Along sunset’s coast the fraternity gather for last rides, surfboards atop car racks and under arms. In black wetsuits, boardshorts and bikini-clad they gather to worship the curve of the wave, to seek nirvana inside a hollowed cheek, below the lip.
Astride prayer mats aligned between the day’s end, swell and wind they wait for ocean’s set offering, gifting themselves to ride exhilaration between saltwater and air. Then finally to the beach where, sated, they drift over wet sand footprints. Washing salt from skin, each returns to their nesting site, imbibes offerings to refuel and dreams deeply of another wave.
A little something written today to celebrate the surfing, tourism, beach-side, organic, creative, yoga-filled ‘mecca of the eastern seaboard’ that is Byron Bay!
To which you can say “Bring on the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival 1-3 August 2014!”
In 18 years this home-grown coming together of literary tribes has grown to be the second largest writer’s festival in Australia, after the Sydney Writer’s Festival. This year for the first time is reportedly heading towards a sellout in the cool sunshine that is winter on the Far North Coast of New South Wales. Just bring your wind jackets tomorrow as the cold southerly winds are predicted to arrive around midday.
In anticipation of another stellar year as a ‘vollie’ (short for volunteer and not to be confused with the shoe type preferred by roofers and hipsters), I have already had the pleasure of attending a couple of pre-festival workshops. One on Copyright with a local IP-specialist lawyer earlier in the week was extremely interesting (as much for how many creative music types were asking questions that were just as relevant to us writers). I backed up with a morning phone call yesterday asking if I’d fill in for another volunteer at Angela Meyer’s Microfiction workshop.
Apart from having a shared appreciation for whiskey, serendipity, two-degrees of separation and ‘small world-ness’ struck again as Angela realised that we knew each other from years past when I browsed for hardcopy reading and my daughter won a colouring-in competition at the Coffs Harbour bookshop where she worked… Now she’s Melbourne-based, reviewing, blogging, published and has written a novel as part of her PhD in Creative Writing, as well as attending writer’s festivals in interesting places like Ubud in Indonesia.
Now I’m not sure if she lucked out with the short straw, or was really having a retrospective time on an interesting bus tour with 5 other writers (#555writers) eventing in 5 towns across the NSW North Coast between Coffs Harbour and Tweed Heads. They were smart in taking a blogger and documentary maker along, so you can check out what happens… it’s all on Angela’s blog: http://literaryminded.com.au/.
Also connected to the Byron Bay theme is the song “Blue Bay Blues” by Richard Clapton, famed Australian singer songwriter who has done what many should do and documented it all down in writing. Hence why he is appearing at a literary event! Having seen him in performance about ten years ago in a converted wool shed on the southwestern edge of Sydney, I am wondering how he sustains the need to create and perform. I guess that I can ask him that when I check him out at Saturday night’s “In Conversation” session. It is on right after the Poetry Slam… Think I am going to be busy! <AJC>