Anyone who knows me will be very aware that I love a good conversation. Given that Bolder and Wiser is built on conversations, I was so pleased to be continuing those reflections through Q&A at Waterstones on Saturday evening, with Andrew Kells from Nottingham Writers’ Studio. And a glass or two of wine.
I was asked some great questions. What themes most challenged my perceptions about growing older? What have been the biggest trade-offs for women in the 21st century as compared with the 20th century? Can you spot turning points in life as they happen or only in hindsight? How did I find the experience of writing a novel in a month as part of the Nanowrimo scheme?
Giving ourselves the time and space both to think quietly and to think aloud with other people is something that seems to have become increasingly challenging in our current lifestyles. Yet there appears to be an appetite for reading, reflection and conversation which has never gone away – and perhaps becomes an even greater need, the more complex our day to day lives may be. I think the growth of festivals and events of all varieties is one way that we try to satisfy this appetite. At this time of year, book, science, food and music festivals start to gear up, offering us tempting opportunities to meet like-minded people and chew the cud over a relaxed cup or glass.
I’m honoured to be included in the forthcoming Lowdham Book Festival programme and to be asked to appear at Gedling Book Festival too. I’m also very much hoping to hear others speak at these and other events over the summer – and very much enjoyed listening to Kirsty Wark in conversation recently as part of the Stratford-upon-Avon literary festival.
But in the meantime…
…it feels very much time to head for the hills. Or rather the sea. It’s a luxury life style that few of us can manage these days but I do rather like the sound of some of the Victorian writers who allegedly wrote all morning and walked all afternoon (mostly men, from my recollection, who presumably had whole teams of people doing all the Other Stuff. We can dream). For a hollow laugh, you might like to check out these – Charles Darwin, CS Lewis - and for a reality check, Alice Munro.
But I’m doing my best to carve out some off-grid time over the next week, with lots of fresh air. I’ll be back!