Q: What is more fun than laundry and packing?
A: Pretty much everything, but I’m plumping down on the side of blogging.
Gabrielle says, “Isn’t it amazing to talk (and debate) with other writers?”
It sure is! I’m still buzzing from the high of Reading Matters and then last night it continued as I got to spend time with some of the top writers in the universe. Including—wait for it—Jaclyn Moriarty! Me and Randa Abdel-Fattah (who wrote the gorgeous and wry Does My Head Look Big in This?) were introduced to her at the same time and in unison we burst out with, “I love your books!” And proceeded to fangirl her. I’m such a dag sometimes. At least I wasn’t alone in my worship! Talking with both Jaclyn and Randa was one of the many highlights of this trip home.
Writing is a lonely profession. You spend oodles of time on your own: thinking, pacing, procrastinating, grumbling, and (eventually) getting words on paper. You get very little feedback on those words until than a year after you’ve finished deleting and pushing them around. Sometimes it feels like the only people you talk to are your agent and your editor and your cat. No matter how lovely they all are it’s not enough.
The occasions when you get to hang out with other writers are gold. You get to talk shop, hear about other writers’ processes, their relationships with their agents and editors and cats, hear gossip about writers you haven’t met. You get the warm and wonderful feeling of not being isolated. There are people who know exactly what it’s like to live and work the way you do.
I don’t know how I would have finished Magic’s Child—the third book in my trilogy—if it hadn’t been for Scott and Libba Bray sharing their war stories as they battled the third books in their trilogies. Not being alone makes the world a more manageable place.
And that’s one of the points David Levithan was making when he called for more books to be published in Australia by and about a greater range of people. If you’re a gay or lesbian kid there’s not a lot on the bookshelves here that touches on your experiences and what there is comes from overseas like David’s Boy Meets Boy. I still remember the shock of recognition the first time I ever read a book that was set in an area of Sydney that I knew: Patricia Wrightson’s I Own the Racecourse. Finding people like you in books is even more intense and way more necessary. Being alone can be wonderful, but being isolated not so much.
Most of us need to know we have peers.
The past few days has been chockfull of meeting people like me: Writers (like Jacqueline Wilson), Australian writers (like Simmone Howell), Australian writers who live in more than one place (like Jaclyn Moriarty). I am overwhelmed with the sense of having not one, but many communities. It’s a glorious feeling.