This weekend was truly a slice of heaven for me. It is every year. Although last year I didn't enjoy it to its fullest with our move happening. It is a time when you can literally eat, breathe and sleep books! I'm speaking fondly of the Fox Cities Book Festival. If you love to read, and I'm assuming you do, because that is what you are doing right now, this is the place for you.
These authors from all over Wisconsin and some from out of state come to tell attendees about their lives, their ideas and their motivation for writing books. These are no ordinary authors. They are gifted authors, relating common human experiences to us. Transporting us to places familiar and places we want to be. Some of these authors are poets. One is a musician and artfully mixed his storytelling with musical numbers from his band. At times we learn parts of history that were perhaps only granted a paragraph or two in a school text book.
The venues for these talks by authors are usually libraries. My second home. Everything is familiar there. I am immediately comfortable. It is homey feeling for another reason. I see people I have met from previous book festivals. I am with my family and my friends. I see former teachers and people I have worked with. Many of these people feel like family to me. We caught up on each others' lives. We laughed, we may have cried and were certainly entertained by the stories behind the stories of these authors.
A couple of the authors have become personal friends over the years. To know people of such greatness and yet know that they are also absolutely normal folk is an honor. To meet a new author and realize his journey in writing was amazing. His personal struggle with mental illness is something he shares to help others and to help erase some of the stigma in society concerning the unknown.
So it was an exhausting weekend. There have been estimates of four thousand or more attending these events. To know that so many are still losing themselves in fact and fiction. That so many transport to times present and past. This is really amazing to me in these technological times. So yes, this was my little slice of heaven. Or maybe I should more appropriately say, my little chapter of heaven.