Melbourne Writers' Festival
I went to the MWF this afternoon with a new blogger friend The Eagle's Child. We participated in the 6pm session "The Artist's Life" with the panel of lady writers / artists including Alice Garner, Gail Bell, Shalini Akhil and Merlinda Bobis who had a fantastic discussion on the survival of the artist with Jane Clifton as the host.
I really enjoyed the event! It was awesome to see the varieties of female writers represented in this session. They were all different (in terms of personalities, writing styles and contents, backgrounds and age etc). Yet there is one thing they have in common, they enjoy writing (or as Merlinda beautifully put it: painting with words), and are willing to spend the time following this passion. And I can identify with them!
Their sharing about the survival of the artist inspired me a lot:
- Shalini read some entries of her diary and talked about her suffering 'post published depression' and how she tried to come out of it. Her honesty and sense of humour was fantastic.
- Merlinda shared her ideas about reconciliation for survival through words which become expression. She believes that price money and financial rewards are great, but the most rewarding part of a writing career is when her writing has inspired people in a way that she doesn't expect. Also writing is a great way of telling stories pushed down by the system.
- Alice grew up among artists and had fond memories of spending time with grown up artists. Her thoughts of 'allowing time for ideas to germinate is part of the process' is insightful, and that material things don't seem to matter as much if we enjoy what we do is meaningful.
- Gail shared how working with words can be so rewarding yet challenging, and the fact that we can be our worst critic, hence we need to be stronger than our inner-critic. As a writer / researcher she ended up in interesting places. She believes that the art keeps our souls alive.
The host Jane Clifton also commented that the art is a very important fabric of the society nowadays, and art / writing is certainly a privileged occupation.
The art is the only serious thing in the world, and artists are the only ones who are not serious - which is such a paradox! Would you agree?