I am writing this at the start of the last week of Geo-Writing, which has run throughout the festival. I’ve been overwhelmed with the response. Not just the amount, but the quality of the writing. Let’s press pause here (think of this blog as a Betamax video) – and remind you that the premise of Geo-Writing is that writers submit short, short stories based on prompts according to their location. OK, got that? Press play.
I’ll leave the writing to speak for itself, but simply say that there’s aliens, balloons, fireworks, romance, brides, spies and cats. Except my headline prompts, my Larger-Than-Life nouns, don’t do the writing justice; it’s all turned out to be a lot more subtle, poetic, beautifully-crafted than that.
Leaving the writing to speak for itself, instead let me wax lyrical on all things digital. First the festival itself; I love the mixture of disciplines, the Digital Plus nature (Plus art, Plus music, Plus storytelling). I enjoy – and have benefited – from its natural segue into social media. Twitter and Facebook have been great for Geo-Writing. Writers admiring each other’s work, making contact, sharing prompts across continents. Marketing certainly has an easy base level, when the product is digital, and you can simply spray hyperlinks around. Somehow, though, it’s more than that. I’ve had the chance to eavesdrop on writers in Scotland, New York, Paris, Canada, Johannesburg – as well as Brighton and Hove – commenting on each other’s writing and enthusing about the project.
Does the writing make sense as a whole? Probably not. It’s going to take some kind of extraordinary omnipresent narrator with hallucinatory powers and a selective blind spot to make sense of those eclectic pieces. But does the project work as a whole, is it enhanced by its digital component, does it fit with the experimental, inspiring nature of the rest of Brighton Digital Festival?