This year’s Writers Guild of Alberta Conference featured a panel with yours truly, Mary Kapusta (our Marketing Manager that I frequently refer to in my blog postings) and of course our new illustrious leader, Director Jo Steffens. Our host and moderator was the lovely Leslie Greentree, who is not only a part of the WGA, but a WordFest alumna. The panel was originally titled “Festivus for the Rest of Us”, and as a lover of rhyming, I of course was a fan of this idea. However, it was later decided that other than sounding cool to Seinfeld fans, this title didn’t have a lot to do with the actual topics covered in the panel, so the new title “Festivus Time” came into being. Let me assure you that the urge to have fun-sounding event names is quite strong, and it’s an urge I frequently fight against when brainstorming event names for WordFest.
It was a fun afternoon to say the least, and the crowd was great. Made up of many familiar faces, I found myself oddly comfortable in front of the microphone (not something you would expect from a book-lover who avoids social events) and people actually laughed at my jokes. Although it should be said that my jokes were, in actuality, genuine points, and that the audience wasn’t sure if I was being serious or not (for the record, I was). Below are a few examples of my ‘jokes’.
It’s true that I hide in the back of rooms during local readings, usually near the cheese tray. I hate wine, and that’s usually the only beverage available at these types of things (other than water), so I try to get my fair share of brie and sharp cheddar. I also get approached quite a bit by people that are pitching their books to me. Most of the time, this is a lovely experience, and one that I truly value as part of my job, but there are some people that can come on a little strong. So, the panel discussion was a good chance for me to offer submission suggestions (please don’t follow me into a bathroom) and more importantly, to describe the actual decision process when programming a literary festival.
It was also fun to answer writer-ly questions. Most seemed generally interested in what I had to say, and I loved being able to communicate how fun our Festival really is! At the end of our panel, I felt like our team had covered a number of topics, and hopefully enticed people to not only attend the Festival, but also to appreciate the work myself and my colleagues do each and every day!
Just a small warning, I’m much funnier when I’m in front of a microphone or writing at my desk, so don’t expect these level of “wit” if we bump into each other on the street or near a cheese tray.