The Belated Word (on the Street)

So, apparently the “Word on the Street” is tardy. Or, general exhaustion coupled with a mild malaise.

You know. Whatever’s easier to wrap your tongue around …

For those who are not aware of it, the annual Word on the Street festival was held September 25th, 2011 (i.e. last Sunday). I was at the Toronto festival. It was awesome. I keep meaning to talk about it, but somehow other things just kept interposing.

Incidentally, this is why I refrained from starting a blog for umpteen years. Because lethargy is a potent force not readily ignored, and the world has this annoying habit of intruding on necessary solitude.

But in any case …


Toronto “Word on the Street” Festival

For all those not familiar with Word on the Street, the full day festival is a literary gathering of publishers, purveyors, purchasers, authors and others. It’s the literary equivalent of smorgasbord. You can spend the entire day wandering around simply looking at booths and talking with the people who work them, or you can attend specialized events covered under various types of themed programming.

Myself, I went more to talk to vendors and to help staff the Friends of the Merril Collection booth for the latter part of the day than for the events. Though I did wander in and out of a few lectures/discussions/readings while making my circuit of the vendors’ booths. Ran into an awful lot of people over the course of the day. Some friends, some acquaintances, and others I hadn’t actually had the chance to meet until Sunday.

Didn’t have to go any farther than the Friends of the Merril Collection booth to talk with Lorna Toolis and Chris Szego who were both staffing the Friends table throughout the day. Ran into Sandra Kasturi over at the ChiZine booth, and had the chance to say hi to Brett Alexander Savory (also of ChiZine) and Halli Villegas at the Tightrope Books booth (which was actually a half booth shared with ChiZine) before running into and talking briefly with Leah Bobet at the Spacing magazine booth. Listened to Kelley Armstrong emcee a reading set given by young authors at the Word on the Street “This is Not the Shakespeare Stage” … um, stage. Saw Robert J. Sawyer staffing a table in one of the Organization section booths somewhere near the Editors’ and Writers’ Association booths, and I understand Sawyer and Lesley Livingston were giving a joint talk near the end of the programming day, though I was working the FoM booth by the time that event was scheduled so I can only hope it went well (incidentally, if you’ve never seen Lesley read/talk/perform you are depriving yourself of something truly exceptional). Finally met Nancy Kilpatrick, who was staffing her own table and keeping (geographic) company with the Horror Writer’s Association people. I honestly don’t remember who was there from the HWA, which bothers me immensely, since both authors are people whose names I know I know. And they were quite nice when I was standing chatting with them.

Actually, that’s one of the lovely things about Word on the Street. There are so many people to talk to and things to do and see that it can all blur together leaving one with the distinct impression of warm and amiable conversation and foxhole camaraderie even when you can’t exactly remember who it was you were standing talking with …

And even after I came back to the Friends booth to actually, you know, do some work during the festival, I still kept running into people I know. I was pleasantly surprised to see Michelle Sagara when she wandered by the Friends table. I didn’t recall seeing her name on the Word on the Street Authors list so I hadn’t known she was going to be there. Turns out that Michelle had just finished doing a book signing over at the Harlequin booth before wandering over to the Friends table. It also turns out that she had posted this information up on her blog several days before Word on the Street.

I suppose I probably should start actually following the blogs I read instead of wandering by whenever I remember to do so. Then I might actually not miss announcements like this. But it just feels so … voyeuristic …

Anyway, if you’re not already attending one of the Word on the Street festivals (it runs in six cities currently: Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Lethbridge) occuring annually you owe it to yourself to look into the festivals. And hey, if you’re coming out to the Toronto Word on the Street next year then drop by the Friends of the Merril table. We’d love to see you.


A Point of Interest

I mentioned at the end of last month that I had sent off 26 or so submissions for the month of August. At the time I thought that number was going to hold as a high water mark. I also thought it might serve as a reminder that I probably spend too much time in front of a computer, but that was unrealistic, wasn’t it?

Point, you ask?

Though there is one more day for all manner of submission related goodness to occur, my official tally for September (as of now) is 28 submissions over the course of the month. That does, admittedly, include one instance of Simultaneous Submissions (to markets who are both open to simsubs as I intend to actually continue selling work without alienating publishers thank you very much). Still, all tolled that’s a fairly ridiculous tally. But now, of course, you just know that I’m gong to unintentionally end up doing something like 30 submissions in October.



Anyone who wants to share Word on the Street stories, or submissions joys/woes is more than welcome to do so in the Comments field.

By all means, enjoy yourselves.

Night all.

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