Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reality Bites

Last weekend I attended the Reality Bites Nonfiction Festival in Cooroy, Queensland. The festival is held over two weekends and this was the first of the two. I found it exciting but pretty exhausting. I flew up on Saturday morning, appeared on one panel on Saturday afternoon, a second on Sunday morning, and then flew home Sunday afternoon. Phew!

The weather wasn't wonderful - overcast most of the time and quite cool. Very disappointing for a southerner. I'd hoped for a little sunshine.

The organisers had worked hard to put together a varied and interesting program and a team of volunteers made it all happen. The speakers were ferried to and from the airport, between venues, and to and from their accommodation. It all seemed to run like clockwork.

I enjoyed my sessions enormously. The first was Grief, Loss and Recovery and I shared the stage with Paul Valent, a retired psychiatrist who has worked extensively in this area. Annette Hughes in the chair made sure it was a really memorable session. I think we were all just about in tears.

The following morning I ran into Paul and his lovely wife Julie in the rain in the streets of Noosaville. Spending time with them was a highlight of the trip for me.

Sunday morning's panel, Absent Parents, was chaired by local writer, Steven Lang. Those are my hands in the picture below, waving around, making a point:

Here I'm at it again, talking with my hands. I shared the stage with David Carlin and we talked about our absent parents: my mother whom I watched as she was swallowed alive by Alzheimer's, his father who killed himself when David was six months old. I couldn't help thinking how proud David's father would be of him, and what a good job his mother did.

Both our books contain sadness but both also joy and hope I think. We'll be discussing them again this Saturday at the New Voices 2010 Festival. This festival is run by the folks at the Eltham Bookshop and will take place at St Margaret's Anglican Church Hall, Pitt Street, Eltham, from 9.30.

Our session, at 3.30, is called Whispered Imagining, and we'll be talking about the art of memoir, guided by Catherine Cole.

The program is varied and I'm looking forward to it. Recently I read Glenys Osborne's remarkable novel, Come Inside, so I'm particularly excited to have the opportunity to hear her discuss her writing process. That session is on at 11.15.

So, if you're free on Saturday and are not too far away, come to Eltham. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. And what a delight it was to appear on a panel with you Vivienne. Thank you for your candour and warmth, and for coming up to share your story with us.