Well, its been a week or so since I left Texas, so I've had enough time to look at all the photos on Facebook and read the blog posts, and still, the feeling remains: It was the best party I've ever attended.
Yes, I was there at the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend, and let me confirm all the reports. Someone there said (and I think it was Pat Conroy) that Kathy L. Patrick has the ability to single-handedly save the publishing industry. And I tend to agree. Here's why.
Kathy has some sort of mystical ability to pull people together from all walks of life. Writers and readers mingled together in harmony and hilarity, all in the name of literacy, dressed as Barbies or something from the Wizard of Oz. We were children again and childish in our pure love of books. We danced and laughed in praise of the stories the Good Lord gives to us all to cherish, and learn from and inspire one another.
I've published four books in as many years, and I'm honored my latest, Saving Cicadas, finally got me to Texas, but I've been to too many book events to count--this one, well, it tops them all. And yes, I know the Good Witch Glendas all dressed in white might have helped just a little bit with their mean mojitos, but I imagine any witness might vouch for me when I say the little town of Jefferson, Texas became annointed that weekend. It was a magical place where deep friendships were made, batteries were recharged, and the Spirit of the Book was never bigger or brighter than I've seen it in all my years. And it left us with the feeling that yes, there is hope afterall for the lovely paper product that fills us with so much joy and awe as we flip through its pages. Because there are people out there who love books just as much as we authors do. They're called the Pulpwood Queens.
Author table at Lamache's Italian
Ad Hudler is Oz, I always knew it.
Susan Cushman, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Deanne Gist
Jamie Ford, Pat Conroy, Nicole Seitz, Melissa Conroy
Here's the question: Is is ever okay to tell a lie? Is fiction lying? How about if it breaks from reality, imagines the supernatural, or even takes liberties with the Truth?
Here's my two cents:
My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles once told us kids a flat-out lie. They said there was a swamp monster living in the lake beside my grandparent's house. It was a big estate, 65 acres, and we spent a lot of time on our own, playing outside. We'd go there in the summertimes and swim in innertubes and fish in that lake, but only when a grown-up was with us. Never once did I venture into that lake by myself. They even went so far as to show me a picture of the swamp monster, so I could believe it, know it to be true, see it's face in my mind's eye if I ever thought about going down there alone. Which I did not.
When I got older and more mature, more able to take care of myself and make good decisions, I found out that swamp monster was a lie. I thank God for the people in my life who once stretched the truth and used their imaginations, sometimes giving me nightmares. Because they saved our lives. None of us grandchildren ever ventured into that lake alone. Not one of us drowned because some grown-ups in our lives loved us enough to get truly creative. They knew what could happen, and it was worse than a swamp monster.
The nightmares? Oh, they went away. But the love for my family who protected me and kept me from falling into that black lake? Now that will last forever.
Since writing this, my aunt says she doesn't remember this creature, but she does remember a certain TROLL that lived under the little bridge that crossed over to the island in the center of the lake. The same bridge we fished on. The same troll that apparently gave the three billy goats gruff a lot of trouble. My cousin doesn't remember a thing, but I specifically remember the above creature in my nightmares. My daughter saw him on my screen and said, "That's scary" and I said, "I know. But it's not real." I guess I'm a little wary of giving her the same dreams...