It seemed like it took the whole of the 90 minutes of the “Paddy Chat” that took place yesterday evening just to get through our introductions to each other, such were the fascinating backgrounds and stories of the 16 or so people who attended. It was difficult to make an actual count with the continual movement of what I still see as the Potteresque images of a mass online meeting.
I think it fair to say that it was a tremendous success. We only scratched the surface of observations, experiences, and possible discussions given the professions and passions of the attendees including theology, archaeology, sculpture, the law, medicine, IT, meteorology, academia, writing, and much more. People were logging on from Canada, Germany, the UK, Brussels, Hungary, Italy, Romania, the USA; a good balance from many locations. Even my 20 month old grandson Mark made an apperarance. His first literary conference!
We all enjoyed listening to individual stories and discovering the connections between us that emerged. We heard the exciting news from Dan Popescu in Romania that he has two books imminently due publication covering exchanges of letters with Paddy during that less well known period of his time in Romania before the war.
Paddy is the obvious connection, but the conversation ranged widely and was not just limited to him. We discussed biographies about Paddy and Joan, with some agreement that Simon Fenwick’s Joan is perhaps the most entertaining and revealing. I appreciate that is a controversial statement!
There was no agenda for the meeting but attendees did make some suggestions about the format of future events. Yes, we agreed we would like to arrange others! I do hope that more people can attend on the next occasion, perhaps something in September after our summer of restriction-free travel 🙂
Personally I’m so glad I got round to arranging it. I did point out that there is nothing to prevent others arranging their own, especially where time zones don’t match particularly well (calling on Maggie Rainey-Smith and Brent McCunn to organise the Antipodean version 🙂 ). Please feel free to use me as a contact point and the blog as one of your channels of communication. I can create an events section with calendar for easy reference. If you like I can arrange on your behalf if you’d rather.
It would be great if you could add suggestions to the comments section and let’s take it from there. Clearly we can arrange events to discuss particular books (or even just sections of books), or have guest writers etc discuss their work.
As Francesca, an Italian lawyer living and working in Brussels, said at the end, thinking about future events, ‘this has been a marvellous event, and let’s keep this channel open!’