England: Hey, I was Working!

C. Margery Kempe here and I have to say, vacations? Who needs 'em? I never take vacations. I'm always working. Sure, I just got back from a month in England, but I was working!


Okay, sure -- a certain amount of that work was eating and drinking in pubs, going to concerts and plays, visiting friends and goofing around, I mean networking with writers and reviewers.

This is work! I went to two conferences, both focused on writing. The first was the Great Writing Conference which brings together academics who teach creative writing. Okay, I'll admit it here (though I didn't to my colleagues) that I was flabbergasted at the attention one preening young(ish) man got when he announced his amazing experiment to write every day --  for a whole month no less. Shock! Can it be done by a mere human?!

Forgive my sarcasm, but as someone who writes as an academic, a journalist, a novelist and a short story writer as well as under two romance pseudonyms, color me unimpressed. I was left with the impression that most of these "writers" were really just dilettantes who wanted to write but couldn't bring themselves to do it somehow. Weird. I was both annoyed and disheartened by the conference, because I see how easy it is to be lionised for very little if you're in the right place at the right time. I spoke about the play I'm writing on a twelfth-century recluse. Well, the people who did attend my panel seemed enthusiastic.  On the whole, I'd have rather have been at the pub.

The second conference, Alt-Fiction, was much better because it featured writers of many different styles and backgrounds, but who were all writing and not coincidentally, publishing too. We talked about myth and folklore, about networking, about re-working stories and pitches. There were workshops for people just starting out and there were readings from some of the great writers. I had a grand time talking and listening and learning. Okay -- and drinking and laughing with friends. It was terrific.

There was research, too. I found interesting things in the British Library, and scouted out locations for a variety of stories, and um, drank beer in pubs with cute guys. Hey, I write romance. It's research. Life is good. Even better, I'm moving to Ireland in a few weeks. Whoo hoo! I look forward to doing a lot of research.


Popular Posts