I haven’t written a word in 10 months, but it hasn’t been writer’s block. Rather, I have poured myself into Carolinas WordFest. A baby takes less time to gestate. The celebration of North and South Carolina writers has grown from the germ of an idea to a festival with more than a dozen writers, and I can’t wait for its arrival on October 15th.
Like a young Mickey Rooney urging the neighborhood kids to “put on a show,” this time last year I rallied the usual suspects — the Charlotte Writers’ Club, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, several area universities, a performing arts group and a couple of publishers. Surely, if Mickey could pull off a song and dance extravaganza, a group of writers could just as easily put on a festival.
We all were full of great ideas. Creative ideas. Huge ideas. But whereas Mickey’s neighborhood was populated by actors in a movie fantasy, we were dealing with reality. We were a group of very good writers who were clueless event planners. None of us knew the first thing about the permits required or insurance needed. Or the cost. So, I stopped writing and threw myself into WordFest.
It’s been what they call a learning experience full of teachable moments. Even with most the venues provided by community partners, we would need to pay for a festival permit, insurance, police, medic, theater rental, sound system, decking for a stage, banners and signage, website domain name, materials for children’s activities, printing, food and lodging for participating writers (who we could not pay), and a host of miscellaneous expenses. We had to write grants, talk with vendors, work with the city and contact writers. And follow up. And follow up. And follow up. I’d wake in the middle of the night, mentally running through and adding to my to-list.
Carolinas WordFest is finally coming together. Sure, there are still a few holes to fill, schedules to tweak and details to work out. In other words, the festival needs a little editing. But the bones are strong and are fleshing out well. We have a terrific line-up of writers. Check them out at Carolinas WordFest.com. Poets and playwrights, fiction and nonfiction writers, comics and lyricists, storytellers and YA authors. Writing is a big, welcoming tent, and on October 15th in Charlotte, we’ll put on quite a show!