ARTS EXPO: Please help me I’m Faa-aaa-ling

Finding myself in a gymnasium populated for the most part by visual artists, I thought I would do a quick watercolour rendition of me (a la Photoshop) to create the right mood for this report.

The Fall for the Arts Expo, held at the Cedar Recreation Centre in Saanich, BC, drew a moderate crowd of browsers to the 15 or so booths participating. Modest turnout does not translate into less than gratifying enthusiasm, though. Lot’s of people stopped to chat at the Fed table; I come away from the event buoyed by a sense of people interested in writing and writers – and of course, literature.

Some quick sketch impressions (real names not included):

Collaboration – The Artistic Director of a theatre troupe stopped to chat. Said he was really interested in having writers submit stories that his troupe will convert into dramatic vignettes. We exchanged contact info and will be talking more about the potential for collaboration between theatrical and literary types.

Youth – A student from the University of Victoria creative writing department listened with interest to my conversation about the Fed wanting to appeal to young writers. I previewed a video poem by Marlow Gunterman (you will see the poem and get a link to the multi-media version in the Fall issue of WordWorks). She signed up for WriteON, and was definitley interested in Literary Writes.

Workshops – A woman who has been trying to write a first person narrative piece – based on memoir actually – said she has been ‘stuck’ for years. The story is about bullying, and she confided that she had played the role of aggressor in real life. We talked about writers groups, and she signed up for WriteON. I suggested she try writing the piece from the perspective of the victim, rather than the bully, to see if that would break the logjam. She thought that a good idea.

New Genre – Don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of fan fiction until today. One of the questions I ask when people are browsing, and glancing at the Fed sign is: Do you write. When I asked this of a woman who was quick scanning the Fed handout, she said: “Sort of. Not really.” Pressed, she confessed to being in the fan fiction camp. Go to fanfiction.net and find out for yourself what the term means. (Hint: If you ever wanted to write your own episode of Star Trek, this site is for you!)

That’s just a sampling, but I hope it gives you an idea of why I’m coming away from Fall for the Arts with really good feelings about the place of literature and those who create literature in our society.

WriteON!

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