Posted by: Minnette Meador
Currently Working On: Keenan's Dilemma
This last weekend, many of us attended the First Annual Northwest Book Festival, an event put on my Dr. Veronica Esagui and her crew to support local authors, including small press, large press, and self/independently published authors. They worked selflessly and I'm certain put more than a few bucks into the event. The day was beautiful, there were over 40 authors there, and advertisements had gone out to simply everyone! Yet, attendance that day was very poor, despite Veronica's best efforts to get people to the event. Some of us still did ok that day and we had a blast just visiting with the other authors, sharing stories, and just hanging out with each other. It was a great opportunity to meet and greet, if nothing else.
Around 3pm, a man came up to our table (I was thrilled to be sitting with the incomparable Lisa Hendrix and Delilah Marvelle) and said he had just come from an event in West Linn; a cancer run. They had ordered 2000 hamburgers, water, all the accouterments needed for the the run.
Six people showed up...six...
This got me to thinking; why don't we attend outside events anymore? I'm just as guilty as the next person; my life is too busy, I have too many other things going on, it's all I can do to keep up with the schedule I have, etc., etc., etc. When was the last time I mixed with humanity, face to face, soul to soul in something other than my own signings or commitments? It's a sad state of affairs when I have more virtual friends than I have real ones. Egad!
We may be spreading out internationally via the Internet, but we're shrinking away from our local worlds. I remember a day when a weekly concert in the park or an event at the downtown library was something people really looked forward to. Attendance at those events were staggering. I used to attend at least one event a week somewhere in Portland, sometimes even two or three. A reading, a play, an art opening, a concert in the park. But not anymore...
What about you? When was the last time you went to an event and met strangers? How often do you attend community activities? Do you feel like you have more virtual friends than real ones these day?
I for one am making an Independence Day resolution; I am going to try much harder to become more involved with my community by attending local events, rubbing elbows with complete strangers, and working more diligently to support the local arts by attending readings, art shows, community literary events, and causes I support. Don't know how well I'll do, but at least I'm going to try. If you'd like to join me, then let's break out the paper and see what's cooking...you never know; maybe if we go, so will others...and they'll invite their friends, and their friends will invite their friends...
So what's on your events calendar this week?