Friday, February 19, 2010

Launching Pads

Last night I had the great privilege of (at last) attending the launch of the latest book by Julia Lawrinson, a good friend and also one of my afore-mentioned "Julia's".

I had been living too far away to attend any of her previous launches, so I was very pleased to finally be able to share this with her, and see what really goes on at a book launch. I had grand visions of sipping champagne, munching on canap├ęs and gaily chatting with the elite of Western Australia's best writers for children and young adults. As it was, I nearly missed the whole thing – having forgotten quite how snarly peak-hour traffic can be – and after an hour and a half of bumper-to-bumper 'Car Invaders' (like Space Invaders, but played with way more expensive toys), I sidled in late, grabbing a back row pew... and a glass of chardy on the way.

Thankfully, I did catch most of a fabulous launch speech by a very well-spoken teenager – he really did make me wonder what the hell I was doing with my time when I was his age – who may just turn out to be our next Prime Minister, so clever was he at weaving just enough of Julia's oft-hidden sassiness into her incredible list of achievements.

Forgive me if I mess this up, for I was still sipping my chardy, but Julia herself did very eloquently put forward the answer to a very important question: What is the purpose of holding a book launch? Apart from reasons that are totally obvious to me – sipping wine and rubbing shoulders, included – she said it was to celebrate the 'coming out' of the story, for one spends months (or years) with one's shoulders hunched over the computer, in a very solitary environment.

Now THAT, I can totally relate to. When I start to wonder what the hell is the point of slogging away, trying to get my characters to speak on the page as they do in my head, or how on earth I will ever think of another 8,570 words to write when the first 31,430 were so damn hard... I shall try to remember that one day I may also have to opportunity to introduce you to my 'other' friends. The ones in my head. And I don't mean that in a crazy psycho way.

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