Sunday, October 14, 2007

Book Festival Day 2

(No photos today--I forgot my camera)

I thought I was tired last night!

It felt luxurious to sleep in until 9am today. The ringing phone woke me--it was son #5, Tommy, calling from Germany. We have a system: he calls when he has time to talk, and I call him right back to save outrageous charges on his cell phone.

He sounded great, full of plans for the future. He's in the Air Force, but has gotten into health and fitness and is studying to be a personal trainer when he gets out. It's too funny to hear this son, the pickiest of eaters when young, extolling the virtues of chicken sprinkled with pepper and flax seed, steamed broccoli, and other very healthful foods. I'm proud of him and the efforts he's making on his own to learn about nutrition. And he's learning to cook too!

Grandson Jared and I made it to the book festival by noon and manned the booth for a while. A wide variety of folks stopped to talk, sign up to receive more information about storytelling, and pick up brochures.

I've created a new brochure called "So You Want to Be a Storyteller" that was popular with booth visitors--I took 50 with me on Saturday, and had only 3 left at the end of the day. I made more when I got home. I also spiral-bound more copies of my ghost stories book--I started with the only four I had left, and was out of those early in the afternoon. The storytelling guild's membership form needed revision too, and I made brochures for that. So I burned the midnight oil Saturday night, getting everything printed, bound and ready to go. (Which is another reason why sleeping until 9am felt so good.)

Today we had the Storytellers Concert. Five tellers agreed to perform, and I was MC. The turnout was disappointing, only 15 people, but then attendance at the festival seemed to be down in general, especially today. And Robert San Souci, a well-known children's author, was presenting at the same time as the concert, so we had heavy competition for audience.

But even though the audience was small, the telling was excellent. Fred Powers started our set with a riveting coal mining story. He brought many coal mining tools for display which added to the atmosphere as he crawled into the room in his miner's outfit. I sang the ballad "WV Coal Mining Disaster" after Fred's story as a tribute to miners and the women who love them.

Suzi "Mama" Whaples followed with a new story with a lot of punch--a personal story about an encounter with a homeless woman years ago. Her point was made with grace and few words, no preaching but a truth so evident that all of us felt the power of her tale.

Donna Wilson demonstrated the art of the traditional tale with her telling of "Old Dry Frye," one of my favorite Appalachian tales. Her story reminded me a local humorous story by Delmar Hutton of Jackson County that is supposedly true, and absolutely hilarious. I told that tale and then we moved on to Michael Kasony-O'Malley, our guest performer from Columbus, Ohio. His personal story of making chocolate chip cookies and a disastrous science experiment had us all in tears with laughter.

I did a "science" ballad after Michael, "The Bricklayer's Lament," surely as much about physics as anything!

Karen Vuranch ended our set with a fantastic telling of another traditional tale, "The Two Old Women's Bet." Too funny! And a fitting tale to end the concert.

Another two hours in the booth talking to visitors, and then it was time to take down our displays. This is the hardest part for me--we're tired and drained, but the booth must be disassembled and the car loaded up for the trip home. Larry calls the car my little pickup and he's not far wrong. By the time we'd stopped for groceries, the car was completely full from the front seats to the back bumper.

Of course, I bought some new books, and a DVD on the process of coal mining. I want to learn more about mining and I am looking forward to watching the DVD. I now have a big stack of books to read and review, and will be posting the reviews as soon as I can.

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