Ah, York. This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to fly to England for the Writers’ Workshop 2012 York Festival of Writing, and I do mean fortunate.
When you work at a day job, as many of us do, you are not, probably, spending as much time on your writing as you’re spending on that job. It’s a fact of life we have to accept. But because I’m in that work world many hours a day, I feel this divide between my work self and my other, writing self. And the work self takes precedence, every weekday. I’ve often wished I had somehow taken a different course, one that would have allowed me to write more, earlier, before so many years had passed.
Going to York for the professionally-run, jubilant, heady Festival of Writing allowed me to be a WRITER every minute of each day. My day job was something far away. Then, inevitably, on Sunday afternoon when I climbed into my taxi to head back to the train station, I felt that familiar hitch, that splitting in two again, that less-of-a-writer sensation I have to make do with most days.
BUT. And this is big. My overwhelming emotion all weekend was gratitude. For every circumstance that brought me to where I am today, even the job, even the years that passed in between when I didn’t write. I was thrilled to be at York University, surrounded by other writers, such friendly, generous other writers. I was grateful I had a seat in each of those lecture halls, where I listened to published authors and agents provide encouragement and realism. I was grateful to spend time with my friend and online writing partner Isabel Costello, who told me about the York Festival this year (read her informative post about the event here). I was grateful that I could be in one of my favorite places in the world, England, partaking in a series of most excellent workshops and speeches, lunches and dinners, everywhere writing writing writing.
And so, thank you Isabel Costello. Thank you Debi Alper. Thank you, Harry Bingham. Thank you, Julie Cohen. Thank you, JoJo Moyes. Thank you, Emma Darwin. Thank you, Shelley Harris and Juliet Mushens, Claire McGowan, Kate Lyall Grant, and Sam Copeland. Thank you for your time and words this weekend. You made me believe I can do it.