Above all else, gratitude

sg_wongCapital City Press, events

Originally posted on my FB page, about the May 20th 2017 Capital City Press Festival.
Yesterday’s Capital City Press Festival was, for me, full of all the feels. ?

I was so happy to see the tremendous efforts of EPL’s Katherine Gibson pay off with a great turnout of participating authors & editors, as well as attending readers & curious writers. Kate and her team of tireless EPL elves brought it all together within about 6 weeks. That’s an incredible amount of work in an extremely tight time frame and I think it demonstrates EPL’s commitment to our local writing community.

I got to meet a number of writers whom I’ve admired from afar: Tololwa Mollel, Joan Marie Galat, Jana Pruden, and Paula Simons. I reconnected with other writers whom I already call ‘friend’: Rhonda Parrish, Susan MacGregor, Natasha Deen, Minister Faust, Laurel Deedrick-Mayne, Jennifer Kennedy, Tim Reynolds, and Marty Chan. There were, of course, also a number of others I didn’t have the chance to meet properly nor to visit long with (Matthew Stepanic, Todd Babiak)–but something tells me I’ll get those chances in the future. Edmonton’s writing community is pretty tight-knit, despite its wide-ranging genres and media.

As you might already know, yesterday’s hootenanny also marked my final official event as the inaugural Capital City Press Featured Writer. I had the unalloyed pleasure of moderating a panel on Speculative Fiction with panelists Natasha, Rhonda, and Susan. They were a delight and the feedback was all positive. Minister Faust will be posting a recording of it for his excellent MF Galaxy podcast.

We were also the last panel of the day, after which we had a book signing slot. As I sat at one end of the book fair room, the vendors (mostly authors, but also the Book Publishers Association of Alberta, Glass Buffalo magazine, and a combined Audreys Books/Writers’ Guild of Alberta effort) had either already left or began to pack up. I watched the action, in between a couple interactions with readers, with a decided mixture of “job-well-done” and “ah-well-that’s-that-then.”

That bittersweet upwelling remains with me as I reflect on yesterday and on my term as a whole. I often described myself as a guinea pig for the Capital City Press initiative and I’d have to say, it’s still apt. Things were sometimes bumpy, naturally, but our respective commitment to the cause, so to speak, was always clear. Keeping that in mind helped soothe many a frayed nerve on my part, I’ll admit!

The next Featured Writer was announced on Friday night: Leif Gregersen, poet, author, and mental health advocate. I wish Leif a fun, fruitful term!

Public libraries are so much more than book depositories. As I’m certain they are for many others, they’ve been lifelines for me at many times in my life. I’ve been immensely honoured to partner with EPL to kick off Capital City Press. “Thank you” seems somehow inadequate, but it’s also exactly right.

Thank you, EPL, Bryce Crittenden, my marketing liaison, and especially Kate Gibson, my dear “handler.”