A week ago I attended a Science Fiction and Fantasy writers’ get-together CYMERA or Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing to give it its full name.
It was mentioned on twitter by one of the attending writers and as I am always looking for inspiration I booked the tickets for workshops and Author panels months in advance.
Apparently it was the first time such a Festival was organised by a very energetic young lady.
Even though here and there the organisation was a bit shaky I had a tremendous time.
Both workshops I attended, by Gareth.L.Powell and Laura Lam, were well presented and though completely different in delivery both inspirational and fun.
The panels were entertaining. Everybody very British self deprecating while being excellent writers and having published loads of books.
Comparing this with my last year’s visit to Matera,Italy for the Women’s Fiction Festival it felt a bit as if I had drifted in to some student event.
Comparing sunny, beautiful Matera with drizzly, beautiful in its own dark way Edinburgh is naturally not fair.
The thing in Italy was organised for the 17th time and we got advice not so much on the actual writing but more on publishing indie or otherwise.
There were Expert sessions one-on-one which were great and there was a translation service for the people who did not speak either Italian or English which made it more International.
The social events had a more mature feel to them.
Even though I have read more SCI-FI and Fantasy than most people I know, I did not feel quite as much at home as I did then with my fellow female writers of all genres.
Could have been an age thing as most of the crowd seemed to be of the D&D and gaming variety.
Why was everybody wearing black? At least a lot of the young women had some bright colours in their hair usually only found on birds of Paradise.
Knowing this penchant for black by the young I had taken great pains to tone down my usually vibrant wardrobe. Still felt rather self conscious in my green-leaf printed top and bright red sweater. It felt like the world wrong way round as when I was young only very old people used to wear black, while we hippies had the brightest patterned clothes we could lay our hands on inspired by the beautiful fashions of India.
Good times were had by all (I vaguely remember), as my sons headmaster used to say.
Otherwise I can really recommend this Festival to aspiring writers and fans of the SFF genre.
Here is a link to the site so you don’t get bothered with those many referrals to a certain photo app as I was.
Talking about style the Air B&B room I stayed in was part of one of the most gorgeous apartments I have ever seen with a very graceful host called Julian. It was stuffed from top to bottom with art and antiques.
I lay under a duvet covered in a plum-coloured velvet on an embroidered sparkling white pillow. Like a little princess .
It was my kind of style even though I am not artistic enough to achieve that full on artistic vibe.
In Belgium and the Netherlands people often think their house should look like a picture from a design studio’s brochure.
Muted colours, preferably all the same, uncomfortable furniture consisting of straight lines and nothing on any of the tables or floors. How can you live properly like that? Where are all their mementoes? Their pictures?Their half-read books and newspapers? Knitting projects?
I am a great believer in re-using furniture and often find the most amazing things at the local Recycle Shop. And don’t get me started on the tableware, glasses and crockery in those places. Much nicer than the IKEA uniform products.
Have bought another load of (e)books this month and have now decided not to buy any more until I have read them all. Except for the 2 pre-ordered ones.
Will finish Age of assassins, by RJ Barker, one of the writers I met at the festival and besides being a very good writer a very nice human being.
Am only at 16% now but it is looking very promising and I will definitely finish this one and let you know how it pans out.
Now I have to get back to my own writing which did get a good push in the right direction after the festival. Long may it last.