|Image: Edi City of Literature|
I took things about as easy as they could go yesterday morning. Slowly up and out of bed, slowly to the coffee shop, and slowly to consume my cappuccino. It was most enjoyable but it didn’t last. The day sped up into a flurry of fun and opportunities.
I found out in the morning that the monthly Literary Salon run by Edinburgh City of Literature was on, and after an initial worry that I might miss out due to the short notice of it, I managed to tweak things and get myself along. It was very worthwhile indeed.
I’d originally been under the impression that the event was a formal kind of get together for publishing professionals, but as I discovered when chatting with JF Derry at this year’s book festival, it’s for all forms of wordy creatives.
So I made my way along to the Wash Bar on the Mound and walked into a full house. The initial announcements were being made by outgoing host Anna Burkey, to a stowed out bottom floor of the pub. I eventually worked my way through to the bar and ordered a pint, then began the process of hunting down people I might know.
The first person I spotted was JF Derry in conversation with Ian Rankin and two graphic novel authors. I walked over and said hello to everyone but graphic novels aren’t really my thing so struggled to get into it.
I spoke to Ian for a bit, mostly about Twitter and the intricacies of posting URLs to it, then got talking to a lady about a myriad of topics including social media, books, the book festival and writing. It was only when I write out my name sticker we were all supposed to have on, that we realized who each other were—we’ve been twittering for ages—it was @lillylyle!
The topic of how small the literary and artistic communities are in Edinburgh came up all over the place as I met a few other people in the same vein. Ali Bowden, the Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, came over and said hi. She knew my name and thought we’d previously met but I was pretty sure we hadn’t. I think she maybe recognised me from my book festival blogging exploits but we got interrupted so I never managed to finish the conversation to find out.
I saw an old face from my old writing group back in the day: Andrew Stott had popped in and despite not recognising me at first (me!), we caught up with the all the gossip from the old group and what we’ve both been working on since we last met.
I’d taken the time to check out Chris Scott’s online portfolio after this year’s book fest, as he’s one of the official photographers often to be seen scouting around for shots of authors in and around the tents. His work is really good and he does a lot within the literature community in Edinburgh, so when I bumped into him I asked him about some of it. Remarkably, he’s still a student although his work doesn’t reflect it.
JF Derry, who had been working around the room in the other direction to me, came back around and we got another pint in. He introduced me to Peggy Hughes from the Scottish Poetry Library so I could ask her about possible avenues to take my poetry into. Peggy is also the person who created the West Port Book Festival, and so you can now expect me to be writing a blog or two from there when it kicks off mid-October.
I finished the night by sharing another pint with Derry. We covered a wide range of topics including, but not restricted to, publishing, writing (where we want both to be with it), the influence of higher status authors on us, parenting and travelling.
By the time I left, my head was buzzing and I’d had my share of lager. It was a great night and well worth being there. The more I attend literary events the more I seem to get more out of them as I meet new people and new opportunities arise. This morning I have a list of people to email, a bunch of new ideas, and the feeling that I’m still moving positively in the right direction.
Outwith the book festival, I’ve always struggled to find ways of interacting with other writers and people in the industry on an informal basis, so the literary salon is perfect. I’d recommend any writer wanting to meet other writers and people in the business should get along.
On the writing front, I revised my 5th exercise for the Advanced Dialogue Workshop and drafted out the 6th. I never got it posted so it’s late because I chose to go the salon last night. I need to get it done asa-bloody-p!
Have a great day; peace and out!