Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stand up

Yesterday morning Mr. Commentbox and I decided to go to the Sydney Writers' Festival.

You may remember last year's post about the Festival, and I must say that my experience this year was quite different. Last year everyone seemed so fascinating, while this year everyone seemed somewhat pretentious. Perhaps my view of writing has changed since last year, perhaps it's changed because I've been blogging for a whole year. Blogging has stopped me from thinking of writing as something mysterious that's done only by a few precious artists who have a godlike gift. I now think of writing as something that has the power to make me and other people happy. Yes! Happy! Why spend time reading and writing if it isn't fun??!! Something is well written if it has the power to make the reader forget his/her reality and experience something different and enjoyable. Nothing annoys me more than being told that a book is a great read...but badly written. Impossible.

So the one session which Mr C and I attended was perfectly chosen for my new frame of mind - "Will the Real Writer Please Stand Up?" It was medicine for my soul.

Imagine these four characters sitting in front of a packed room of people of all backgrounds and ages: Sarah Blasko, Miles Merrill, Emmanuel Jal and Chris Bray.

Are they all writers? You betcha!!

I wished that all of you, my fellow bloggers, could have attended this session. I thought of you as I sat and listened to these young writers take words and twist them into unique shapes...... because it's what you and I do each and every day. Yes, it is!

Each of these word-artists performed a little bit for us, and then they talked very casually (not one smidgen of pretentious arty-fart to be heard). At the end of the hour Sarah Blasko and Emmanuel Jal recited/sang a poem/song together, and you would have love it.

Even though you couldn't be with me yesterday I shall show you a bit of what it was like. Firstly, here is Ms Blasko with her latest poem/song:

And here is Mr Jal with his song "Emma" (Emma was the British aid worker who rescued him from Sudan) which he sang for us yesterday - we all stood up and danced along with the words and music.


Michelle said...

I listened to Emmanuel Jal on the local radio this morning. What an amazing young man. He spoke about Emma and the desperation and I just wept.

Julia said...

I'm so glad you feel that way about writing now! I was just talking about blogging to a communications guy here, and he was moaning about how he thought facebooking and twittering and blogging were leading to a generation of shoddy writers. I politely but firmly told him I absolutely disagreed.

I asked him to think about digital photography and what's happened in that field. Digital cameras have taken over the market now, and anyone with a digital camera can afford to practice as much as they like. The result? Taking beautiful pictures isn't limited to the professional or the ultra-serious amateur any more.

Blogging also gives us much more practice (and feedback) than almost any other non-professional style of writing that I can think of. I'd guess that most of us are better writers now than when we first started our blogs, way back when.

My long winded way of saying, "Eleanor, as usual, I absolutely agree with you!!"

RW said...

Thanks for music links - I think my daughter might choreograph a bit of dance for the Emma piece.

fifi said...

I was considering going, now I wish I had. So many things to do.
Blogging is an excellent way to practice one's self editing!!
And of course, it is neither anonymous or one way to some unseen audience...friends bloom straight from its pages...!