Tuesday, October 23, 2012

writers festival: friday

Friday morning I put on my gray sweater, coat, black jeans and necklace, the silver one that looks like a tear drop but is actually a lopsided symbol of infinity.  I said goodbye to the babysitter and the children and embarked on my adventure of traveling to The Vancouver Writers Fest.

Believe me when I say it was a huge adventure because I’m a full-time, stay-at-home mother of two young children.  In other words, a slave of sorts, who cannot go about any daily task without a whiny interruption or seven.

Me?!  The nincompoop housewife, out to the Big City all by myself?!  Unheard of.

I was a wee bit nervous.

I drove our Explorer, a vehicle that’s a little too big for me and a little too small for Kevin, then boarded a train to the sky.

Across from me sat two couples who looked to be in their forties.  It was their first time going to the sky.  I knew that because they were having problems with the ticket machine in the parking lot when I first arrived.  Funny that we all ended up in the same train car.

I smiled at them.

But enough of the SkyTrain that doesn’t actually go to the sky.  After asking a few different people the best way to get to Granville Island, I got off at Waterfront Station and noticed a woman on the sidewalk who looked like she might be waiting for a bus.  Her hair wasn’t the white kind of gray, but the dark kind.

“Excuse me,” I said.  “Do you know where the nearest bus stop is?”

“It’s right here,” she said.

I looked up and pointed.  “Oh, the sign’s right there!  Is this Bus 50, the one that goes to Granville Island?”

“Yeah,” she said.  “You going to the Writers Festival?”

Later I found out her name was Gail, that she had a terrible sense of direction and wasn’t afraid to admit it.   Nonetheless, together we found our respective venues and bid one another goodbye and good luck.

I entered the Improv Centre, got my ticket and all that, then sat down in seat #11 only to realize that in trying to find the place I had become more anxious than I wanted to admit.  No, I thought, this isn’t about being stressed.  It’s about enjoying myself.  So I spent the next fifteen minutes focusing on breathing and staying in the moment.

There were five empty bar stools with microphones on the stage and behind that a backdrop of a castle wall with a distorted window.  I’ve been trying to figure out… of all backdrops, why that one?

Anyway, a moderator and four authors walked on stage.  The authors were Jessica Westhead, Rebecca Rosenblum, A.L. Kennedy, and Anne Fleming.  A.L. Kennedy was hilarious, and I really liked the piece she read, but sadly I can’t remember a single one of her jokes.  Afterward, I bought her novel The Blue Book which is about “a nomadic psychic who makes a fortune by fraud but gives generously to charity.”  And she signed it for me.

At about 3:00pm I found a small cafĂ© and ate a lunchy dinner, one piece of cod and fries with a lump of coleslaw.  All the while I felt rather awkward sitting by myself.  The waitress delighted in her work with a soft smile and bouncy step.  That inspired me.

I was tired, but wanted to look around a little so I took some photos of the area and made my way back to the bus stop.  The bus was so full I thought the overflow of bodies might start squishing out the windows, but I was fascinated.  Do some people really travel like this on a daily basis?

I boarded the SkyTrain and faded in and out of sleep until reaching the final station where my golden Explorer chariot awaited.

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