I’m sitting in a Costa with an enormous mug of coffee:
And I’m just kind of being. The people beside me are discussing psychology type things. The kids across the way are talking about how great it will be to get to Junior school. The place is alive with conversations.
I am alone, listening.
This weekend I will be surrounded by people. Many I’ve known for almost a decade now. Hopefully there will be many I’ve never met, too. It’s only over the last few years I’ve come to realise how I need to gear myself up to be so social. I love the BSB weekend; it’s a wonderful feeling, to be among fellow word/story enthusiasts who love talking about the various elements of book things. I’ve met some truly lovely people through my involvement with this world (including my partner) and I always feel really lucky to be among them.
But in the lead up to the event, I need to center myself. I need to breathe past the anxiety of looking foolish, past the worry that no one will show up, beyond the doubt that I can pull this off again…8 years after the first. These same issues assail me every year beforehand.
This year, I’m also on panels discussing books I’ve actually written, rather than just other people’s books, and that raises the anxiety level exponentially. I’m writing niche stuff that may not have a place in a lot of people’s libraries, and it’s scary thinking of all the nasty things folks could say. Or worse, maybe, that no one says anything at all–is being never-read worse than getting lambasted?
I’m not sure. I told/tell myself that I just want to write, and I’m glad it’s out in the world; what people think of it and whether or not it sells isn’t my concern. Thinking about that as we head into the book festival, it seems rather naïve. I’m not sure where I stand with it now.
What I do know is that this weekend I’ll hug old friends, I’ll laugh, and we’ll celebrate LGBTQ books in a safe space.
And that’s pretty damn cool.