Weekly Adventure: Texas Book Festival 2014

Sorry I haven’t been posting as much as I would like, but this grad school thing has sort of taken over my time (and more importantly my energy) lately. I would say it was midterms, but I pretty much have a paper, project, or presentation due each week until the end of the term so it doesn’t really matter at this point what week I’m on. But I gave myself a big chunk of time off this weekend to go and enjoy the Texas Book Festival, which is a two-day event where authors and book nerds take over the Capitol building, grounds, and the stretch on Congress (the main drag downtown for non-Austenites) for readings, conversations, and of course the timeless past time of spending too much on books that it will take me forever to get around to reading. I went to a ton of panels and saw great speakers, but I’m not going to bore you all with a play-by-play instead here’s my quick top 5 list of best moments from the weekend (in chronological rather than thrill level order):

1. My first event of the weekend was a panel on the scandals and drinking stories of Old Hollywood, featuring Edward Hemingway, Mark Bailey, and Anne Helen Petersen and included some great quotes and stories (I bought Petersen’s book and I cannot wait to start reading it), but this one, from Ava Gardner had to be my favorite:

“A party isn’t a party without a drunken bitch lying in a pool of tears.”

Having a Hell of a time with third husband Frank Sinatra

2. There were lots of really wonderful discussions of poetry, but I loved the format of the panel featuring Texas Poet Laureate Dean Young and his old friend (and Head of the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center) Rob Casper. Rather than have an esoteric discussion about the meaning of Poetry. Or a despairing talk about the state of the art in our society (both things I’ve sat through before) they each chose 3 poems each and just talked about them. It was a wonderful way to capture how personal and communal poetry manages to be at once. (And it gave me some poems to add to the list for next April.)

3. Speaking of poetry I followed up Young and Casper’s conversation with a joint reading from Tess Taylor and Jericho Brown, who have both written books about race and grappling with it in America past and present, and I clearly cannot be coherent about how inspiring their session was. I babbled at Ms. Taylor about my archival program and how much I connected with her idea of addressing the silences in archives (the space left by the voices of people who weren’t recorded, weren’t deemed worthy of documentation.) And she very kindly signed my book with this lovely inscription:


4. On Day 2 Amy, Miró’s mom and my now coworker at ACC, and I went to a really inspiring panel from the Library as Incubator Project, which was started by a couple of awesome young librarians to find a way to make libraries more useful and welcoming for artists and creators. As a person who is passionate about information access and art it was right up my alley. They have a great website (link above) that I’ve been dying to dive into since I heard them speak yesterday (but again – grad school…)

5. Then the last panel of the day featured Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane from Boyhood and was in the Texas House Chambers and though it was pretty hard to hear them it was still amazing. I know I haven’t blogged about the movie yet (I’m banking on nominations giving me an excuse in a few months) but it was really special to me, and to hear them talk about how personal the process was for them was really cool. Also I wanted to buy the book of photos and essays that they were technically promoting at the festival, but I did not have $50 to spend on one volume. (Hint for anyone that feels they may want to buy me a Christmas present this year.)

 Overall it was a wonderful time, even if it did put me behind on everything I should have been working on. (Mini rant you should feel free to skip: Aren’t we all over Q&A session at events like this by now? I get so nervous that someone’s going to be crazy – and someone always is – or make it all about them – which always happens…I understand that author’s want to engage with their readers but isn’t that what the signing tent is for, so the rest of the audience isn’t part of that engagement? Yes I know, I’ve written about this before, but the problem is only getting worse. Or maybe I’m very prematurely turning into Andy Rooney…)


6 thoughts on “Weekly Adventure: Texas Book Festival 2014

  1. Pingback: Sorry I’ve Been Missing Music | I Get a Bit Obsessive

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  3. Pingback: Poem of the Day: “Calligraphy of Geese” by Yosa Busan | I Get a Bit Obsessive

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