Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Brisbane Writers Group Convention

Earlier this month I attended the Brisbane Writers Group Convention. You’re probably picturing a room full of bespectacled ‘writerly types’ with gnarled arthritic hands (That’s going to be me, isn’t it? *face palm*). In reality, the group congregating was a diverse bunch of people, at different stages in their writing journey, and with differing goals and reasons for writing. There were a few grey hairs in the room, too.

I’m going to be completely honest and admit that I was totally intimidated by the event. Crowds aren’t my thing, and I feel rude if I just push in on someone else’s conversation. So, I hid in the kitchen with the noise of the occasional train as a soundtrack, making everyone’s lunch for the first hour and a half. I wasn’t alone. A few others from my writers group volunteered for KP duty. We had a good production line going on.

I digress!

I watched all the speakers on the stage, clenching my butt cheeks at the thought that I’d be doing that one day. I haven’t presented to a room full of people since university. I am so going to picture everyone in their undies. I could tell that some of the speakers were nervous. I felt for them, but I didn’t scoff. The thing is, people were genuinely interested in what they had to say. We all had a commonality that stripped away the pressure to perform. So, when it’s my turn. I’ll just be what I am and hope it reaches someone. Maybe I won’t picture everyone in their undies. Some things can’t be unseen. *Shudder*

The attendees were asked to write a short story involving a convention somehow. Here’s mine—hiding on the extras page.

Star Signs by J.M. Adele
(© J.M. Adele 2015.)

I watch as bestselling author, Helena Granger, sweeps through the convention room on her platform heels. Her red hair trails behind her like the flames of an Olympic torch. Heads turn and conversation lowers to a hush. The fatigue and agitation plaguing the line of waiting fans is knocked over, domino style, as she passes; replaced by excitement and awe.

Helena finds her way to a table cloaked in a red velvet cloth and strewn with book merchandise. She stands beside the table, talking to her assistant in husky tones. The smell of her perfume clouds my senses as I stand within reach, first in line. I stare at the top of her fiery head as she takes a seat, has a sip of water and uncaps her marker pen. Her eyelashes lift, revealing her unusual green-grey irises. She smiles at me and I’m struck dumb. I have her latest release clutched to my chest, with my wrists crossed. I’m unable to unlock my clawed hands from the book as she looks at me expectantly.

“Hi there. I see you have my book. May I sign it for you?” Her eyes hold a wariness, unmasked between blinks. 

My hands finally loosen, and I fumble to catch the book before it hits the floor. I end up throwing it at her, almost spilling her drink. The sound of snickering reaches my ears from behind.