I wish I didn’t care, but I do.
I was talking this week to someone who organises many big literary events, and she (it’s usually a woman) was very down about an international author cancelling an appearance later this year.
I could hear in her voice the kind of melancholy I feel when something goes wrong, gets in the way, has to change, along the way as we draw near Bendigo Writers Festival.
I can’t tell you how often I feel completely flattened – sometimes for a moment, sometimes for days. It’s fine, of course, and you can’t have excitement without some disappointment.
But I do wish those who think are keen to give advice (more young people, more romance writers, more this more that more the other) would understand that, really good events take a great deal of angsting care to get right. It goes with the territory, and you don’t do it unless you’re tough enough to wear the anxiety, but it does take a fair bit of self-control not to snap at those well-meaning people ready to tell you how to do it better.
People come in all emotional shapes and sizes. There are those who are so kind and empathetic, it is heart-breaking. Then there are those who are so distracted by their own needs they don’t see how rude they sound when they treat festival organisers like underlings. The thing you have to remember is that everyone is special, and everyone deserves particular attention and care. Making it special for all the writers at our festival is a priority – one which requires hardly anything at all for some and lots of patience and a sense of humour for others.