The cool wind and threat of rain had me wondering if I should just ditch this idea and high tail it back to the warmth of my car. My clothes scream summer and I am getting chilled to the bone. Dam I hate giving up my flip flops and open sandals, it is like I’m surrendering to winter, god forbid!.
A festival of words.. an event advocating literacy and celebrating the joy of reading, has me standing here this past Sunday, beside City Hall, undecided. Changing my mind not to go to the lake brings me to explore this event called “Word on the Street” I actually donated money to this event last year although I hadn’t attended it.
Reading is my secret pleasure, well I have a few others as well but I’ll save those for another blog.. you’re welcome. My kindle possesses 840 books, but I find myself picking up and reading paper books again, especially at night. How many of us have electronic devices but have drifted back to paper I wonder?
Expecting to listen to readings by authors, which I secretly thought might be boring.. I came anyway. Checking out the food trucks was in the back of my mind.. coming from a catering background, stuff like that always interests me.
I feel some stares, me in my summer attire, in this miserable weather. I make a few halfhearted gestures to those I see shaking their heads, I shrug and blurt out “I am a refugee from Miami, is it always this cold here?”
A gal dressed in warm pants, parka, scarf and gloves tells me there is something happening inside the library, much warmer there. I head in that direction and give encouragement to three gals manning tent legs (dam that wind!) .. small pop up tent, how many times have I done that? Too many come to mind, I can still turn back, but I keep walking.
Once inside I follow everyone going downstairs, hmmm must be something good happening down there. What’s this.. everyone is also coming up too, must be a come and go thing? I get to the lower level and see a huge line-up.. for the bathrooms!
Upon entering I had noticed a sign about a VIP lounge downstairs. Before making my way back upstairs I wander over to a desk manned by two volunteers and spy a familiar name tag on there, Herb McPhall. “I’m Herb Mc Phall” I say brazenly, hoping to get into the lounge and score a hot coffee. Well it was worth a try.
Getting just a chuckle it didn’t work (Emily Elyn and I crashed Terry Factors VIP launch party in Vegas this past March.. also wrote that up in my blog somewhere).”Anything else happening down here?” I ask, both point to a door and say “well there is a reading going on in there”.
Do you ever go somewhere by yourself and think “what am I doing here”? Seems I have done this twice already this month. I open the door and I literally hit the ‘Mother Lode’! Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi is onstage along with two other authors.
The place is packed, standing room only. I stand along the wall and gradually inch my way closer to the front. These three authors are discussing how they write their books and stories, where they start, how they end and everything in-between.
This standing along the wall is killing me but my discomfort is made bearable by these fascinating authors. They are revealing their innermost secrets, parts of their lives, and sharing the joys and the agonies of how they write. Wow.. this is not what I expected. How many of us, I wonder, secretly have a book inside of us?
A member of the sitting audience has to leave and she motions for me to take her seat. Relief washes over me and now I can really concentrate and digest everything offered up to those of us lucky enough to be here.
I want to mention the other two authors but that is not the point of this blog, and besides, I have already forgotten their names.. but their words are imprinted in my memory.
This session ends and I enjoyed every minute of it, even though I came in late. Next up is a children’s author and I squirm in my seat and think ‘do I really want to go back outside in the cold and its probably raining?’ na.. not happening!
Imagine my delight when a grown woman walks onstage wearing a tiara and a big pink feather boa. This magical journey is not only funny and at times even hilarious.. but it ends up being enlightening and inspirational as well. It is all about how this author and her illustrator brought Fancy Nancy to life!
We were treated to lessons in life, turns in the road and paths less travelled. My god it was interesting and had my full attention.. I did not want it to end. They came all the way from New York and I am so humbled by this.. we are truly lucky indeed.
I look over the program and see all that I have missed, David Suzuki for one and also a class about online food blogging! There is even a session about promoting yourself online, put on by Alice Kuipers and Art Slade. There is something here for everyone.
Next up is Denyse Klette and I cannot begin to explain everything she does. I will try.. she puts her hand up for everything she can’t do and then goes about doing it! Now she’s producing adult coloring books it is only a miniscule of her multifaceted talents and projects.. google her!
In closing I want to say I only caught a portion of this event and didn’t get around to the tents outside.. didn’t check out the food trucks even. Thank you to The Word on the Street .. I will be spreading the word!
I missed out on a wealth of genuine learning experiences, my loss.. and if you weren’t there and could have been, well your loss too!
Next year I’m dressing warm, going early, staying all day.. and inviting all of you to join me! I can’t drag you there but you know what? My life is just that much better for having met and listened to the words these authors unselfishly shared with us.
Word on the Street.. listen, feel.. taste, smell and look at that.. a plethora of food trucks too!