I flew to Atlanta this weekend for the Decatur Book Festival, which is a pretty big deal. Here are some of the things I noticed along the way.
- Waking up at 2:30AM to work on a manuscript before serving a full work day before hurrying up and waiting at an airport is NOT the best idea.
- Freshening up in a public restroom is way more fun when somebody in the stalls is singing “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”. She was quite good!
- Need entertainment while waiting at the gate? Profile the other people sitting around. Of course, the odds of the person you peg as the biggest nut sitting next to you on the flight are apparently an absolute. At least the cackling teens reliving their high school adventures in stupidity wound up on the opposite end of the plane.
- Just because a plane pushes off from the gate does not mean you’ll be in the air anytime soon.
- The marathon challenge created by the layout of the ATL is everyman’s version of American Ninja Warrior. Newton’s 17th Law of Aeronautics states that the gate at which a flight deplanes shall be on an equal and opposite concourse to the gate/baggage claim/car rental port a passenger must walk, in inverse proportion to the heft of the carry-on she lugs.
- We arrived at the festival early enough for me to have the honor of christening a port-a-potty! They are pleasantly serviceable if you get to go first. You also know you’ve hit the bigtime when a festival has an entire street lined with them.
- Selling books at a book festival is not as easy as you would think. Saturday’s crowd was much more interested in children’s books than gothic horror. Sales are not the only thing going on at a book festival, though. I made some very positive strides in networking!
- You’d be surprised at how many people come to book festivals for the food and tell you straight up they don’t like reading.
- I can no longer eat concessionaries like a 12 year old whose daddy turned her loose on the midway with a $20 bill. A misery most decidedly gathered in my guts overnight.
- Most interesting sale of the day? After a dry spell, I picked up a book and said, “I need to sell some books!” A man was walking by at that very moment. “And YOU need to buy one!” You know what? He did!
- I got to hang out with an author who personally knows 80s pop sensations Wang Chung and A Flock of Seagulls. No lie!
- I looked up from my stand to see well-known Southern author Rick Bragg walking by and hollered out, “Hey, Rick!” just like we are best buddies. He came over, gave me a hug, and posed for a photo, acting like he totally remembered another writer named Rocky. We talked a little Bama football, a sure enough bond. It made my day!