Monday, March 22, 2010

Down the Hall, Then Right, Then Left

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a great event, the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. Lots of excellent writers, lots of excellent readers. Everywhere you looked—excellence.

Most of the time, I staffed the Mystery Writers of America – Mid-Atlantic Chapter table, answering questions from interested mystery lovers about the organization (contrary to a popular misconception, I was NOT threatening people with bodily harm unless they joined). It was a fun way to spend the day--making new friends and hanging out with mystery fans. The one panel I made it to was excellent (see? more excellence).

I met a ton of people: other writers (traditionally published, self published, not-quite-yet-published), readers, booksellers, festival Cliffordorganizers, and the guy who asked me where he could buy a sandwich. The luncheon featured Julia Spencer-Fleming, and a lady dressed up as a character out of a steampunk novel wandered the hallways passing out stuff (bookmarks, I think, although they could have been some type of steampunkish device). I even caught a glimpse of Clifford The Big Red Dog amidst a group of pint-sized fans. (Don't ask me how he signed books with such enormous paws.)

All in all, quite entertaining. And perhaps the best part was realizing what every participant had in common.

A love of books.



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like fun! Mystery Writers of America is lucky to have you as a volunteer., I got the literature from them a while back. I need to swallow my fear of belonging to groups and become a member, I know...


Terry Odell said...

Your post reminds me to get in touch with MWA and transfer my membership from Florida to Colorado.

Being among people who share our loves or concerns is somehow very "centering." People 'get it' and there are always things to discuss.

I remember going to my first "Mothers of Twins" chapter meetings when my girls were a couple months old. I walked into the room and saw a dozen people and realized I wasn't alone.

Of course, it's not quite the same with books, but the connectivity is there.

Elizabeth, I can't believe you haven't joined. Do. It. Now.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I attended a similar book fair in Fort Myers, FL this weekend. It’s one of my favorite events and it draws lots of people. The vibes from so many people enjoying books and coming out to meet authors is refreshing.

Elspeth Futcher said...

You saw Clifford? Now you've made it.

Ingrid King said...

Sounds like a great event. I wish I could have gone. I'll definitely plan on attending it next year.

Alan Orloff said...

Elizabeth - You should follow Terry's advice. Do. It. Now.

Terry - As for transferring your membership, you should follow Terry's advice, too. Do. It. Now.

Jane - I absolutely love book festivals. Coming this spring, I'll actually be speaking in some! How cool!

Elspeth - You know, in person, he's big, but he's not "house" big like in the books.

Ingrid - Next year in Charlottesville!

Lorel Clayton said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! I should really go to one of those shindigs. I'm never in a room full of people who love books.