It's always a brain trip to see festivity, integrity and public irony in orgy.
When writing and reading are puffed up to a scale of a 5-day festival, in one of the most expensive places in Bali, the simplicity of being in the company of written word erodes under the abrasion of pricy admissions, faux-celebrity, and travel frenzy.
The good news is that, as far as my experience goes, that's the worst of it. It gets better from there. I think.
Much like Christmas and Pilgrimage and Rock concerts, when you surround yourself with people sharing the same passion, and in this case a craft both revered and solitary, you either
- lose the sense of being the ONLY ONE in the whole wide world who is taken in reverence and near-crazy, or
- gather the energy to postpone feeling depressed until some actual reading and writing occurs, or
- take home whatever is offered from being in the same place with so many crazies as yourself and squeeze some creative juice out of it.
All will be well, you see, if the people gathered around the festival of writers and readers manage to write and read whether or not they gather to celebrate the book-hysteria. The sooner they get to it is the better.
For the Hajji returning from Meccah, the groupie limping home at dawn, and even saints after neural-denting ecstasies, post-party blues entangle us all. Sometimes with even worse feelings than if the boohaha had never happened, lest we fight it off with positive action. Even a little. Even for a minute. Even if for just a cup.
It's just the thing to expect from a place so weird that it would pay such a vivacious homage to writing and reading, two of the most solitary human behaviors. A place that, as often as I have been there, has never failed feeding my imagination with sublime joys and lasting friendships.
Fuel for everyday awesomeness.
If only I could stop myself from telling you about the boy I'm going to stalk while in Ubud.