Bad day at Black Rock ...

Jul 11 2012
Bad day at Black Rock ...

REVIEW: BAYSIDE 2012 LITERARY FESTIVAL.
SESSION: BOOK MARKET, BLACK ROCK HOUSE.
“Writers with books come along and sell your wares!” exhorted the Festival program. “Readers come and select from a range of new and second-hand books!”
Well, it sounded a great idea, and easy for any imaginative writer to conjure a magnificent scenario. There it would be - a buzzing Sunday afternoon market, dozens of tables laden with books lining the verandas of Black Rock House, enthusiastic authors touting their wares, a jostling crowd lured in by an appealing promotional campaign, noisily making their way through the magnificent South African style gardens and moving from writer to writer, clutching their cash and cards in anticipation.
Oh, if only it had been that way. As it turned out, there were not too many in the way of writers. Five optimistic and, alas, virtually invisible dreamers, tucked away in a remote back corner of the stables and service area, sandwiched between the $3 bargain box and the side-door exit.
Hunched behind our neatly stacked books and imploring signs, we earnestly sought eye contact with any likely customer that dared to wander in. Trouble was, there were more of us than there were of them …
To add insult to injury, every now and then hearts would flutter and lips smack in anticipation as voices could be heard coming down the covered walkway. Only to be deflated when yet another group of visitors on the regular Sunday afternoon guided tour of the historic Ebden holiday home would burst through the door, led by a guide in costume, and move rapidly on to the courtyard after a cursory and somewhat dismissive look at the room and its little rag-tag collection of local literary luminaries.
Ah, well, that’s the life of the author for you. Some you win and some you find yourself posing the eternal question: “What the heck am I doing here ..?”
In a situation like this, not even the Higgs boson can provide an answer to that one.
- GRAEME JOHNSTONE.

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