Thin Air wraps up

I am certain the organizers for Thin Air (the Manitoba International Writers Festival), are relieved that today is the last day and they can return to their ‘normal’ family life. They worked long hours before the festival, planning events, plugging authors into presentation slots, lining up drivers to get the out-of-town writers to and from the airport as well as their events, making sure that there are enough volunteers to direct teachers & students to their seats for the School Stage performances at MTYP (Manitoba Theatre for Young People), coordinating the used book sale to raise money for all the activities and all the little behind-the-scenes stuff. Then, during the festival, they worked even longer hours making sure there was enough coverage for each event, that drivers got the writers to the right places, etc. They did a tremendous job and deserve a big applause for making Thin Air the success that it was this year. Whoot! Whoot! Whistle! Whistle! Clap! Clap!

The Lime Green Secret

Being a volunteer, as I mentioned earlier this week, was a thrill for me because I got to meet so many authors and hear their stories – not only the ones they created but also their personal stories about how they became writers, their process, etc. I think that’s why I’ve been doing interviews these past few months, because I find it fascinating to learn how other authors approach their work. It was also fun to meet Georgia Graham, an illustrator. She has also written several books, not just illustrated them, including A Team Like No OtherWhere the Wild Horses Run and The Lime Green Secret. I’ve loved to draw since I was a kid, mostly cartoons and doodles, so I was in awe of Georgia’s talent. (I hope I didn’t blubber too much like an idiot when I was around her!)

Binky the Space Cat (A Binky Adventure)Binky to the Rescue (A Binky Adventure)Binky Under Pressure (A Binky Adventure)

There was a bit of a scheduling snaffoo Wednesday morning, when I was supposed to drive Ashley Spires, (author/illustrator of Binky the Cat graphic novel series). So was the fellow who had picked her up at the airport the previous evening. He got to her first. I didn’t mind too much because it gave me a chance to pop over to MTYP to see Shane Peacock, author of The Boy Sherlock Holmes books.

Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 1st Case

He was very entertaining and the groups of students who came to hear him read from his books and answer questions were quite enraptured. And is it any wonder? He writes about The Boy Sherlock Holmes! Who wouldn’t love reading adventures like that. Better than the Hardy Boys, I’ll wager! He has 5 Holmes books out with the 6th, Becoming Holmes, concluding the series. In October, he and fellow writers are going to be launching a unique set of books, called Seven, The Series. His contribution is called Last Letter. Basically, the story is about the 7 grandsons of an adventurous grandfather who has a terminal illness. Of all the things on the grandfather’s ‘bucket list’, there are only 7 things he hasn’t done, yet, so he gives each grandson a letter detailing the adventure he would like them to have. Here’s the trailer. It looks pretty exciting! 🙂

Product Details

Thursday, I didn’t have to drive, but I helped out at MTYP during the School Stage performances of Susin Nielson. She is a very fascinating lady who started her writing career writing scripts for the Degrassi Junior High TV series. She even got to play a character in the series, although it was short-lived. I think that would have been such a fun project to write for and perform in! In addition to her 4 Degrassi novelizations, she has since written three unrelated YA novels, Word Nerd, Dear George Clooney Please Marry My Mom, and her most recent launch – The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Lawson. Word Nerd was even translated into Portuguese and French and sold overseas! To me, that is the sign of a successful writer! 🙂

Friday, I had a day to myself to try and catch up on the 250 blog posts in my email box, a job I failed to complete, and I decided to write the crafty post I missed on Wednesday.

This morning I drove a French author, Nadine Mackenzie, to the airport. We had a lovely chat along the way and I’m now sorry I can’t read French very well, or I would check out her books. Maybe, one day, I will be able to do just that. I managed to get a couple of hours at home to do things like wash the dishes and make lunch for my family, before heading off to the Park Theater for the Volunteer Thank-you party. We had lots of food, great conversations and many prizes were won. I figure I used up my luck winning three things at the scrapbook event last weekend, so I wasn’t too disappointed when I didn’t win anything today. 🙂

Hope you all enjoy your weekend. May your weather be as spectacular as it is here! (Sunny and 29 degrees Celsius/90 degrees Fahrenheit!) 🙂

Volunteer+Thin Air=FUN!

I apologize for not getting to my Crafty Wednesday post this week. I have not had the time to take pictures of the things I made during my Scrapbook Weekend and process them in time. I have been driving other authors around town, as well as out-of-town, for our Winnipeg International Writers Festival known as Thin Air. I have attended readings and will be helping out with the School Stage performances. It has been a blast! Let me give you the run-down of the week, so far:

Friday and Saturday was spent in a community centre in Friedensfeld, Manitoba with over 15o other scrapbook fanatics, including 3 of my sisters-in-law. We left the hall around midnight Friday and drove to my brother’s house where I spent the night, since he lives closer to the hall than I do. We got back to Friedensfeld about 8:45 Saturday morning, crafting until 10 pm. The organizer had a wonderful group of volunteers to make food for us and help her with ‘the store’. (The organizer owns the Scrapbook Cottage and brought some of her basic supplies for us in case we ran out of glue runners, paper, etc.) She also had several ‘Specials’ over the course of the 2 days where we could get embellishments, paper packs, and stickers for drastically discounted prices. She held contests called Sketch Challenges, where she would have a ‘sketch’ – a type of blueprint for a scrapbook layout or card and it was up to us to decide what color and pattern of papers to use, as well as what stamp elements and embellishments to use. The Challenges were timed and if we got it finished within the time frame and followed the basic design, we’d get a ticket to go in a draw for a variety of things. I won a stamp that says ‘delight’, a sheet of 3-D stickers and a bright pink purse by Bo Bunny, a brand of scrapbook paper and embellishments. It’s big enough to hold crafting things when I go elsewhere to scrapbook.

Sunday, I went to pick up my Volunteer Packet in the afternoon, then went to hear authors and poets read their work at the outdoor amphitheater called Oodena in the evening. Despite the lateness of the season, it was not too cool, although I’m glad I brought a blanket simply to cushion my butt while I sat on the concrete seat. The writers were amazing, including Chadwick Ginther (see my last interview) all sharing their impressions of the place we call home. Oodena itself sits at The Forks in the heart of the city with its life-blood (the Red and Assiniboine Rivers) that flow a few meters away.

Nana's Getting Married

Monday, I drove two lovely ladies (Heather Hart-Sussman and Georgia Graham) out to Carman, Manitoba, about 100 km (about 64 miles) southwest of the city. The writer and her illustrator, had not met before this event, so it was very special to see how well they got along. Georgia’s illustrations blew me away with their whimsical quality and immaculate detail. Heather’s stories were all topical, dealing with subjects that she had to deal with at one time or another and wanted to share with youngsters. They gave a spectacular presentation to a group of grade three students and gave away several sketches and books. The kids were quite enthralled and I really enjoyed their company on the way there and back.

The Lesser Blessed: A Novel

On Tuesday, I drove Richard Van Camp to various schools to speak about his books and generally entertain the students with his tales of the north. Richard is originally from Dogrib, Northwest Territories and is an exceptional storyteller. His first book, The Lesser Blessed, has now been made into a movie with its release date coming up any day, now. It looks like a powerful movie. I can’t wait to see it. Here’s the trailer:

Today, I will be driving Ashley Spires, author of Binky the Cat. Tomorrow, I will be helping at the MTYP (Manitoba Theatre for Young People) at the School Stage, an event where schools can bring their students to listen to authors read from their work and interact with them. I’ll let you know how that went later this week.

Hope you liked the trailer. 🙂