Sunday, July 29, 2012

You've got to laugh

So there we were the three of us, me, the Duke of Edinburgh's official biographer and internationally-renowned author Adele Geras, all down to speak at 11 in different venues at the Kidwell-e Festival. The only problem was that nobody had turned up to listen to us. So we'd taken ourselves off to the bar and were drinking coffee when a festival organiser approached our table. We all looked up expectantly - although with different expectations I suspect.
'Liz Hinds?' she said.
'Yes,' I waved, expecting to be told, 'You can go home now.'
'You have an audience.'
No, actually she didn't say that. She said, 'You have one lady waiting to hear you speak; do you want to talk to her?'
'Yes!' I leapt up.
It turned out my audience was also a writer - and probably a better one than I - and we had a lovely long chat about writing and the difficulties. She told me about her work in progress, which sounded really exciting. I don't know if I helped her with her block but I threw a few suggestions at her, mainly, 'perhaps you should move.' Which was logical, trust me.

This is me and my audience in front of the rather spectacular sculpture (the venue was a race course in the middle of nowhere).

Apropos of nothing, my journey there took me though Pwll and past Pinged. I said to Husband when I returned, 'I would love to be able to say I live in Pinged, which is just outside Pwll.' He just looked at me in the way he so often does.

And here I am with Adele Geras and Mary Hooper, both best-selling authors. Everyone involved seemed very relaxed and jolly about the whole shambles.

I didn't get to meet the main organiser and inspiration behind the festival - a weekend dedicated to promoting e- and independent publishing - which had seemed such a good idea originally. He failed to show up this morning but I got the impression that he was a bit of a maverick, someone who'd been critical of mainstream literary publishers, festivals and arts councils generally. Maybe he spoke out about them once too often and they returned the favour by staying away and, if not actively discouraging others from attending, refusing to promote the festival in any way.

Whatever, it was all an experience. I'd been warned by a friend who'd been due to speak there today but who'd visited the site yesterday and had withdrawn her support that it was likely to be a disaster so I went without any expectations. 

In addition, even if the event had been well-attended, I was still an unknown author speaking first in the morning in competition with other better-known writers so I would have been happy with a very small audience. 

I knew I should have taken Husband with me. He'd have doubled the crowd.

On the way back I lost the M4 but that's another story.


Rose said...

I'm sorry the festival didn't turn out quite the way you expected, but it sounds like you made the best of it, Liz. And I'm glad you finally found your way home...just how do you lose a motorway??

katney said...

Well, at least you had an adventure, and learned about Amelia Earhart, and found your way home so we could hear about it.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you've retained a sense of humour about your experience, sorry it didn't turn out well though!

Furtheron said...

glad you can see the funny side of it... you can still include it on the CV/bio ... when the target audience is unlikely to know the truth! LOL :-)

Zabby said...

Thanks Liz. You're so right, you have to laugh! I'm really enjoying the book - it's certainly bringing laughs and light-heartedness into my life. And thanks for the chat too. It was really lovely and helpful. :-)

Liz said...

It's easy, rose!

Indeed, katney, and it was a sunny day.

Not to worry, cathbore, as katney said, I had an adventure!

Indeed, furtheron. 'Speaker at national literary festival' will sound good on my CV.

Hi Zabby, Thanks. it's not great literature but if it makes people smile then I'm happy. Looking forward to hearing more from 'the Lady'.