This was on my desk when I arrived home yesterday. I’d spent most of the day at the first McLaughlin Literary Festival in Oshawa, all of my wired energy drained by the time I got home. And then I saw this, made by my younger daughter, and pointed out to me by my older daughter.
It was a beautiful day, sun shining on zinnias and fountains at the Parkwood Estates. From the tent where I read, I could see the sparkling spray of water and the formal gardens and, at the end of the gardens, the hospital which was the inheritor of the McLaughlin estate.
The festival was held there because of Olga Filina, a young woman with long blonde hair and an Eastern European accent, who didn’t give up on her vision of a literary festival there. She pursued the powers that be, year after year, until they agreed to lower their price for their premises to something feasible for the Friends of the Oshawa Public Library, an enthusiastic group of book lovers an hour train ride from downtown Toronto.
They had organized a fabulous roster of writers. I was energized, invigorated, delighted, heartened by listening to them read and having a few moments here and there to chat. The audience was diverse, old and young, some students from the local university who had volunteered (upon encouragement by one of their profs!).
The timing for me was perfect. Web of Angels will be out in February ’12, and I had the chance to talk about it and read from it. I experimented with using my new netbook on the podium. I heard some of the questions that people may ask me about Web of Angels. But most of all what I loved about yesterday was connecting with readers, sharing my enthusiasm for literature in general and this project in particular. As I said to everyone yesterday, it’s bigger than I am. I could feel the energy of it as I spoke, both in myself and in the people I spoke to.
When it was over, and the energy was gone, I was very tired. The train ride between Toronto and Oshawa is lined with trees and goldenrod. As the sun went down, I could see the lake and someone hang gliding, but I just wanted to get home. And there waiting for me, was my daughter’s creation.
The energy wasn’t gone after all. It was just in hiatus while my body rested. The energy, really, is the energy of love and connection. All we have to do is open our hands.