Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Book Festival

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Well, it’s Sunday night, and I’m trying to wind down from a way too busy week. But it promises to be that way all this month. I knew October was going to be extra busy. We’re having revival at church through Wednesday and then my booksigning at Joseph-Beth’s Booksellers in Lexington with Virginia Smith is this Thursday night. I hope I see some of you there.

That’s just what’s going on this week. I won’t even think about the rest of the month. Anyway, that’s why I was so happy to get my new book, The Believer, finished and off a month before deadline. But alas, while my editor did like the story and gave it thumbs up, she also wants a few changes. (Heavy sigh!) Actually her suggested changes aren’t all that bad. The really bad part is that I had a couple of questions about the same things she’s questioning now and I let it slide right on past me. That’s not working the way I want to work. I was just so happy to be finished that I didn’t want to see those little minor problems that I could have fixed to make the story better before I sent it in to the editor. Of course, who knows? Maybe then she would have found something else to need fixing. I’ve heard of some people – not necessarily writers, but anyone who has to write a proposal or draft for someone else’s approval – leaving something they know is wrong in the proposal, etc. just so the boss or whoever has to approve it has something to fix. That’s not me. I want my stuff fixed as good as I can fix it before anybody else reads it.

Unfortunately nobody is perfect. Certainly not me and that’s why there are editors. To help us make our work better. Still I want to be perfect. In my writing at any rate. I know I have no chance of being perfect in my everyday life. I’m always flubbing up something or saying the wrong thing or not getting something that needed to be done finished on time. Praise the Lord for forgiveness. And second and sometimes third chances.

Guess that’s what I have with my new book. A second chance to make it more near to perfect. I really don’t mind editing – when it’s my idea. It’s harder when it’s the editor’s idea, because then I have to shift my thinking over to his or her perspective. Sometimes that’s brain strain.

But back to my topic. Wild and wonderful West Virginia. That’s the motto on their license plates up there in WV. There is a lot of beautiful country in WV. Mountainous areas, rivers that lend themselves to whitewater rafting, secluded valleys, and lonesome stretches where if you’re traveling through on the interstate, you’re glad you filled up with gas before you started down the road. And there are some cities. It was the city part I was in Saturday at the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, WV. My son’s an attorney in Charleston and so I contacted the WV Book Festival committee to beg for a place on the program. Well, I didn’t really beg. I asked politely, and they were kind enough to invite me.

My talk was “Writing about Shakers…and Other Odd Characters,” and wonder of wonders, some people showed up to listen. I was worried about that. I mean I got up at 4:15 in the morning to drive three hours up there and I was really worried I’d get up there and nobody would come listen. I couldn’t see why they would. I mean I’m not exactly famous or any thing. Then my program was at 10 a.m. That’s sort of early on Saturday morning. And the sun was shining on a beautiful fall day plus WVU was playing football at noon. On t.v. I was lucky my son showed up to introduce me, seeing as how my granddaughter was playing volleyball at noon as well. But he did show up and did a great job introducing me to the nice group of people who decided to gift me with an hour and half of their time. Most of them seemed to enjoy the talk.

There was one daddy and his eleven-year-old son. The son was the writer. I admired the father supporting him enough to bring him to book events to try to help him learn the ropes. I’m not sure what I said about character development was helpful to him as I had planned my talk with adults in mind. But he made me think of myself at that age. Except I was a closet writer. I would have never had the courage to go out in public and admit to the world that I was a writer. I was, but I wouldn’t have been able to say so at age eleven. Not to everybody. So he’s ahead of me that way. Plus he said he had a lot of writing opportunities at his school. Not so for me. I used to wish the English teacher would assign themes for homework. I guess I had to come up with my own practice assignments. And as I’m always telling wanna be writers, the best way to learn to write is to read. That’s doubly true for young people. It’s something I certainly did as a kid. I always had a book in my hand.

But I had a good time in West Virginia and I thank everybody who came. Your kind comments made my day. And then I got to go to my son’s house and see the grandbabies – all five of them. The twins are doing great, growing and growing. The two-year-old is having a little trouble adjusting to not being the baby. That’s because she’s still a baby too. But her mommy and daddy will help her through this adjustment time. That’s the thing about a good mama’s and daddy’s love. It doesn’t thin out to cover more children. It just gets thicker all the time until it wraps a warm blanket of love around each and every child.

Hope you have a blanket of love around your shoulders this week. And if you’re having great weather the way we are that you’ll breath in the great autumn air and enjoy.