Found a happy place...

It's called Word on the Street, and it just happened last Sunday. The only thing I'm sad about is that I'll have to wait an entire year before it happens again.

WotS is a fair that celebrates language. That sounds kind of broad, but the thing is, a short list of what was there includes:
  • storytellers
  • authors
  • writers' guilds
  • newspaper columnists holding panel discussions
  • magazine publishers
  • book publishers
  • people collecting money for literacy campaigns
  • people showing off/selling alternative publishing media, like audio CDs
  • book clubs, both traditional and mobile
You get the picture. I am not a big shopper; I can sneer about consumerism with the best of the anti-G8 crowd. Nevertheless, I was glad I took the ever-sensible Howard's advice and took a fixed amount of cash with me. It was like a carnival midway for people who love words.

I made it home with five books and three literary magazines bought, plus two free books from Cormorant Books. The concept of free books was so strange to my ears that the poor man giving them out had to repeat himself before I would take the bag he was holding out to me.

Two authors on my to-read list were there: Nancy Kilpatrick and Robert J. Sawyer, both of whom were kind enough to sign what I bought from them.

The crowds made it difficult to navigate by the booths in some parts (crowds! at a word festival! with rain clouds overhead! who said reading is declining?), and I didn't get there until the final two hours because some other event was delaying the street cars (I'm sure the people who went to that one felt the same about their event. But mine had books.)

The other sad thing, of course, is that I've been reading avidly since I was three, WotS has been a going concern since 1989, and this is the first time I've been. The friends I met there were surprised — I had to remind them that I wasn't in Toronto 1988-2000, and getting downtown on a Sunday only became easy for me five years ago. Then last year I had a family event for WotS.

Yeah, I have to get out more.

But at least now I have lots of cool stuff to read while I'm traveling.