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Behind the Scenes....My Weekend at the Willy Lit Fest - Part 2

My cheeks were red.

Ruby red.

Crimson, like a big shiny firetruck.

The room was hot – or perhaps it was just the heat being generated by my radioactive cheeks.

As I looked out into the multitude of faces staring expectantly in my direction, I tried not to panic…. I had this.

I looked over my notes for the 100th time - god bless my preparedness.

It was Sunday June 17th and the Willy Lit Fest was in full swing.

I arrived early. Outfit carefully planned. Notes stored safely in my bag. I waited for a break in the weather and made a mad dash from my car to the warm refuge of the Williamstown Town Hall.

The Hub had been transformed into a Treehouse, filled with kids from all over the west, ready to dive into the world of Andy Griffiths. Fresh off the back of his stand out performance at Stereo Stories the night before, he still had plenty of his trademark showmanship to splash about…. literally!

The crowd of children and parents found themselves in need of their wet-weather gear, inside! Super-soaker in hand, Andy certainly offered up more than anyone had bargained for. The kids loved it!

From Andy Griffiths to Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, I was ready to take Two Steps Forward. The session was brilliant, given the subject matter. The husband and wife duo regaled us with stories of their time on the Camino trail and having just come back from Europe myself, their journey had me wanting to hop a plane ASAP!

After a morning of distraction, it was time to take my place opposite the audience. My session had finally begun…. hence the red cheeks.

Festival president and Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Cr Angela Altair introduced us beautifully. As an ex-journalist, Angela was particularly interested in our subject matter – Has Facebook Killed Citizen Journalism?

I sat alongside Derek Green and Kelly Kayne from The Westsider and David Llewellyn from Willy and Hobby. I waited for what felt like an eternity, as Derek set the scene, and then we were off! I wanted to present as relaxed and knowledgeable – my cheeks were determined to betray me!

I was so nervous leading up to this event. If I’m being perfectly honest, I hadn’t been in the best headspace of late. I’ve been feeling a little lost after my European adventure. Archer is going to be 2 soon and I’m starting to think, ‘What’s next?’

I don’t want to go back to retail.

I want to feel inspired.

I want to feel how I felt on that wintery afternoon, red-cheeked, but alive!

I need to put this passion to use, but how? How do I make my Willy Lit Fest experience last longer than a weekend? How do I make myself useful, beyond motherhood?

The session was a great success, from my perspective at least. I had such a wonderful time and felt like I could have talked forever! Public speaking isn’t so bad.

As I approached the Greenroom for the last of my official duties, some people stopped me, to thank me for the session – they had really enjoyed it?!

How awesome is that?

I closed out the weekend introducing a discussion between Bruno Lettieri and Greg Baum. Greg Baum is the chief sports writer and associate editor of The Age. THE AGE!

He was so lovely, despite his status as a Collingwood supporter…nobody’s perfect.

So, that’s it. My weekend at the Willy Lit Fest was done.

Public speaking, book signings and meeting so many wonderful, like-minded individuals – my peers.

I drove home with a sense of achievement, and way too many books.

Loraine Callow, Barbara Hughes, Angela Altair, Carol Winfield and the entire committee work bloody hard to make this event such a pleasure to attend. They should be so proud of what they have built.

From little things, big things really do grow.

Here’s hoping this is the beginning of something big for me.



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