Finding the way out can be hard, can’t it?
Be it finding your way out of a confusing car park or poorly signposted building. Or indeed finding your way out of an embarrassing situation or, perhaps heartbreakingly out of a love lost or broken.
Finding the way out of feelings that hurt us is at the heart of life. But then mercifully there are those words that form stories, images, and ideas to be found spilling out of books, to console us and to show us a way through.
We find such solace in the shared experience depicted by the writer, who in turn is writing to find their own way out for those feelings and characters that crowd their head and heart.
It is therefore no wonder that those spaces that bring the reader and writer together are so incredibly precious. I couldn’t have felt this more when in the last few weeks I have been so fortunate to read at both Gay’s The Word and at LFest.
For me Gay’s The Word is not just a bookshop, and LFest is not just a festival, they are without question the champions of our words, our stories, and the providers of sanctuary for our hearts.
For nestled amongst the many shelves of books at Gay’s The Word and canopied underneath the dome of the big top at LFest, the audience looked back at me, waiting for the writers with their lips pressed to the microphone to speak the words with the potential to connect, inspire, and delight.
In those moments, paved by books, perhaps we found a way out together towards our queer future, illuminated in hope and wonder by the stories we love and share.