I say “by all accounts” because so far this year, I’ve spent a grand total of 20 minutes inside the Square. Yup, it’s pretty grim. Not one event have I been to, and all I’ve managed is a couple of slow walks around the boards.
I took my daughter out for breakfast last Saturday, and after helping to advise me on suitably trendy shoe-ware for a 38 year old, we wandered up to Charlotte Square for a mosey.
The old butterflies came fluttering back as we turned onto George Street and approached Charlotte Square. It was the first time I had seen the tents this year other than in tweeted pictures of the construction.
We walked in and with the sunshine coming down in swathes, it was great to see the Square so busy and buzzing. I didn’t spot anyone I knew on that brief visit, but just to sample the atmosphere was good for me.
It felt very surreal to be standing there knowing I would be lucky to make any events, knowing I wouldn’t be blogging or podcasting, and knowing that everything that will happen over the next 17 days will arrive to me second hand instead of witnessed.
It wasn’t depressing, just a bit different and a feeling of bring oddly separate. If anything, it renewed my determination to get myself sorted out so that I can begin to move forward again. My non-participation this year has served as a powerful reminder to me of how I really need to use these few weeks in August to evaluate where I am, absorb the writing year just passed, and plan accordingly.
Last year, and in particular the extremely positive after-effects of the 2011 Book Fest, are still alive. The writing year that has now been, has been one of my best: public appearances, rocketing book sales, publication, great networking – a huge success for 2011/12 overall – so I can’t afford to be too hard on myself purely because these last couple of months have been so shit on the writing front. Needs must, after all.
Theres another side to all of this too, that I’ll tell you about. Because my weeks are so busy and tense, with 14 hour working days and brain clenching effort being made not to fuck it all up, my patience for crowds has vanished.
Getting to and from Glasgow for work is largely uncomplicated, but when rush hour hits and if I’m in it, I hate it. My blood pressure rises and the tension mounts. Transfer that into being unable to move easily around Edinburgh in my days off due to the extra 500k pairs of leg on the streets, and you can see where I’m going with this.
I’m already looking forward to the first weekend in September when the crowds will be gone, the air will cool, and life shall return to something resembling normality.
I was amazed to read that the mysterious “they” are claiming numbers are massively down on previous year Fringes, and that it’s all down to the Olympics.
Could have fooled me.