Monday, October 14, 2013

Launch Parties & Firelight

Friday Night was such a wonderful experience. The space at Battenkill Books was crammed, with people standing outside the front door! I was so very touched because half the faces I saw were friends. Out there in the crowd were neighbors, my TKD family, ex-coworkers, local authors, farmers and readers that gave up their Friday night to hear me read, talk, and sign some books. That's a big deal because the Friday of the holiday weekend had all sorts of performances, art openings, and dinners planned in our little town. But even with all the hootenanny we packed the place. People brought flowers, hay bales (yes), and stories and Connie was able to put out a spread of homemade cookies and apple cider from the Roundhouse Cafe for anyone feeling peckish. It was a big time!

I started with a small introduction, which went something like this: "You know, It's really hard for a single girl to find a hawk in this town..." and that got me some laughs. If I can get people comfortable, I am more comfortable. I explained that we were here for the book event, but I'm not making a living as a writer. I told them Cold Antler had become a blog, a farm, a workshop center, a classroom, and freelance hub. I explained about part-time jobs, passions, hobbies and products my little acreage produces. Most people know this at such events, but I always feel better explaining I kill chickens as well as write stories about them. I find people are more forgiving of clumsy prose if they realize the same person who plucks feathers and bones porkchops hands in the manuscripts.

I then dove into bit of reading, sharing the opening of the book. I made sure to thank Storey for the beautiful creation, and the ilustrator who captured the scrappiness of the farm. Then I opened the floor for questions. I was asked about the farm and my story, but a lot of people wanted to hear more about Falconry. I don't know how many authors are asked at their signings "So how DO you trap a hawk?!" but I was. And I was thrilled to answer it. When people get excited about what excites me, that's my roket fuel. We talked birds and bows for a while, and the whole time I gabbed Gibson was at my feet. He's my wingman. He was there because this is his farm, his book, too. But also because he is occasionally asked to sign at such readings. When all the questions were wrapped up he received many hugs and pats on the back.

Afterwards a group of us headed to Livingston Brook Farm for a bonfire. It was exactly the way I'd want to end an October Celebration. I sat there on a hay bale, watching the warmth around me and could not have been more content. I had such amazing people around me, sparks and cinders swirling around my tired head. I had a glass of whiskey, a good dog, and a story out there for people to discover. And that's the reason I think I am so happy with the books I write - they are friend nets. There are a couple hundred thousand better writers out there than me, but I don;t know how many are as open. The books and blog gets a lot of me, the good and bad. Six years of my journey from renter in Idaho to five-book author in New York are written down, almost daily. This has brought me all the people around me, all the workshops, friends, faces and firelight. I will keep at it long as people want to be a part of the story as well. Long as they want to read, show up and trim goats feet, ride horses, shoot arrows, and offer advice. I'm here for it. And I hope you stick around, too.

Luceo Non Uro.

photo at top by Miriam Romais - portrait by Jon Katz

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