Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Making Hay

This is my office door and it's SHUT.  The artist's palette (thieved from my dad's studio while still wet) makes as good a 'do not disturb' sign as any.  I'm busy redrafting my novel so for the next few weeks, my head is well and truly down.  Resisting the temptations of procrastination that blogging undoubtedly offers, I'll make my Hay Festival follow-up post as short and sweet as I can bear to.  There's so much I could say about my first trip to this stellar arts fest, but in the end I'll settle for plain old 'awesome.'  Here's why...

I was bursting with pride all day long (still now, a week on), because The Etherington Brothers lit up the Starlight Stage on their first appearance.  My husband and his brother Lorenzo entertained and inspired a 200-strong crowd of children and parents, delivering a workshop on graphic novel creative processes and character development that had all-comers enthralled.  It was the first time I'd really seen the boys in action and, simply, they smashed it.

I also heard four exciting debut novelists talk about their work.  Téa Obreht, Sarah Winman, Sam Leith and Mirza Waheed are all members of the 'Waterstone's Eleven' - hugely different writers in style and scope but all brilliant at talking about what they do and why they do it.  It was an educative hour - a particularly gratifying moment coming when an audience member asked about 'redrafting' and they all said how different their finished books were as a result of copious revisions.  This is not new news - didn't someone say that 'writing is rewriting'? - but somehow it's ALWAYS nice to hear it again. 

Thanks to Bobby's VIP status, we wined and dined, gratis, in the artists' area of the Ascari Restaurant.  It was the cherry on the cake (actually it was steak frites and a bottle of rouge). I attempted to play it cool, while literary heroes drifted in and out of my sight lines. 

Just as we were leaving the sun burst out from behind the rain clouds, bathing the surrounding hillsides in a neon kind of light.  So there endeth our Hay day.  We trained it back to Bristol with hearts warmed, souls full, and creative spirit invigorated.