Decatur Book Festival 2013

Labor Day weekend in Atlanta features a wide variety fo activities to satisfy just about every interest out there, and it’s almost impossible to do it all. There’s Dragon*Con for the fantasy and scifi nerds, the Decatur Book Festival for the bookworms, a couple of football games I don’t know anything about, and probably a whole host of other things I don’t know about.

Some folks plan for Dragon*Con a year in advance, but I live near enough to the downtown venue that I could choose to attend the weekend of the event if I wanted. I wound up not going to Dragon*Con yesterday, choosing instead to read and relax.

But since this weekend is also the Decatur Book Festival, and I really wanted to see one panel in particular, I hightailed it to Decatur Sunday morning with a brief stop in the residential area of Winnona Park to see a couple of miniature libraries that have cropped up. More on those in a future post, but here are the ones I found. Click the photo to embiggen.

Library at South Columbia Drive, DecaturLibrary at Heatherdown Road, Decatur

The Decatur Book Festival panel I wanted to see featured four young adult fantasy authors discussing their craft: Gennifer Albin, Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, and Marie Rutkoski.

Fierce Reads Panel
(left to right: Leigh Bardugo, Marie Rutkoski, Gennifer Albin, Anna Banks)

A few notes:

Challenges and rewards were interesting. One of the authors–I can’t remember which one–mentioned introversion as a challenge, and I completely agree with this. I’m glad she acknowledged that yes, a lot of us writers are introverts and are okay with staying in for weeks at a time and that is okay, yet meeting readers and writers is also incredibly rewarding.

Gennifer mentioned NaNoWriMo, and it turned out that there were a few other Wrimos in the audience. She wrote her first novel on a public library computer and

A big thing repeated during this panel was how writing gave the authors a voice. I agree with this wholeheartedly.

There was a signing after the panel. Little Shop of Stories, a local bookstore, had books for sale, and like the derpette I am, I didn’t realize this and thought the line for the signing was for the buying as well. Duh! The volunteer on duty didn’t tell me this when she tagged others’ books in line, which didn’t help at all. Score one for Captain Awkward.

Since this panel took place on the teens stage, a good chunk of the audience consisted of teenagers. Local high school students even introduced the authors, which was awesome. Yay for young readers (and possibly writers)! I wound up talking with a fourteen-year-old in line for most of the wait in line; she writes primarily fiction and some fanfiction, and yes, I told her about NaNo and Young Writers Program.

I wasn’t bright enough to get books before the signing, but I did have more things up my sleeve. My current paper journal is almost finished, and I brought the new one with me. I let all four authors sign the new journal and gave Wrimo and NaNo pep talker Gennifer the dubious honor of titling the thing.

Author Swag At Decatur Book Festival 2013
Autographed Dr. Nbook 96Autographed and titled Dr. Nbook #96

By this point it started to rain and I was ravenous, so I headed toward the food. Unfortunately I also forgot an umbrella and was wearing a white shirt. Sometimes I’m not so great at planning ahead. A lot of the food vendors were cash only, but since the rain looked like it was going to get worse, I ducked inside Brick Store Pub and made my way to the bar, where an empty seat called to me.

I had perfect timing; people were arriving in droves, and since few of them were alone, they had to wait to be seated. Sometimes eating alone works to my advantage.

But I didn’t really eat alone. I found myself talking with the man next to me at the bar, a late-sixties experimental psychologist who is also doing some teaching. We talked about the festival and writing and NaNo and work and the discipline working at home must require and publishing and all the intricacies of the publishing business, both traditional and self-publishing. Sometimes having writer friends of all stripes has its perks. Oh who am I kidding, I love you all.

He eventually left, but an AJC writer took his spot while I finished up my beer. She wrote for the AJC, but she was also a one-day fiction writer, and she loved the idea of NaNo. Yessss.

