MWF Lament

As you all no doubt know, the Melbourne Writers Festival is currently taking place in Melbourne — that would be Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; not Melbourne, Nova Scotia, Canada; or Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK; or even Melbourne, Izard County, Arkansas, USA. The festival is on, people other than me are attending interesting and informative sessions about writing, while I’m lamenting my non-attendance.

I missed out on last year’s festival because of its proximity to Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention (see my post, Aussiecon 4 Memories). I simply could not afford the time to attend both. But that wasn’t so bad, as my attendance at Aussiecon consoled me.

This year, I’m missing the festival as well… but with no consolation. This time around it’s a case of bad timing. Coming off a busy Children’s Book Week, I find myself struggling to get back on top of the writing that I wasn’t doing last week, especially all the promotional stuff I’m supposed to be getting ready for the imminent release of Gamers’ Challenge on 1 September. Then there is also the fact that I’m a stay-at-home dad as well as an author, and I passed off my youngest for much of last week, and I have to make arrangements to also get rid of her next week while I’m off doing a day-long school visit — so, I don’t feel like I can dump her this week as well.

Yes, I could probably find a little time off somewhere to go to one or two sessions. And I had been hoping to arrange that. But the sessions that interest me most are the ones that have the most inconvenient timing. Dammit! It’s not fair.

Even though I’m not there, I thought I’d mention a few of the sessions that I really wish I could be attending…

And that’s just a small selection.

I’m going to have to plan things a little bit better for next year. Maybe what I should be doing is pestering the organisers and trying to get myself onto the programme. If I’m on the programme, then I know I’ll arrange the time to actually be there. 🙂

Oh well… at least I shall not be completely festival-less this year. The Thousand Word Festival is coming up on 23-24 September and (halleluiah) I can actually make it to part of that. And I will be appearing in the writers’ area at the Armageddon Expo on 22-23 October.

If anyone who is attending the MWF would like to leave a comment and rub some salt into the wound by giving me some first-hand insight into what I’m missing, feel free to do so.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter… or, if you are at the MWF, follow them instead.


The Kind of the Rest – My New Novel

In my last post I wrote about a nightmarish scenario in which books we read are created automatically by a software algorithm. I’ve had time to think about it since then, and to use the wonderful TweetWriter, a promotional tool for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. TweetWriter takes the body of writing that makes up your Twitter feed and creates a customised book based on your style of expressing yourself, which, as everyone knows, is usually at its finest in tweet form. Here’s my automagically customised back cover blurb:

When asked to described the real Joel Blacklock, Joel would often say “I am the walrus”, but 127 loyal fans will always know Joel best as the prolific writer who published over 1643 works, all written from Joel’s secluded playboy style mansion in Sydney, Australia.

In this astonishing latest work, ‘THE NAME OF THE KIND’, Blacklock’s writing is both mesmeric in tone and labrynthine in structure, and is surely destined to achieve the status of a contemporary classic.

Hear that? ‘Mesmeric in tone and labrynthine in structure’. One hundred and twenty seven fans can’t be wrong!

Let’s just say the software algorithm that will write a true bestseller is some time away. Quite aside from the fact that the back cover blurb is littered with errors and the title of the book is different on the front and back (I tend to think The Name of the Kind is better than The Kind of the Rest – thoughts?) I can’t imagine a single person would even pick this book up off the shelves.

Nonetheless, for the curious and the lazy, here are a few of Twitter’s finest minds at work.

The always adorable @stephenfry:

The redoubtable @johnbirmingham, erm I mean John Birmingha:

The terrifying @tara_moss:

What about our potential prime ministers? Here’s Red:

And the Mad Monk?

Check out your own book titles and link to them in the comments.

The Melbourne Writers’ Festival runs from 27 August to 5 September 2010.