I went to the Small Wonder short story festival on Sunday. I had my first internet meet too! Vanessa Gebbie (whose on-line writing forum I am a member of) and Elizabeth (another forum member) picked me up at Lewes station and we returned to Vanessa’s for lunch. I have to admit I was nervous about meeting for the first time but Vanessa made me feel so welcome and was even lovelier than I had imagined she would be, somehow softer and warmer. She really is all kinds of ace…thanks Vanessa.
On to the festival where we saw Will Hodgkinson speaking about his books Guitar Man and Song Man and how a song can be a short story. He was joined in conversation by a singer/songwriter called Mara Carlyle, and she sung a song in a voice so wonderful, clear, sparkling and gorgeous that I promptly forgot everything else!
Fay Weldon was up next, a grande dame full of wit and experience. She was followed by Yiyun Li, who seemed immensely likeable and interesting. My problem came when they read from their books. I listened for a bit and then my mind began a drift away from what they were saying, the words washing over me as I mused on gawd knows what and then pulled myself back into focus. I thought about this afterwards, trying to recall other readings I have been present at.
When I have seen poets speak their own words they have brought sense and meaning with them (Les Murray reading his poetry illuminates in such a stunning way it really is akin to a translation). However this magic hasn’t occurred when listening to writers of prose. My light bulb moment is in realising that I simply like my words to be on a page. I want to see them, and when I can’t some concentration is lost.
I don’t like reading prose aloud either, although I know that as a writer I am supposed to. in order to check for rhythm and such.
Erm, that’s it actually, not sure why.