Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating Autumn

A warm sunny Saturday afternoon saw folks sitting on the steps and picnic tables at John A. Logan College entrance. Fragrance floated from the Karmel Korn trailer, and relaxed shoppers coming and going to and from the filled parking lot were enjoying the beautiful autumn day. Bales of straw artistically topped with pumpkins, squash, and gourds set the theme for the annual fall festival of arts and crafts inside.

Writers had the opportunity to display and sell their books at the Southern Illinois Writers Guild tables in the cafeteria surrounded by booths of hand made jewelry, fluffy hand knitted hats, and almost every art form imaginable. Our newest SIWG anthology just off the press had arrived for us to sell our craft at the festival.

This eighth volume of The Writer’s Voice, produced by a commercial printer with an International Standard Book Number and to eventually be available for purchase on Amazon is a long way from the early ones we used to assemble with borrowed equipment at a local school. Editor Kathy Cotton reviewed the anthology’s history and wrote, “The product expanded from sixteen writers and fifty-something pages to thirty-eight contributors—including winners of our own national writing contest—and one hundred forty pages.” Cotton, a talented and dedicated volunteer, who is an artist and dancer in addition to being a poet, designed and formatted the book and completed it on schedule despite problems calling for a new hard drive, then a new motherboard, and finally a new laptop.

Along with the top winners in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, this year’s anthology was opened up to include offerings from the public for a special storm section about the May 8 derecho. Those eight extra contributors and photos of the storm will make this year’s book one to remember.

I enjoyed sitting beside Jim Lambert, our president, and showing people his poetry book Winds of Life, which I am very fond of. And it was fun to meet two of his grandkids who came by with his wife Sandy. Jim was busy showing off Fog Gilbert’s books on the other side of him as well as hawking our anthology. I even sold one of my books to a friend of one of my daughters.

Since there was plenty of help at our tables, I felt free to leave early—even though I had gone late. I came back to Woodsong to finish putting together a green bean casserole and some pickle dishes to go with the pecan pie I had made the day as our contribution to the annual Thanksgiving feast at our village church. Some special people had donated their time to make the hams and turkeys along with pans of delicious dressing. Shirley Butler had outdone herself with beautiful decorations making the church basement an autumnal wonderland. Others prepared our “home grown” program afterward, and we laughed and cried together.

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