Sunday, October 14, 2012

the southern festival of books. and honkey tonk zombies.

Listening To: Darlene by The Lumineers
Line Obsession: "I had big thoughts to match the big wind." - Sharon Creech, The Great Unexpected

Happy Sunday Beauties & Beastlies!

Today I want to write just a smidge about The Southern Festival of Books. This is the first year I've had an opportunity to go and oh. My. Word. It was incredible!

So many awesome authors were there, no genre lines dividing! Gillian Flynn and Sharon Creech doing readings within walking distance of one another ... that sounds to good to be true. But it was true. Crazy! :)  

I attended some amazing author sessions and then meandered around and tried not to go bankrupt buying books. Of course, by "meander," what I mean is that I bounced around Nashville like Tigger because I was so happy just to be there. I can't believe The Southern Festival of Books is free. You'll love it whether you're a reader or a writer. But if you happen to be both, then this is an event you cannot miss. There were so many fantastic authors. The only hard part is deciding which sessions to attend. I could have gone to every single one and still wanted more. I was giddy over it. Instead of doing a novel-length post about each individual session that I attended, I've decided to do a few mini-ish posts all through the week. I made lots of important observations. Including: I saw one of my literary-crushes Ron Rash eating an apple. It's so cool to know that awesome writers do normal things like eat apples, isn't it?

*crazy eyes*

I'll get to all that. But I've got to tell you this part now: I got to hear SHARON CREECH talk about her new novel The Great Unexpected. 

Sharon Creech!!!!

Because we're all nerds up in here, I don't need to tell you that Sharon Creech is one of the great luminaries of children's literature. You've already walked two moons. You loved that dog. Her books are beautifully written, timeless and magical. She's a big deal but she didn't act like a big deal. She was so humble, kind, funny and sincere. Her session took place at the Nashville Public Library. Before the event started, all us muggles were waiting outside the auditorium doors, bouncing like a bunch of Tiggers as we waited to go in. It took all of two seconds for me to realize Sharon Creech was among us - just sitting against the wall talking to some girls holding copies of her books. How wonderful is that? One of my favorite authors when I was in Middle School was Ann M. Martin. I tried to imagine how I would feel if Ann M. Martin plopped down beside me and started talking books. Then or now. That's the kind of thing that could be very life-changing for a kid. Or grown-up.

One of the prettiest book covers I've ever seen. So magical.
I'm going to do a separate post about Sharon Creech's session. At this point, I'm so inspired and happy about it that everything I write would just be like, "!!!!!!" So stay tuned :)

I also had an opportunity to hear Sharon Cameron, whose dark and oh-my-gosh-so-gorgeous debut novel The Dark Unwinding came out in September.

Sharon Cameron is on the right.
She was so animated and delightful. Her session was fantastic. I wrote down a bunch of wonderful things she said so that I could share with you later. The "sparks" that inspired her novel totally made my heart flutter. By the time she was finished talking, I wanted to hug her b/c she seemed so nice.

Of course, I didn't do that. Because some people are probably weirded out when you run at them and tackle-hug them or whatever. So I just smiled a lot and kept bouncing around like Tigger. 

I'll write more about The Southern Festival of Books this week. Thanks for indulging me! :)

But first. *girly moment*

This is the shirt I wore to The Southern Festival of Books.

I couldn't wait to show it to you, because: 

... are you familiar with Lisa Frank? Lisa Frank folders were hot commodities when I was in middle school. I like this shirt because it reminds me of a Lisa Frank folder; purple with lots of neon feathers. Sassy plumage. Also, the shirt is kind of billowy and purple. (I wore it with skinny black jeans and suede boots ... my middle school self would have loved everything about that ensemble.) I would describe my outfit like Lisa Frank meets The Pioneer Woman meets Mrs. Roper (of Three's A Company fame). This print is a little bit wackadoodle but I adore it. And I felt like you should know about it. Also, I'm possibly trying to justify buying a shirt with neon feathers.

One more thing.

Lots of people in Nashville were dressed as zombies. I hope. I hope they were just dressed up. Some of the costumes were crazy-scary and gross and realistic. (Well ... I'm assuming they're realistic. I've never actually seen a zombie.) And people weren't just costuming, they were totally in character, dragging their legs as they hobbled through intersections.

This was a Zombie Clown and a Zombie ... Hagrid? I don't know who the long-haired Zombie man was. I'm not up on undead culture. It was interesting.

I smiled at one guy and he pulled at the neck of his ketchup-splattered white t-shirt, exposing what looked like a faux-hatchet sticking out of his well-muscled chest. (Even as I type this, I feel like my brother is going to make some kind of joke about this, about how that moment is possibly very metaphorical for my relationships...)

It was creepy.

And possibly inspirational.

As I was waiting at an intersection in downtown Nashville, while hundreds of zombies crossed the street to get to their flashmob or gorge on the living or whatever they do, these words flickered across my imagination:

Honkey Tonk Zombie.


That is a country song that needs to be written, yes?! I'll get to work on it soon.

Inspiration abounds, my friends. Some days, you have to hunt for it. Some days, you need to sit back and listen to your favorite author talk about the wonders of storytelling.

Some days, you need to flirt with the zombie at the intersection. Carpe Diem!

Did you guys have a good weekend? Have you ever been to The Southern Festival of Books? (and if so, why didn't you tell me to go?!) Is there an author you'd love to meet or hear speak? I'll catch you down in the comments. Have a swanky week :) 


  1. Oh my gosh, I will have to go sometime, that sounds awesome. Ad yes, Lisa Frank was huge when I was little, I loved her. Still kind of do. I want a Lisa inspired blouse...

  2. A book festival?? That sounds amazing. I wish it were closer by! I loved Walk Two Moons and Ruby Holler. And I used to love Lisa Frank stuff. :) White tigers and rainbows- it doesn't get any better than that.

    I would love to hear Shannon Hale, Gail Carson Levine, or J.K. Rowling speak. I think I'd like to meet them, too, but I'd probably be a nervous wreck. :)

    Can't wait to hear more about the festival!


  3. I was out of town this weekend and was bummed to miss out on the festival and now even more so knowing you were here in my town! Gah! Glad you had a good time, zombies and all. What can I say? That's Nashville for you.