Sunday, May 16, 2010

He talked, he sang, he wowed us all...

I always put my mobile phone on 'silent' during a school visit and check for messages during breaks. This morning at Kohia Terrace school (yay for yet another wonderful enthusiastic librarian and supportive teachers - I hope those fab children realise how lucky they are...what good hands they are in) I checked for messages at morning tea time to discover several missed calls. I had a message and listened to discover my son wasn't at school and they were just checking that I'd forgotten to call in that he was sick or whatever. Well no, actually, I'd waved goodbye to him and one of school mates at 8am. He's not into wagging. Was he lying in the middle of the busy intersection en route, knocked off his scooter by a car? Was he some Junior John Doe in the emergency department of the city hospital? I tried ringing the school back to no avail. I tried to ring my SO so he could find out what had happened, with no luck. And I spent the last two 45 minute sessions talking and reading over my fears and concerns. This was a miserable distraction but if nothing else I'm pleased that I managed to stay calm and deliver my talk without revealing my inner turmoil. (Yay just had a phone call now at 2.15pm from the lad himself, at school, in perfect health).

Over the weekend it was the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. As it's a festival comprised of mostly writers of adult literature which I usually don't read, in the past I haven't attended. This year I thought I'd give it a go. Lionel Shriver (I haven't read any of her books, but I have read some interesting articles about her) was smart, thoughtful, dry and funny. When she read from her own material I made a mental note to try one of her books in future. Next up was Charlie Higson. I've not been a huge fan of the young James Bond series. The writing is very much in the Iam Fleming style (as you would hope and expect it to be) but I don't think you'd find me reading much Fleming either. But I used to watch the Harry Enfield comedy show and Charlie Higson both wrote material for this and appeared in the show (as well as the Fast Show amongst others) and I rightly assumed this would make for an entertaining hour. His current venture is into mid grade horror and I liked the fact that he didn't hold back for this age group. He tests his material out on his young sons and uses them as the yardstick for how far to go. I felt jealous at his lucky breaks (he went to University with comedy writer Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield, and was asked by the Fleming Estate to do the Young Bond Series). Lucky breaks were an even bigger feature of the David Levithan session. I was already a fan having reading Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and David didn't disappoint. Funny, witty, seriously talented and prodigious, he talked, he sang and he wowed us all with his energy and skills. Like Charlie Higson he didn't shy away from pushing the boundaries with his writing. There's no point being jealous at lucky breaks, as after this session I was sure lucky breaks were searching this guy out in droves. He was generous too and chatted with everyone who wanted books signed. I bought two. Go check out Tania Hutley's very funny blog post here on her thoughts about Mr Levithan. I'm glad I went. I'm not sure if its left me feeling inspired or motivated but i definitely feel the better for it.


Fifi Colston said...

ah...I'm feeling like the black hole of lucky breaks. They are all eluding me in droves and scuttling off to find others who were sitting and drinking coffee wondering if they should buy a magazine or..oh really? you want to publish my doodles? Pay me to work fulltime doing what I love?
Looking forward to lunch Melinda x

Tania Hutley said...

It was a great weekend at the festival, and now I'm looking forward to the wine chaser. Does that mean I have to buy you one for linking to me? ;)