The last couple of months have been a busy time for me. As other writers will attest to, Book Week seems to have turned into Book Month somewhere along the line and I’ve only just finished a steady stream of school and library visits. I could give you a bunch of stats here but I’d rather sit down and get some writing done, so instead I’ll just say that I drove a lot, talked a lot, listened a lot, and laughed a lot. It was energising and exhausting, all at once. And bookings are coming in for 2012, which is lovely, but also a little alarming.
I am always amazed by the creative and insightful ideas kids come up with. There was a great wealth of these this year, but I have to say that my favourite comment from a student was: “Meg, you are the most expiring author I have ever met!” Coming at the end of a long day, this was at once motivating and accidentally apt.
Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo.
But you can take the crosstown bus
If it’s raining or it’s cold,
And the animals will love it
If you do.
Somethin’ tells me
It’s all happening at the zoo.
It wasn’t cold or raining. It was fine and sunny. I didn’t have time to catch the bus but that was okay because my thoughtful hosts had reserved a parking space for me.
But it was most definitely all happening at the zoo.
In Japanese, that means “It’s been a long time”, and it has. I spent some of the last month travelling in Japan, some of it travelling home, and the rest of it trying to get used to being in Australia again and catching up on the many jobs which seemed to pile upon me the moment I touched down.
I should do a post-Japan wrap-up, but I’m not quite in that space yet. And I have a formal Asialink report to write which needs to take priority.
Yes, I’ve re-entered the atmosphere.
Last weekend, I read at the Moon Cafe. I scrambled to stitch together some poems that had been lying in pieces for far too long – one a day for the eight days leading up to the reading was my goal, but in the end I managed seven. Which is pretty good, I think. What’s that old saying – “Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars?” Lately, I have been feeling rather more like the more recent re-working – “Reach for the stairs; they’re closer” – but either way, I got seven new poems out of it, so I am very happy.
It was a lovely afternoon – stinking hot on the Moon but I like the heat. I like the weather, actually, and do not like the way we seem to increasingly avoid it via the so-called necessities of air-con and so forth. I do like it when the air is moving, though. An oscillating fan will do me most of the time. It was almost tropical at the Moon, with the humidity and the closeness and the overhead fans and the languid couches, and I loved it. And I think there might be a poem in there somewhere – “Give Me Weather”? Perhaps I’ll scratch that down shortly.
It was hot. It was humid. It was fantastic.
Let’s just say I was there from start of day until close of business and I do not do festivals/large gatherings of people well at all. I’m the hermitty type most drawn to Michael Leunig’s favoured “…Festival of Clouds/the festival that doesn’t pull the crowds”, so for me to put in eight solid hours at a festival says something about the event.
We spent the day outside under the trees, as writer after writer appeared before us on the Kids’ Courtyard Stage (I presented there last year, at midday, in similar, soupy conditions, and let me tell you it is much more relaxing lying back on cushions on the grass, in the shade).
Or rather, at the Moon. If you grow weary of the international excellence and convivial literary atmosphere that is the Perth Writers’ Festival, come up to the Moon Cafe and enjoy the local excellence and so-called ‘op-shop decor’ (to quote the West) of Perth Poetry Club.
I’ll be reading on Saturday 27 Feb, in two slots from around 2pm and there’ll also be open mic for those of you so inclined.
I hope my legs don’t break/reading at the Moon.
Perth Poetry Club: “Where Slams Meet Sonnets”.
The Moon Cafe: 323 William St, Northbridge.
Over the last week I’ve visited libraries from Mandurah to Morley, with a Fremantle stopover closer to home, talking to kids about books and writing and the fantastic Premier’s Summer Reading Challenge. I love carrying my little box of bits and pieces into the cozy corners of libraries and seeing who’s waiting for me there, especially when they turn out to be as delightful and creative as the groups I met this year.
Thanks to everyone who came out on very hot days to hear me talk, and help me plot (in every sense!). I hope you were all inspired to take up the reading challenge, not just over summer, but always. Remember that you can keep reading until 8th February, but make sure your entries are in by the 15th. As well as reading some great books, you’ll have the chance to win some amazing prizes (just and don’t forget – that trip to Broome is mine!).