowbrow music, and highbrow vs lowbrow literature. The next event I was going to started before this event finished, so I missed out on the debate between highbrow and lowbrow television, but those first two rounds were entertaining.
I was not the only person at Thousand Pound Bend who was attending the next event at The Wheeler Centre, a discussion panel dubbed No light, No literature. My new friend Margo and her quote-buddy (she found hers) left the KYD event during the drink break between rounds with a group of others and chattered the whole two blocks to the next event. We were only a couple of minutes late. The event was a 'Tweet free zone' (they said they'd confiscate our phones upon entry, but they just told us to turn them off and not use them when they were letting us in). Basically, there was an panel of three writers behind a black curtain, anonymously being interviewed by the MC. I might have had a couple of glasses of Shiraz too many to fully appreciate what was being said, but the main thing that stuck out to me was that in the publishing industry, it really is about who you know. A willingness to find somewhere to get in wherever you can, even if it isn't where you want to end up, will help you greatly, and it's okay to start off in a humble place. For example, one of the panelists said she broke into the industry by volunteering at events (such as the one we were at) and "fetching water for the guest speakers". However, she advised caution not to let yourself become a doormat for people to walk all over.
After the event, it was just after 11 o'clock at night and Margo and I broke away from the rest of the group as we all headed our separate ways home. I very nearly asked if I could add her on Facebook or if she had a blog or a Twitter account I could follow, but I suppose my awkwardness got the better of me and I just didn't. So shout-out to Margo, if you find this blog post, don't be shy like I was, leave a comment!
Overall, I had a pretty fantastic night. I'll be back with another blog post about the other events I went to later in the week!
Did you go to any of the EWF events? Did you go to any other writerly events?