Festival Aftermath

a rock and roll writers festival logo

Right now, I want to spend the day hastily overwhelming the blog with stories, quotes, and contemplations. That’s the aftermath of festivals for you.

There are few things in life quite as inspiring as listening to passionate, knowledgeable people talking about a subject they love, and making room in their understanding of the world for someone else’s ideas and experiences. It’s kinda sexy, actually.

I’m finding my feet after two days at Brisbane’s inaugural ‘A Rock & Roll Writers Festival’, which was less about writing the perfect top 40 hit, and more about creatives bitch-slapping the taboos and BS surrounding an industry they love.

Far too often, we assume that love means being ignorant to the faults of the object of that devotion.It’s one of the reasons people mistake patriotism for blind, ignorant devotion (and why challenging the status quo is so often labelled ‘unpatriotic’). It’s also one of the reasons it’s taken so long for Bill Cosby’s alleged victims to be listened to.

We like to pretend that the things we love are perfect. Sonnets and love songs are filled to overflowing with the sentiment, after all. And whenever people point out the flaws, it’s easy to get defensive and aggressive (pretty sure no one needs me to list those pop culture examples).

Given how personally we relate to music (and storytelling in general), there’s always a risk in pointing out that hey, it’s a multi-billion dollar global industry that’s still far too racist and misogynistic. It’s a conversation we need, but not one that happens often enough in public, offline spaces. But it happened in Brisbane this past weekend, and that makes me so happy and proud.

There’s something beautiful in watching people who love the industry they work in standing up and demanding it at least try to reach its potential. It’s not about dismissing the positives, or kicking out for the sake of arguments or getting attention. It’s about saying that you love something enough to demand it step up, get its shit together, and be the absolute best it can be.

So you’re probably going to see quite a few posts over the next little while, because ideas need to be shared, and this was two days of wall to wall ideas deserving of exploration and attention.

I’ll try to keep the hyperactivity to myself, though.

For now, though, if you want to get an idea of what you missed, or listen to the playlists created by the panelists and creators of the festival, head on over here.

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Self-Care For Writers: Some Tips!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my Chuck Wendig love at least once here (probably far more than that). But in case you’re the sort of weird soul who doesn’t follow his blog and throw themselves over there at the hint of new content… there’s new content, of the really good variety.

Self-care is the conversation we always need,  but try to avoid. But if you’re looking to avoid creative burn out for a while longer, Chuck’s got some advice over here: Self-Care For Writers: Some Tips!

And now, our regularly scheduled fangirling

I am going to put it out there: Brisbane has some phenomenal writers.

We’ve got Krissy Kneen, we’ve got Craig Bolland, Angela Slatter (she’s still one of us, right?), Nick Earls, Kari Gislason… and dammit, we have Peter M. Ball. My city has talent, y’all.

I’ve talked about my habit of developing literary crushes before, right?

For those playing the home game, it means falling hard for a writer and their work- not just because they’re sexy as hell even without the witty turn of phrase (though that happens), but because oh my god I want to curl up with their works and sigh for a while. I want to explore every inch of their writing as often as it takes to understand it, and to find the brushstrokes used to create that thing I’m flailing awkwardly over.

About six months of flailing awe beyond the literary crush is the point where I blurt out in polite conversation that someone is my spirit animal.

Courtesy of a random stranger on Tumblr, I give you my regular conversational faux pas.
Courtesy of a random stranger on Tumblr, I give you my regular conversational faux pas.

It happens far more often than is strictly polite. Mycroft is my spirit animal, Moriarty is my spirit animal (but only when we’re out of coffee), Paul McDermott and Chuck Wendig are the gods of my spirit animal pantheon of oddity, blurting out wisdom and dick jokes as they terrorise the mortals around them. But Peter M. Ball is getting up there, too.

Look at this post, dammit. It’s a thing of beauty. Maybe it’s the use of rocking out cellists, maybe it’s reminding me of that semester of Stylistics at QUT where I sat, overtired and dazed to drunkenness by Craig Bolland’s voice. Craig had a thing for Shklovsky, too.

Go, read a great post by my spirit animal. And let us all promise, here and now, never tell him that I called him that.

Site Love

I’m trying to settle a new cat into the household, and frantically getting my shit together for a writing retreat this weekend, so apologies for the quickie post. But I came across an article today by a Brisbane writer I adore that I simply had to share.

Melanie Edmonds is a sci-fi writer with a fantastic turn of phrase. When she’s not writing her Starwalker series, or helping to run a host of writing events in Brisbane, she’s writing excellent posts about issues in writing. Weak-kneed Women is a trope that frustrates the hell out of me- otherwise strong, capable characters turned catatonic, drooling wrecks by the very hint of a pretty potential love-interest, and Melanie has absolutely nailed her response to it. If you’re toying with a romantic sub-plot in your writing, this is a must-read.