What Are You Excited About?

“The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.” Henry Moore

This question−what are you excited about−is what journalists ask me in interviews leading up to the Whistler Writers Festival. Only a few days remain before opening night. At the moment, I’m mostly running flat out, trying to tie up all the final details.

There is no room for excitement.

It is at this time that I anticipate, visualize, hope (endlessly), and keep fingers crossed. And of course, I don’t sleep because I’m too busy thinking of every possible disaster scenario and what if anything I might do to avert it.

This is the life of an organizer. One would think with my tendency toward obsession, I would be in my element. And in some ways I am. I like to figure things out, solve problems. But sometimes they feel insurmountable.

So I’m thankful for the break that interviews with journalists give me. Focusing on this question gives me a bit of respite.

But you know it’s not an easy question to answer. I could chat about the number of authors we have coming to this year's festival. Over 60. Or I could list the guest authors who are short-listed for the Booker, the Giller and the Governor General’s award. I could talk endlessly about our Author in the Schools program, which continues to expand and bring kid-loved authors into all of our district schools. There are also individual sessions I could mention that are new to this year’s festival. I’m eager to see how they will work out.

I speak to all of this of course, but in the end what excites me is that we are still here, still kicking. This festival is a labour of love and being perfectly frank, sometimes hate. It has continued out of sheer stubbornness and passion for the literary arts. It has grown because of incredible support (more about this in my next blog) and the single-minded effort of so many volunteers.

And you know what, rumours of the death of the book and reading are much exaggerated. I can tell you people still buy books, they read, and they continue to flock to festivals to hear their favourite authors. This is what excites me, makes me do it again and again. That drug is some powerful stuff.

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