Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Frye Festival notes

I'm back from my sojourn to the Frye Festival in Moncton and I had an absolutely amazing time! The streets were plastered in Frye Fest advertising. The event was huge, well organized and well attended, up over 25% from last year I over heard. This was the 9th year for the event and unfortunately the first I've attended. Had I known about it I would have gone last year to see Harvey Pekar speak.

There were plaques all over Moncton with qoutes from Northrop Frye. I read a recent poll on literacy in P.E.I. and evidently 42.8% of the working age people on P.E.I. (16-65) are not literate enough to read a box of asprin. I had a hard time believing that until one day I spent a few hours in the Tim Hortons downtown Summerside trying to do a little work. Now I believe it.

As a guest author of the Frye Fest I was put up in a swanky hotel (the Delta Beausejour) in the heart of downtown Moncton.

The view from room 333.

The Festival got an early kick off on Tuesday with the monthly Pop et Frye talk featuring yours truly. Talk about trial by fire! My talk lasted about an hour and was the first of many. By the end of the Festival I had spoken at 6 schools over 3 days (10 sessions), acted as MC at Cafe Underground with author Katia Canciani and ran a storyboard workshop with Rob Anderson from Fatkat. My voice was so raw I sounded like Leonard Cohen choking on Tom Waits. I had my speech crafted, refined and nailed down by the end of the week.

So serious.... I won a free coffee 3 out of 4 days by getting the Timothy's trivia right. Yay, not Tim Hortons.

It's nice to see the wild life has adapted to city living. This timid creature has taken on armor plating to protect itself. It scampered off moments after I snapped this picture.

My picture taking ceased pretty quickly into the event as I found myself too busy to even think of reaching for my camera.


- Getting to know some of the other authors at the Festival, like Katia Canciani and Christopher Lirette.

- Hearing readings from Russell Banks, Heather O'Neill and Darryl Whetter.

- "Midnight Howl" poetry readings at Mexi's.

- Chatting with Russell Banks about "Rule of the Bone", graphic novels, publishing rights and drinking Mojito's.

- Meeting lots of amazing people; musicians, Festival organizers and many interesting locals.

- Carol showing up for the Frye Jam on Saturday night.

I was like the bee girl in Blind Melon's video for "No Rain" all week; I had found my people. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by people who love to read and are into all things creative. I'm looking forward to next years event so I can take in some of the lectures and readings I missed while I was in the schools. Too much fun!