Imagine tentfuls of festival-goers listening raptly to words of all kinds: preschoolers giggling through children’s author readings, poetry lovers listening raptly to the cadence of poets reading, and book lovers of all ages and backgrounds getting to ask questions of, or collect autographs from, a favorite author. Never mind the tables upon tables of writing organizations, publishers and booksellers.
I’ve been going to this event for many, many years, and I thought I’d experienced it in every manner of weather: lashing rain, brilliant sunshine, bone-chilling cold and late-summer warmth. But ho, was I wrong!
I showed up at 1 p.m. yesterday to introduce my new Tundra book, First Descent – a teen novel about a river kayaker who goes on an international expedition and gets kidnapped. And wow, did it ever feel like a wet, windblown expedition where tents – quite literally – got kidnapped!
An entire street of volunteers and visitors found themselves clinging desperately to tent poles as gusts of wind smacked into them. Pieces of tent siding went flying like kites, and the crash/bang/boom of collapsing structures sent dozens of exhibitors packing.
I was lucky enough to be presenting on the east side of the library, where wind gusts merely spattered authors and their books with rain as audience members in sensible rain-gear filled folding chairs to listen. You know what? When you’re introducing a novel about adventurers chasing down a river amidst white-capped waves, boulder-choked rapids, whirlpools and a waterfall… what better setting, right? When you’re describing characters dealing with warring factions of soldiers, riverbank landmines, jealousy, abandonment and betrayal — you have… a book summary that makes this year’s Word on the Street feel cozy and safe!
Anyway, I had a laminated, poster-size version of First Descent’s awesome cover to hold up as I spoke, so I cheated the rain of spoiling one book that afternoon. Had to tuck my notes under a chair leg to keep them from blowing away.
I have to give major points to the valiant volunteers to kept things running, and all the dedicated book-lovers who milled about and listened and bought books. What better testimony to the fact that the printed word remains alive, well and alluring?
I was blown away and flooded with delight. Thanks, Tundra, for setting up my Word on the Street adventure!