Monday, June 11, 2012

Imagine in the Park- A different kind of success

Great props, all nicely displayed and labelled. We did have fun.

How do you prepare for a drop-in event - one that likely won't draw your demographic audience? I made Mars Bars Squares,brought a spare brain, always handy, a coffee bean necklace, some feathers, a rubber chicken,  three squawking stuffed birds, some sample books, my laptop, a blindfold, an identicane and a portable sound system.  Left my ego at home.
Not a Robert Munsch routine-I'm mugging my eldest daughter's favourite pose for my son in law.
At this point I should mention I was starting to get a sore throat.  The sound system I strapped on was a crutch.  I really never needed the volume. It rained and  the workshops and blue pencils we had envisioned turned into one on one writing chats with kids.   We were totally en-tented and the sound of the drops rattling on the canvas was very soothing.  Within minutes I'd sold my sample crush.candy.corpse.  I wasn't even trying or I would have bought more.

The laptop was a brilliant backup as I could open up any of my power point presentations complete with my book trailers and show them on an individual basis. I didn't draw blockbuster hundreds, but I talked with such neat kids. Showed them my "sensation stations" so they could think about using their five senses when writing.  And I spoke with their parents, handing out tip sheets I'd created on literacy.  One mother and daughter are definitely going to check out my favourite bookstore A Different Drummer.
Another Iranian boy returned a few minutes later to ask for some more writing tip.

Such a wonderful opportunity to talk about the excitement of writing with one child at a time.
I was sorry for the hard working arrangers  and volunteers of this festival that more kids didn't turn out.  But at the end of the day I felt such deep satisfaction.  And I couldn't have articulated why until I interviewed a writer, Jacqueline Guest, author of Outcasts of River Falls from Bragg Creek, Alberta this morning.  She talked about how writing isn't all about the crappy royalty cheques. (I chuckled at that one.)  It's about passing on the magic of reading.  That moment when you connect with a young reader and turn them on.  This festival gave me the opportunity to pass on my passion for writing.    I'd say I saw the magic wash over at least twenty young writers.  A pretty good number, I'd say.  Thank you to Patti Cannon and all the Imagine in the Park volunteers.  Pretty sure Ryan will save the world. Thanks also to the parents who took the time to give their kids this experience.