The rain appeared to have stopped by the time I finished my beer, so I grabbed my leftover food, headed out, and stopped by Little Shop of Stories for some of the books from that panel. They were already signed but not personalized, but that I could live with.

After that I checked out some of the vendors at the festival. Understandably some of them had packed up and left, but quite a few stuck around. Among those vendors was one that made gorgeous leather journals:

Leather Journals at DBF

Seriously. Handmade leather journals and handmade paper on the inside. Beautiful. But also not cheap.

Well, my 100th journal is coming up in the next year, and I’ve been planning on something really nice for it anyway. Unfortunately the vendor wasn’t set up to take cards, but one advantage to having gone to school right down the street from the festival is knowing where everything is, including the ATM for my bank. I gave the vendor directions to that ATM and told her that there are probably others; she gave me five bucks off the notebook. The design may look familiar…

Police Box Journal

“It’s a police box journal,” she said. “I can’t tell you who it belongs to, but I can say I’d be very happy if you got a picture of David Tennant with it.” Very clever.

I wore my NaNo shirt and carried the NaNo messenger bag, which prompted lots of conversations–a couple from fellow Wrimos, like the Little Shop of Stories employee who rang me up, but most of these conversations were of the “that’s neat, I wish I could do that” type.

The rain remained in its miserable “will it or won’t it” state as I wandered around the other vendors and juggled the food and other papers I accumulated, the journal and books stuffed in my bag. I made my way around the rest of the vendors and found my way toward Java Monkey, one of my favorite haunts during my student days.

Right next to Java Monkey I saw the poetry on demand folks, who I’ve mentioned before. Jimmy recognized me (“You’re sushimustwrite!” he greeted me), and I requested a poem about taking off a wet t-shirt over and over again. Thank you rain. Nick wrote my poem. Here’s the poem.

My poem on demand, Decatur Book Festival 2013

the sandwiches are
soggy and under
decomposition. the shoes
have become like the
sandwiches and there is
no ray of sun in sight
only the dread of taking
off the drenched cotton
materials which have
repeatedly absorbed
every drop. where is
the giant blow dryer in
the sky?

And finally I fulfilled my plan of writing, including this post. But since their wifi was awful and I saved the post to the laptop’s hard drive, you get the post today.

How was your Labor Day weekend?

NaNo fame is apparently a thing I have now.

I went to Atlanta Streets Alive with a friend from Reddit today. It was a lot of fun, but the event itself isn’t what I’m writing about here.

I spotted a poetry on demand table at some point on North Highland Avenue, and won’t lie–this was what I was looking forward to for the past day. These were the folks from Free Poems on Demand, and indeed, they would write a poem on the topic of your choice. So I went up to them and after struggling to come with a good topic, requested a poem on what it’s like to be a food.

One of the poets noticed my NaNoWriMo messenger bag and we started talking about NaNo. I mentioned that I had done and won NaNo for the past ten years, and he asked what my username on the site was. I told him.

“Sushimustwrite,” he said. “I’ve heard of you.”


……
………

Yep, pretty much my reaction right there.

I got used to being recognized in my region and even at Night of Writing Dangerously, but out in the general public? Whoa, dude. I honestly don’t know what to think.

The rest of the day passed. We wandered around, found the park in my neighborhood, wandered around more, and went to our respective homes. I came home, ate, and checked my email, Twitter feed, and NaNoMail. And found multiple messages in my NaNoMail that are best classified as fanmail.

So hi, apparently NaNo fame is apparently a thing I have now.

And by the way, here’s the poem.
What It's Like To Be A Food poem

By Jimmy Lo
I see you eying
the fresh peel of my package.
In the language of modern consumption
I’m consumed with the possibilities
of the many ways to snap into a Slim Jim
Or break me off a piece of that
Kit Kat bar–or
the melt in yr mouth not in yr hand variety
of sexual innuendo that fills
my mind with the vaguest wish
to die inside the stomach of a whale
like some martyrannical version
of slowly wasting away,…