Had a blast at the Lewisburg Literary Festival this weekend! Sold a goodly number of books and the “cemetery” performance of the play adaptation of my story “…to a Flame” had a fantastic turnout and, despite some initial sound problems, went nigh on perfectly. A big thanks to Devin Preston for co-starring with me. You were a great Virgil Hawks. And thanks to Dr. Larry Davis (the original Virgil Hawks in the Greenbrier Valley Theatre production from a few years back) for introducing us. As I told Larry, I’d planned for Devin and I to do a reading of “The Ones that Aren’t Crows” for the cemetery reading up until two weeks ago when I realized that the already in-existence “…to a Flame” stage play would be a more satisfying fit for a performance. If I’d thought of doing it sooner, I would have had Larry and another local actor, Curtis Pauley, step in and star. But I thought it was too much to ask on too soon a notice. Since Devin and I were already supposed to be involved, and since he can memorize lines like a super human, it seemed the way to go.
Apologies should be issued to the handful of folks who waited at the Old Stone Cemetery, the original location for the play, rather than the revised location of the green space in downtown Lewisburg. The story of why the location had to be changed the day before the event is long and wrought with controversy. It is also one I do not plan to tell here (though it miiiiiiiiiiight get told in a podcast in the very near future… just sayin’). Needless to say, we at the LLF dropped the ball in not sending someone to stand in the cemetery and redirect traffic. And Devin got chewed out for it good by the folks who stood there for half an hour waiting. Again, this is entirely our bad. In what little defense we have, though, my acting partner and I were simultaneously trying rehearse for the first time in over a week, test our wireless microphones, load sound equipment, and paranoidly checking weather apps on our phones to see if it was about to pour rain on said equipment. (Nary a drop.) It slipped our minds that some folks might not have gotten the memo about the venue change, and for that we are sorry.
Thanks also go to Eliot Parker, who held down the fort for Publisher’s Place’s table in our Literary Town Square and shared proximity to the Mr. Herman table. Thanks also to S.D. “Sam” Smith, author of the fabulous young person’s book The Green Ember and his publisher at the Story Warren, Andrew, who both kept us all entertained (and fed, cause Sam bought us lunch on Saturday).
Thanks to Cat Pleska, Fran Simone and Ed Davis for leading great workshops and traveling a distance to be a part of the event. I got to interview Ed for the West Virginia Writers podcast, but I’ll repost that here as well when it’s edited and ready to go.
Thanks to all the folks behind the scenes at the LLF (Greg Johnson, Josh Baldwin, Cindy Lavender-Bowe, Mary Cole Deitz, Erin Hurst, Laura Lee Haddad, Sarah Elkins, and so many more) for all the time and effort they volunteer throughout the year and throughout the event to keep things running smoothly. Very few fires had to be put out. Thanks also to Aaron and Monica Maxwell, co-founders of the event, who stepped down from the LLF board this year, but who still did quite a bit to make it happen and are missed dearly. (We never knew exactly how much work you guys did for the LLF until we had to do it in your absence. It took six of us to pull it off and we still got things wrong. Hats off to your three years of making it happen and for what you did to assist this year. Come baaaaaack!)
And thanks to my lovely wife for womaning my table while I had to go do introductions for speakers, rehearse plays in alleys, and haul sound equipment. She sold more books in two hours than I did before she got there.