Always a visitor I am and never a participant of any Book Fair until this past Saturday. Invited to participate in the 2nd Annual 2016 On Point Book Fair by Karen Gillman of On Point Executive Center and hosted by WestShore Plaza -- that is where I spent my day. The longest I have ever spent in a mall yet there mixed among the hubbub of mall shoppers and Book Fair goers proved to be quite eventful in more ways then one.
My book, Tending To My Wounds, Coping with Grief One Square at a Time made its first public appearance. Jeffrey, was also invited to join me at my table to display his area of talent. Together we, like the other participants arrived early to prepare our nest for the next several hours.
I expected nothing more then being entertained and informed versus the making of many sales from my first published book, Tending To My Wounds, Coping with Grief One Square at a Time and well... the day was as anticipated. A wealth of information gained from those introductions and connections made while visiting tables from some of the 75 local authors in attendance along with a handful of publishers and other local business who participated. After a day viewing and reading snippets from the varying book genres on display, Walt Disney had a point.
Too, there among the chatter to conversations from those individuals and families who stopped by our table. We turned from stranger to acquaintance and in some cases, possibly a friendship will be created. To look, to browse and to question my story about my story mingled with snippets of their own personal stories and situations... take heed whom we converse with. Reminds me of Proverbs.
Mingled compassion and bewilderment - I am impressed again and again by the spirit of sharing. Often deeply personal of their own journey and the wisdom we gain from one another along the way.
In between visitors there was time for reflection from what I heard, seen and learned. The 12 hour day passed more quickly then I thought — with the amusement it's no wonder. Too attitude helps and I believe the day was easy in part on how I started my day, actually my week of finalizing the prep for the Book Fair. The surrounding energy was good. Giving credit where credit is due, a huge part is because of those random emails, phone calls and texts extending encouragement, well wishes on my project and the upcoming Book Fair.
And, out of the sea of people moving about the mall corridors and the store fronts there were, throughout the day, eight recognizable faces. Who, at some point in their day, made the drive to Tampa to stop by and show their support. After the tending to a week of work duties or other obligations, then to take a portion of one’s weekend of rest and relaxation just to stop by and say hello reminded me again how truly blessed I am to be in the good company of loving and caring friends. Totally unknown and unexpected, deeply touched we are by your kindness. Thanks Doug, Judi, Paul, Sandy, Bill, Traci, Craig and John! Life is good.
The evening winds down and by now, most mall shoppers or Book Fair goers had either gone to dinner, happy hour or home. Jeffrey and I lingered a little longer - mostly to people watch and chit chat about the days events.
Eventually packing up and heading out the door we ask one another if the time was worth our time as the life-size wooden cut out of Charles Dickens stands in the parking lot waiting to be put into the van. A distant voice asks if that is Charles Dickens while two head in our direction. Two stories of despair are shared; one involving a pile-up, being rear-ended on the highway, while another comes to the rescue…their car flat out died in route. Unknowingly and unexpectedly we, well actually Mr. Dickens helped the distraught couple by diverting their attention with laughter, lightening up the not so pleasant way to how their day ended and what they have to face ahead. Yes, the time was worth our time.
to Karen Gillman and all who had part in making the On Point Book Fair a success!