After four days in beautiful Bantry, things are sadly back to normal. The West Cork Literary Festival was a lot of fun and really inspirational; as Richard Scarsbrook says, there was a great bunch of people, a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of Guinness. The Fish Anthology is an amazing collection of writing and I’m still stunned to be a part of it.
It’s tempting to think that last week’s experience is what being a writer is about: swimming in the hotel pool before a big cooked breakfast. Spending all day listening to authors reading out their work. Chatting about writing and publication. Being recognised in the street and asked about poetry. Really, it could go to your head.
I think perhaps this is the picture people have of What a Writer Does. Mixed in with maybe a little manic late-night hammering on an old-fashioned typewriter, or a touch of dreamy wandering long-skirted through a dew-drenched garden, fountain pen and notebook in hand.
I’m guilty of a little romanticism myself. I keep thinking about the writer’s shed I’ll have when we move house. Watching the deer run across the lawn and listening to the birds sing, surely I’ll never be short of inspiration?
In reality, of course, the wildlife will have been terrorised away after one encounter with my city children wielding brightly coloured plastic toys. I’ll have let the laptop run out of charge and left the power cable somewhere in the house. I’ll have run out of tea and won’t be bothered to drive to the distant shop to get some, so I’ll end up scribbling angry caffeine-deprived verse in crayon on the back of an envelope.
I’d plan to quit while I’m ahead, but thoughts of fame and Guinness lure me on (not necessarily in that order). See you next year, Bantry?