The Salem Lit Festival was this past weekend and yours truly got to go. It was a fabulous event that managed to be both high-powered and intimate. The panels were smart and informative and well run, and down the street there was a brand new candy shop. I listened to Julia Glass and Brunonia Barry and my new favorite author Katherine Howe talk about writing strong female characters, and then I meandered a few buildings down and bought a mango chili fruit slice. (I should have bought more.)
On my way back, I saw Joshilyn Jackson, who was blinking in the late afternoon sun like a baby owl, so of course I immediately accosted her, because of the enormous fangirl crush I have on her. She looked a little panicked for a second, then graciously invited me to have coffee with her. Since my hands were already shaking just a teensy bit, I decided to forgo the caffeine and in true New Englander style have a raspberry lime rickey. Brunonia Barry joined us with her husband and friend, and they sat around discussing dialects and the fact that I apparently swallow my consonants when I speak. If you are a writer or a reader in any way shape or form, you totally get based on those last two sentences that for a moment I was completely convinced I was dreaming.
Joshilyn spoke at the author’s dinner that night, and the entire crowd was completely mesmerized. (Joshilyn does not swallow her consonants. She lives in Georgia, and they go on for a country mile.) The table I was at was madly in love with her, when they weren’t crushing on Erin Morgenstern, who I have been crushing on for years because of her Flax Golden tales, which I have repeatedly advised you to read. If you’ve ignored my advice, you are still in luck, because she’s written a little book called The Night Circus which debuted at something like number two on the NYT best-seller list. (That would be writerly irony right there.) Hop it and get a copy.
So there I was, surrounded by all these best-selling authors, and it occurred to me — damn, they’re all tall. Erin is a petite little thing, and even in heels I barely made it to her ears. So, I checked under the table, and sure enough, she was wearing a pair of ginormous boots. Joshilyn Jackson at the podium? The same. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did not check Brunonia Barry’s feet.)
It may have been that I was under Salem’s spell, but truly, I’ve decided I need a pair of these. For the sake of my writing. Really.