I spent most of today out, helping the Halton County Radial Railway handle a decent sized weekend crowd. Then Erin picked me up and we went to an informal party in Eden Mills, held for guests of the Eden Mills Writers Festival. I’m just back, and I’m beat.
The location of the party was a lovely house tucked away in the southwestern corner of Eden Mills; a part where I didn’t know existed. It was literally nestled in the woods. I knew nobody there, and yet I was expected to schmooze. Erin’s not too comfortable in the schmooze department either, but schmooze we did. We ran into a number of authors and poets who will be reading at the festival. We ran into a surprising number who were about our age, had day jobs, and who were just as nervous and unsure of themselves as we were. So we got on well with most everybody.
Erin commented that we all should be wearing name-tags, colour coded to tell who was reading, who was organizing, and who was famous enough that you should bow down before them, but I think I picked out a number of “famous” authors in the crowd. They had an air about them. They weren’t standing by themselves, nursing their first and only glass of wine; they were through their third glass, were red-cheeked, had eccentric haircuts, and had no problem talking to just about anybody.
Perhaps they were just eccentric.
We met the author of Euonia, Christian Bok. He was a writing professional; very engaging. His book is an exercise in language restriction. There are six chapters, and the first chapter features only words containing the letter “A”, the second chapter features words containing the letter “E” and so on through the rest of the vowels. The last chapter is called “And sometimes” and features only words containing the letters “W” and “Y”. It’s frankly amazing that anybody would do this, and it’s even more amazing that it’s at all readable.
While schmoozing, I started to notice the patterns people made when talking to each other. You could tell when a group of people were actually grouped together because they made shapes. Three people form a triangle. If a fourth person joins and is accepted into the group, the triangle becomes a square. Five turns the square into a pentagon. There’s no magic, here. I’m assuming the physics at work is nothing more than the equalizing of personal space. A stranger is planting herself equally apart and equally close to the strangers on either side of her.
Erin and I stayed until well after sunset. On our way out, we were surprised to look up in the dark sky of Eden Mills and discover the aurora. At least, we think they were the aurora. It was green, it covered the sky, wraith-like, and it floated and shimmered slowly. The last time Erin saw the aurora was during her visit to the Sage Hill writing workshop in Saskatchewan, where Ghost Maps turned the corner. I’ll take this as yet another good omen.