I want to be a writers’ festival junkie 14



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I want to go to writers’ festivals ALL of the time. I want to be that woman with glossy bobbed hair who wears expensive but comfortable clothes which display quiet elegance and expensive taste. I want to be that woman who walks around with a pile of newly signed books under her unflabby arm. I want to join her and her other bobbed cronies as they discuss with erudite wisdom the qualities or deficiencies of the writers on offer. I want to wander the cafes of small but cultured country towns or large cultured cities listening to those who can put plot on a page and carve out characters which compel others to lie huddled under the lamp light at midnight while they squeeze in “just one more page” before sleep. I want to eagerly devour the secrets of those self satisfied authors who have finally made it into the sacred realm of print on a page.  I want to read out loud my best passages and answer with urbane but scholarly wisdom the curly questions which are thrown at me by bearded men in beige bomber jackets who fancy themselves to be academic experts.

I want to stay in quaint and well-appointed B&Bs with my own bathroom and bed. I want the host’s cat to befriend me and snuggle with me on my lavender scented quilt. I want to wake up in a softly sun filtered bedroom to poached eggs on sourdough with perfect centres which are neither hard nor runny, just perfect. I want a skinny latte with a perfect crema. I want to pack my expensive but subtly trendy leather bag with the day’s provisions of notebooks and pens for taking notes. I want to wander into tiny but exclusive boutiques between literary offerings to look at and perhaps purchase the odd bauble or two. I want to consult my mini net book to check that my stocks and shares are performing to plan and that my real estate portfolio is doing well.

I want to sit in the front row and open my newly purchased and signed volume and sniff the clean white pages. I want to get high on the smell of the ink. I want to drink in the words of the writers themselves, and hopefully absorb their commitment to their craft through my well moisturised skin. Perhaps if I sit close enough, I will learn the art of discipline which enables them to create their offspring with such verve and panache. I want to be the one who is approached by a publisher and asked if I could perhaps allow them to read my manuscripts. I want a weekly column where I can earn a princely sum just for writing down the words with which I describe and engage with my planet and the issues of the people upon it.

I want to drive off in my BMW which has no rattles and has real leather seats and plan my next literary jaunt to the hallowed world of the writers’ festival while the GPS sorts out my route. I want to debrief to my cat while I polish my bob and answer my correspondence (none of which will be bills) whilst sipping a good red and nibbling on goats cheese. I want to fire up my Apple Mac (not my Dell) and see the words pour out in such a way that I am hailed as the new Kate Atkinson. But, alas…

Instead I drive home in my rattly car, make peace with the cat, do my washing and have toast and Vegemite for tea. I play computer games instead of writing a scintillating short story and watch Midsomer Murders instead of writing my own thriller. I snuggle up with a good book after putting out my clothes for work in the morning. I set the alarm for 6am. They said that if you write one page a day, in a year you would have 360 pages. In other words a book. Ahh, but will it be a good one? Would you all promise to buy it?


Do you attend writers’ festivals? Do you enjoy them? What is your ideal life? Tell us below.

Karen Jones

Born in New Zealand, Karen now happily lives in the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She retired early due to ill health and now focuses on her love of walking, writing, reading and spending time with her grandchildren. With a degree in writing, Karen became a blogger and book reviewer for Starts at 60, which has enabled her passions to become enjoyable pastimes. Her recipe for bliss is a well made flat white, a friendly cat and a sea view.

  1. I want to be a critic. I’d like to go to flash hotels and not so flash hotels. I’d like to see how they treat you regardless of what room you booked. I’d like to sit in restaurants and not be a qualified chef and just report on what I thought was good value, taste wise and price wise. I want to be the critic for the “ordinary” person….. Oh and I write all the time, so a great book would be the icing on the cake….

  2. Don’t knock computer games: they allow a special sort of ambition and pave the way for grand intentions ‘when we have time’.
    I enjoy, and respect, your work.

  3. Would prefer to be able to sing so people would love to listen, dance so they’d love to watch but I think paint Aussie trees and landscapes to be enjoyed for ever and a day

  4. I’d like to be a great artist. People would stand in awe at my beautiful works selling for ridiculous prices. I would be selected and win the Archibald prize many times. In interviews I would say that the journey is just as important as the end result – and not give any of my techniques away. Now I’ve got to go as I have a little painting in mind (after I do last nights dishes, clean the house and do the shopping) 🙂

  5. Karen, I absolutely promise to buy your book and I would much rather be you than the pseudo person you first described. You sound much more real and I bet your book will be too. Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Me too. I have been writing my story for several lifetimes it seems. Could it be a best seller. I really don’t care as long as I get it published before the bucket is literally kicked ……..

  7. Yes ! yes! However you are the infectious person you are who could sit anywhere and rejoice that you said………..I’d love to talk but I am far too important at this moment .

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