Why did I go?
Beyond nurturing a few wild – and frankly, totally unrealistic – hopes and dreams, why did I go to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year? I promised, last year, that I would not go again, and have renewed that promise following my visit in 2018. But my mother knows me better… Now, perhaps I should just say, We shall see…
But beyond witnessing the sheer scale of the event, what conceivable reason would I have for bothering? Why not just stay at home, put my feet up and have a well-earned rest?
Firstly, planning to go to Frankfurt, making the effort and paying for it all, I have been forced to take my work seriously, and work hard to present it, effectively and in such a way that someone else might actually enjoy reading it. The focus of having a fair to work towards has been essential, to force me to write, get organised and plan efficiently. Without that discipline, I would probably still be dreaming about finishing Book 1 in my fiction series. As it is, I have finished Book 2 and am now well on the way with Book 3 which I hope to have completed as a full working draft by the time the London Book Fair 2019 rolls around in March. Going to book fairs is, I realise, my work equivalent of a business deadline or a demanding boss, which I need to give my work focus and clarity.
Secondly, I am forced to deal with people in what is in other circumstances a fairly isolated and lonely occupation. I am forced to make myself understood, to ask for what I want and to explain my reasons to doing what I do, to a bunch of otherwise fairly hard-headed individuals. All of which helps to thrash out my real motivations, and to hone my self-belief. Belief is the mother of reality.
Thirdly, there are times when I really need a rest, and if going to Frankfurt will allow me time off to get away from the hamster-wheel of my life – which, I fully admit, it is up to me to make more exciting – then it’s worth doing. I come home and immediately my appreciation for the comforts and companionship of the joys of home also gets a welcome boost. Sometimes a thing is too close to see properly. Perhaps, three days of almost total silence in the midst of a veritable hive of activity – as strange and at times unsettling contradiction – is useful to remind me what matters.