Monday, May 24, 2010

SWF Post Mortem. And Other Stuff...

Okay, so I'm back from the Sydney Writer's Festival. Got home at about 5.30 last night, after a relatively cruisey drive down from Sydney. Despite my best intentions of blogging every day of the festival, I didn't manage it after the first couple. Sorry. (Oddly, the rapid decline in my blogging co-incided with the arrival in Sydney of Imogen, Toby, and my parents. Co-incidence? I'll let you decide.)

It was a great week, though. Next year I want to go just to play, not work. Although the good thing about my job is that if I do go up just to play, then it'll still count as work. Woot!

There were a lot of highlights, following on from the fantastic schools days with their huge crowds.

Early Thursday morning I walked around the harbour to the state library, soaking up a really peaceful sunrise, including this view across to the opera house:

One of the things I do really miss living in Canberra are the sounds and smells of the ocean, and last thursday morning I had them in abundance - made for a great start to the day. At the state library, I ran a masterclass on Young Adult writing, which was attended by a really great group of people, ranging from editors right through to actual 'young adults' themselves. Everyone there was very switched on, keen to involve themselves in some wide ranging discussion and debate, and really open to new ideas and perspectives, which made for a relaxing and engaging morning.

Thursday afternoon saw me drive out to the airport in the pouring rain, to pick up my family, and then back in to the city though peak hour traffic. This was somewhat less relaxing than my walk that morning, but we got there in the end, which is the important bit.

My friday gig had, unfortunately, been cancelled at the last minute, which did at least free up the day for me to go to Taronga Park with the family. Despite pouring rain for a good chunk of the afternoon, this was a lot of fun.

Saturday afternoon I met with some young writers over at the Australian Maritime Museum and, along with fellow authors Jaclyn Moriarty, Susanne Gervay and William Kostakis spent a pleasant couple of hours discussing the various ins and outs of the writing world. Hopefully we'll be able to do this again later in the year, for a more extended workshop.

Sunday morning started with the surreal experience of a fire alarm, and having to evacuate the hotel in our pyjamas (well, technically I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt at that point). Outside it was raining. Neither Imogen nor myself was wearing shoes. On the bright side, it was a false alarm and we didn't have to hang around for too long. On the brighter side, Toby drew great delight from pointing at the firetruck and making truck noises.

Later that day I met up with Brian Faulkner, and we headed across for our panel session on 'Writing Science Fiction for Teens'. This was a lot of fun. One of the highlights of the festival for me was being introduced to both Brian, and to his writing. He's a fantastic science fiction writer, with a solid understanding of both the craft of writing, and also the science behind his stories. He's also a very funny bloke to hang out with. Our panel session was very enjoyable, with several very thought provoking questions. In a few days, when I'm getting back on top of my marking pile, I'm planning to post a longer blog just about this particular panel and some of the discussion.

After that it was loading up the car, getting out of town, and hitting the road. And this morning, back to reality - I arrived at the office, all fired up to get right down to work. Would have done so, too, except for the fact that my office door looked like this:

This, naturally, led to a slight productivity drop while the incident reports were filled out (I didn't do it. Various theories include thieves, vandals, disgruntled ex-students, and a very big mouse...) By this afternoon, however, all was repaired and it's back to business as usual.

So, that's the abridged (get it - Bridge? Sydney Harbour... oh, never mind...) version. All in all, a fantastic week, and one I hope to repeat some time down the track.

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