The ancient Greeks gave us democracy, drama, literature, and mythology. They embraced the concept of the goddess Gaia who gave birth to nature and in our modern-day culture is revered as mother nature. Last Sunday, September 11th, she spared the hamlet of Eden Mills the forecasted rain showers and allowed the authors and the attendees of the Eden Mills Writers Festival a wet-free afternoon to celebrate Literature in a unique environment.
My wife Angela and I attended four of the author readings and interviews. All of which occurred outdoors on grassy areas. At Pipers Bend we found a free spot on the hill and sat on cloth grocery bags. Next time we will remember pillows because foldout chairs aren’t much good on a hill.
Our first author chat was called “The Unconventional Detective.” While enjoying the readings, my eye drifted over to a woman in the crowd who looked familiar. I thought, this is probably just a mind trick, I assured myself. But the nagging only persisted until I decided to open up my e-mail and scrolled through the latest issue of the Crime Writers newsletter. I then passed the picture to Angela unfortunately disturbing the surrounding book lovers. She agreed. When the event was over my feet scrambled over to introduce myself to Hyacinthe Miller. She recently became the new chair of the board of directors of Crime Writers of Canada. I introduced myself and realized it wasn’t often that a chance meeting like this happens. Also present was Barbara Kyle, an author, and editor. I gave both of them my business card and continued to talk to Hyacinthe and we agreed to continue our dialogue later.
Angela and I scampered to another venue while I tried to curb my excitement. Rushing directly through the village we sat on another hill at the Cottage situated by the Eramosa river. Here we took in “Isn’t it Romantic” where three romantic fiction writers shared excerpts of their books. It was very interesting. Although I enjoy a good rom-com; this genre, romance, needs more polish on my part.
After a quick lunch, we attended “This Changes Everything” where the discussion was about paths shaped by unforeseen circumstances. The final reading was “Who Can You Trust.” The core premise here, from these three authors, was even the narrator might not be telling us the truth.
Finally, we went to Jenny’s Place to meet author Hugh Brewster and illustrator Laurie McGaw on their debut book for children called the Unsinkable Lucille. The talk was also assisted by sign language experts for the hearing impaired. I thought it was a nice touch and very classy of the people who organize this event.
Laurie McGaw for those who don’t know, designed the loonie for the Royal Mint and many others coins as well.
Laurie is a commissioned portrait artist with her studio in the heart of Guelph. Both Angela and I have had our portraits painted by Laurie and are very pleased with the way she captured us on canvas.
By the end of the day, both Angela and I were quite up-to-date on the latest works. Overall it was a great experience, and we both plan to attend next year. Perhaps I may be invited to read there one day and that would be very good indeed.
Tuesday morning Barbara Kyle sent me an email after she had turned over my business card and saw my wife Angela van Breemen’s portrait she realized that she had seen Angela sing opera arias at Laurie McGaw’s studio for a fundraiser. Angela and I share our business cards with her information on one side and mine on the other. Barbara reminded me about how small the world can be. I thought to myself isn’t that ironic as I had just got the same feeling meeting Hyacinthe Miller.