Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bye Bye Bookfests I: Franklin County Book Festival


Ida B. Peevish: Photo by Jeff Reid

The Franklin County and Valley Bookfests are over. I’m a bookfest junkie; I had a great time as both participant and attendee.

At the Franklin County Book Festival, I was more or less the organizer of the Friday night kickoff “appetizer” reading at Edible Vibe in downtown Rocky Mount. The charm of a reading is its spontaneity. You prepare a lot of material but don’t decide exactly what to use until you see the whites of the audience’s eyes, so to speak. You try to match your material to what you think the audience will like and what the readers before you read.

I thought the evening should go from serious to humorous, so I placed essayist Fred First (Slow Road Home) first, followed by poet Dick Raymond (Ballads in Blue and Gray) and and poet Mike Allen (Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, Disturbing Muses). After the break, two female humor writers would close out the show: Marion Higgins (When Men Move to the Basement), and then me (More Peevish Advice).

Fred actually read some pretty funny stuff—an essay about a writing assignment in which he had to pick what animal he’d be: a cow. I thought Dick would do serious poems—instead, he had the audience in stitches with his poem about the, uh, excesses of an ancient Roman emperor’s wife. Then Mike performed his poetry and wowed the audience. They were a tough act to follow, but Marion and I (as my alter-ego Ida B. Peevish) got some laughs. I had some “cow material” that I used, so the evening ended on a bovine note. Jeff Reid from the Smith Mountain Eagle took some pictures of me as Ida B. Peevish, and the paper ran them last week.

On Saturday, Civil War historian Dr. James “Bud” Robertson packed the Rocky Mount United Methodist Church as he talked about Robert E. Lee. While a lot of folks followed him back to the library for his signing, not all stayed for the other presentations. I introduced Jim Minick (Finding a Clear Path), who provided a most enjoyable session as read some of his new poetry as well as his essays. After lunch, I heard Dean Browell (Extra Heroes: Patterns and Choices) discuss graphic novels and Mike Allen discuss speculative poetry and fiction. I learned a lot from those two.

Aside from Dr. Robertson’s speech, the Franklin County Bookfest was sparsely attended. Too bad—there was a lot of good stuff there.

To be continued.

1 Comments:

Anonymous colleen said...

I hope to do the cafe reading next year. I don't have the same energy level you do and couldn't handle both this year.

I was thrilled to be able to sell the posted review on Jim's book to our local paper. A small step in the right direction, or a big foot in the door!

I love your get-up!

9:08 PM  

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