Book Week has been and gone and authors everywhere are … self-medicating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic fun and a real privilege to be spruiking the pleasures of reading and writing but hey, I’m not teacher-trained and soon learned I lack stamina. After four consecutive days of workshops, I was totally Jatz Crackered. I’ve got to say I have the utmost respect for educators who are committed, clever and energetic at what they do, day-in, day-out.
I also feel for those struggling with the enormity of their daily duties. Flicking back through the diary I’m reminded of one educator who looked to have lost control of their class. It reminded me of a scene I witnessed in India, a pack of vultures tearing apart an injured lamb. The daily stress for that teacher must be nigh-on unbearable.
The Melbourne Writers’ Festival has also wound up for 2009. I didn’t get to any sessions this year because I was workshopping in schools. I did score an invite to the launch party hosted by Text Publishing – because I’m teaming up with Text for my next novel! It was a top night, a good chance to meet the Text team and to introduce myself to some great wordsmiths. Hopefully I kept the faux pas to a minimum. Hopefully.
I was also chuffed to attend the YA Muster – a delicious dumpling dinner with some of Australia’s gun authors for young adults. It was reassuring to hear that we’re all on the same page, if you’ll pardon the pun, when it comes to issues such as book signing tables, school visits and juggling author time with other duties.
Other recent highlights included selecting prizewinners for writing workshop activities at Overnewton Anglican Community College (and seeing their eyes light up) and a reader-to-writer-to-journo-to-author talk to Year 10 at Aitken College, where they actually laughed at some of my gags.
This week I helped relaunch a library at Kilvington Girls’ Grammar, which was a first for me. On Friday, I’ll be be workshopping out west with young storytellers.
I’m also filling in again as Younger Readers’ book reviewer for the Sunday Age. And, in another first, some of the books on my desk are by authors I have met. Will that influence my reviews? I don’t think so. As I have written previously, 150 words doesn’t leave much room for bias.
On top of all this I have 10 days left to get in sufficiently good nick to survive a 120 km bike ride through the Kinglake hills, four weeks to help my wife set up her new business and four months to edit/redraft what will become my second novel. Not that I’m counting… or freaking out. Much.
For the record, I’m also jumping on the Bulldogs bandwagon for the footy finals. Personally, I reckon my team, the Kangas, should merge with the Dogs as they have similar histories, colours and cultures and traditionally struggle for cash. I say solve the money and membership issues and create a western suburbs superteam. Unlikely, I know. So, this September, go Scraggers!