Books present new opportunities and insights. As a child I thoroughly understood this fact and consumed any new books the day I got them. In my early education, we walked to the county library and checked out books. Then there were reading contests and AP classes. Books opened new world to me! And all of that excitement about reading was awakened at the South Carolina Book Festival.
Our first steps into an expansive room in the convention center took us directly to children’s books presented by the USC School of Information and Communications. And then we moved to higher-level reading from the USC University Press. Sprinkled in the mix were authors of better and lesser-known books. We all have different backgrounds that we bring to writing, and the authors there were no different. Some were outgoing and happy to tell what inspired the stories. Others stood in front of passers-by to engage potential readers. Although I was graduated from USC, I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew, but Pat McNealy was there. She was the associate dean of the college of Journalism and Mass Communications when I was there, and after retirement, she wrote two cookbooks and a civil war book on the psychological strategy General William T. Sherman designed to cripple the Confederacy. And I met some nice authors with backgrounds in the department of Juvenile justice. I thought my friend and author ANN EISENSTEN might like to meet the lady I met. But as it turns out, Ann knew both of the people in that booth from previous experiences. They were delighted to see each other again. Ann’s booth partner left on Saturday, so another friend moved into the space with Ann. So Rock Hill SCWW member Lisa Dunn’s debut novel, Grit of Berth and Stone, got some unplanned publicity Sunday!
Lisa and I spoke with Kim Boykin, whom many people know through SCWW. She was kind and outgoing, speaking highly of Kim Blum-Hyclak. Then I met a lady named Libby who knows the latter Kim. They are working together on a poetry project in Florence. And then Libby was later in the Poetry Society of South Carolina Booth beside the SCWW booth. Small world! The booth diagonally across from the SCWW booth represented a Sikh temple that participates in the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina organization. I attended one of their first interfaith council events when I was in Dr. Carl Evans’ class. And he was at their booth. (Unfortunately I missed him.)
I met Sheri Shepherd Levy, whose book Seven Days to Goodbye about a girl training a service dog benefits a local service dog training organization. In talking about her book, she mentioned that she will be speaking at a dog event in Charlotte, not far from my home. It’s a small world! A booth from My First Books SC was collecting donations for a program that provides books to children birth to five years old at no charge. It is an initiative of the Palmetto Project in cooperation with Imagination Library. (http://myfirstbooks.palmettoproject.org/) I introduced my new friend Jason from the South Carolina Library’s outreach department to them.
And I can’t forget to mention the SCWW booth, where we met many inquisitive writers. Some don’t yet have the courage to call themselves writers, but many signed up to get more information from chapters closer to their homes. One was a gentleman from Rock Hill who already attended his first meeting. Many others wanted to know about the Columbia groups. My thanks to Julia Hook, our newest board member for the warm welcome while we worked the booth together for a couple of hours. It was a treat to meet so many people excited about writing. We displayed books by SCWW authors, and I was as proud as if they were my own books when people stopped and looked through the display.
So in addition to the three, no four, perhaps five new books I bought—and the many more I hope to have time to read—I got to meet authors and other acquaintances I will follow-up with and perhaps see on The New York Times Best Sellers list! Plus, I caught up with people I haven’t seen in years because we all love books.
So when people say books open doors and present new opportunities, believe it. Better yet, try it out for yourself again soon!
Beth Crosby’s experience as a newspaper copy editor and in administrative, sales and customer service make her uniquely qualified to edit for fact, grammar and readability. She enjoys Young Adult fiction, and proofreads everything she comes across, despite all efforts not to! Beth is a freelance editor in Rock Hill, SC.