It’s about to start – the whirly-gig of events that happen during the Melbourne Writer’s Festival and Children’s Bookweek. Having the two festivals coincide makes for a very crazy time for most children’s authors. For me, the action starts tonight with the presentation of awards for the junior writing prizes of the My Brother Jack Literary Festival (yes, another festival). It was a huge job judging the awards this year – 156 short stories and 103 poems were entered in the competition. I’m looking forward to meeting the young prize-winning authors.
Then I’m heading straight onto a party to celebrate the opening of the MWF. Tomorrow I have one day of grace in which to get some writing done before twelve days of back to back events.
On Saturday, Vulture’s Gate will be launched into the world, officially, at Fairfield Library.
On Monday, I’m doing two gigs at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival – one with Julia Lawrinson on ‘Truth, History and Fiction’ and then one on my own talking about ‘Tomorrow, Today’ and the premise of Vulture’s Gate. Then every other day of the week and the following week, I’ll be visiting schools, conducting workshops, catching up with other writers who are in town for the festival or attending Children’s Bookweek events. One good thing about having so much on is that I can’t get particularly stressed about any single event. I’m probably more excited about having a full day of Punch and Judy on Sunday than anything else, simply because it’s outside the normal run of activities for August.
I feel as if I’m living in two universes – one in which I am incredibly busy racing around Melbourne, meeting people and engaging with the present and another where my mind is totally pre-occupied with the book I’m working on. At night, I dream of travel, of being at sea, in airports, other countries or the landscape of my new novel – sailing through the Malacca Straits on my way to India.
Somedays, striking a balance between real life and the life of the imagination is like trying to juggle water. Maybe that’s why writing is like magic. In one moment the ideas are simply falling through the air like raindrops that disappear into the earth and in the next, they’re soaking into the pages of your story. Not the best metaphor, perhaps, but one that makes sense to me as I head out into a rainy Melbourne afternoon.