Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Attending the Mississauga Book Fest

Hello everyone. Last Saturday, I was able to go to the Mississauga Book Fest. I've wanted to do something like that for ages now but never really had the people in life who shared that interest. This year was at last different. Dani is a good friend of our family who also wanted to attend the festival. We both share a deep interest in reading, science fiction and fantasy. Going with someone who genuinely wanted to be there was very important to me. It makes all the difference when experiencing events like this. There are lots of people who might well have been willing to go as my guide but wouldn't go out of their own interest. It would have simply been as a favour to me. Dani truly wanted to go and was happy to be my friend and guide. I felt that I added more to her experience of the festival. It was a day of interesting conversations. Dani and I had lots of books and other things to talk about. We don't tend to actually get together very often so there was some catching up to do. The authors were terrific. We got to hear a number of panel discussions and talks about writing, publishing, and the increasing viability of self-publishing. Also, authors read from their own work. I never realized Tania Huff wrote more than vampire books. She writes fantasy and science fiction also. The highlight of the day was actually getting to meet Robert J. Sawyer, my favourite author for over a decade. Dani got a picture of that happening which I will include with this blog entry. I didn't realize she was taking the picture so there's a far better chance I'll look natural rather than self-conscious. I thought I'd be nervous or tongue-tied. When the moment actually came though, I simply felt very grateful, in the present moment, and that kind of quiet fulfilled sense you get when you're doing something dreamed of for years. He was very gracious in person. It was interesting to see that in how he interacted with the other authors during the day. I can't wait to read his next novel, but it won't be out for quite a while. I saw no need to buy a print book and have him sign it. He already has signed my books in a way by recording those wonderful introductions for Audible. That's more than good enough for me. People sometimes wonder where my optimism comes from given the frustrations and restrictions my blindness and poor orientation skills have combined to present me with. Writers like him who infuse their characters and stories with such warm positive wisdom are responsible for a good portion of that. Especially after I walk away from religion as a teenager, characters in such stories did a great deal to give me a model for morality. Robert J. Sawyer bucks a lot of trends and established traditions in science fiction. Doubtless, hi finances have suffered for his more optimistic take on the genre. He one of my personal heroes. I can honestly say that in person, he more than lived up to the high impression of his character imparted through his many books. How many people can say that they've met one of their personal heroes and not been the least bit disappointed? I certainly can now count myself among that number. Adding further to my optimism are a slowly increasing number of people like Dani who have found their way past being helpful acquaintances to being honest friends who feel that I have something to offer. If I had to go to that festival alone, I certainly would have done it. There were crowds of people and I would constantly have needed to ask total strangers for help getting around. People we encountered were certainly kind and would doubtless have lent a hand, but the day would simply have ended along with any brief contact I might have achieved. This way, a moment where a dream came true was shared with a long-time friend and serves as another memory in a slowly growing platonic friendship. I keenly look forward to attending future book festivals with her and Sara. Perhaps, others will join us also. Attending such events as part of a small group of friends would I think be the ultimate way of experiencing them. Particularly if the day included our invasion of an unsuspecting pub, restaurant or coffee place where we could enjoy food, drink and each other's thoughts of the day. It's nice to finally have a proper idea of what a book fest is actually like. I had some theoretical notions going in which, for the most part, stood up rather well. The only area where I really came up short was in thinking about the number of people attending. Frankly, I never could have imagined a library containing as much noise and free-flowing un-shushed cheerful conversation. I'll never be able to think of a library in quite the same way again.