Mine’s a pint

I’m starting to get nervous. This week I’m off to Bantry for the West Cork Literary Festival; a type of event I have exactly no experience of.

If it was an oil industry conference I could talk seismic data processing with the best of them… well, actually my knowledge is completely out of date by now, but at least if I joined a conversation about fold and gathers, I wouldn’t embarrass myself by asking who’d taken up origami. Okay, lame geophysics joke over, you can keep reading. Hello? Hello? Oh, just the paper-folding wiggle-pickers left, is it? Never mind. At least you’ll appreciate the reference I just made to plot folding. No, of course I know it’s all done on screen these days. So, as I was saying…

If it was a conference about being a parent (they have those, right?) I’d be totally in my element. I could talk about kids’ TV, or how much fun small children can have riding their scooters. Yep, total parenting expert, me.

In fact, it’s a festival about writing. A poem I wrote made it to the top ten of the 2011 Fish Poetry Competition. Aside from this incredible fluke, my credentials as a writer are:

  • taking a Creative Writing course with the Open University, roughly equivalent to one sixth of a degree. Which I can’t assume I’ve even passed, since the results aren’t released until August. (Of course I passed. I wrote two poems about fossils for the final assignment. How could I not pass?)
  • reading The Ode Less Travelled, Stephen Fry’s excellent book on poetry, while chortling a lot and completely failing to learn the difference between an anapaest and a dactyl.

I suppose what I’m worried about is; I was a geophysicist for ten years, I’ve been a parent for five, and now I’m calling myself a poet after, well, six months. Unless this festival is full of shameless blaggers who’ve turned up mostly to neck pints of Guinness, I’m way out of my depth. I’ll let you know.

(No, I won’t let them know. My mum’s babysitting for four days while I swan off to… discuss serious literature, very seriously. Shhh, and hand me that pint of Guinness.)

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