Monday, November 05, 2007

A Weekend of Books, Writers, Friends and Sore Feet

This past weekend was filled with so many books, writers, and friends that I smiled the whole time, despite my aching feet. If you live in Austin or have been reading my posts, then you know that this past Saturday and Sunday was the Texas Book Festival.

The Festival was great. The only bad thing, for me, was that I only got to see a fraction of it. But what I got to see was wonderful. As Chair of the events at the Austin Museum of Art, I was there (on my feet) from about 8:30 or 9 in the morning until around 6. I’m used to sitting on my bee-hind at the computer, not standing in boots on a hard floor.

But I was well compensated because I got to hear wonderful panels and see great slides. Almost all the books were coffee table books on subjects ranging from photographs of Stanley Marcus to political memorabilia to Texas football to dance halls to country houses built by John F. Staub. And I also had the best volunteers. Only one no-call, no-show. And I had one young man show up unexpectedly and he stayed all day, even helped put away table and chairs on Sunday.

The most well attended event was Sunday afternoon – Bill Wittliff, the guy who wrote the fabulous screenplay for Lonesome Dove. I won’t tell you how well-attended, because you might alert the fire marshal. We were definitely SRO. Bill was so funny and had great stories to tell from the shooting of the movie. I wanted to get his book and autograph, but the line was so long that by the time I could have gotten to him, the next panel was well under way (and we had thirty minutes between each panel).

A fun panel was Sunday morning on vaqueros, led by John Dyer. Also on the panel were Elmer Kelton and Marty Alegria. Marty is a real vaquero and he came fully dressed, not in a costume, but in his everyday gear for working on the King Ranch.

An author friend of mine stopped by – Diane Fanning. She had a panel on Saturday and another on Sunday up in the capitol area, and she drove in both days since she doesn’t live in Austin. On Sunday, she took the time to troop down Congress, carrying her bag of stuff for her panel, just to say hi to me. What a wonderful surprise that was. She has news about upcoming books and her most current one out, but I’ll let her tell it.

All the writers I “hosted” at AMOA were really nice, even the big names like Wittliff and Kelton. No snobs among them.

I’m taking today to recover, then I’ll be ready to go again next year.

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