2013 Texas Book Festival

For those of you who don’t know me, I am an misanthropic recluse at heart.  It takes a lot to pry me from my happy nest.  However, this weekend the Capitol hosted the Texas Book Festival.  I spent the Saturday portion of the festival holed up at my house watching episode after episode of Arrow and drinking fruit punch Kool Aid.  I thought about traffic snarls and hordes of people so I held my ground.  By Sunday my desire to see Sherman Alexie overrode my desire to stay home.

Sherman Alexie from Texas Book Festival website

I started my Festival Sunday with a session in the House Chamber (sitting at the same desks the politicians do) to listen to author Sherman Alexie speak.   **Please allow me a brief moment to squee like the fan girl I am.  SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!** I discovered Alexie’s work during grad school and loved his collection of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.  His work kicks whites in the head and makes them enjoy the punishment.

Alexie proved to be funny, self effacing, brilliant who read his poem “Naming Ceremony” and then two micro-stories, “Valediction” and “Spring Fever,” from his work in progress tentatively titled 99 Tiny Love Stories.  At the end of the session as I was leaving my seat mate suggested I go talk to him.  I asked her, “What would I say?  I love you?  Thank you for writing?  We could make brilliant, beautiful mocha babies together?”  I decided to retain what little dignity I had and moved on.

After refreshing myself with a sweetberry cupcake from Hey Cupcake and an iced coffee from Lavazza, I ambled over to the Lone Star tent for the Dallas Noir panel with David Hale Smith, Ben Fountain, James Himes and Kathleen Kent.  Shortly before the panel began, I recognized a man walking past the tent who then came in and sat in a chair by me.  It was Daniel Vaughn, newly crowned barbecue editor for Texas Monthly magazine.  This is the man who by sheer force of will and love of the ‘cue created something out of nothing, namely the aforementioned position at Texas Monthly.  A brief conversation later and I had scheduled an interview with Mr. Vaughn.  I will post my interview with him next time.

The Dallas Noir proved to be interesting and entertaining as both Kathleen Kent and James Himes spoke about their involvement in the Dallas Noir (Akashic Noir) anthology of crime fiction.  Ben Fountain was unable to attend due to travel difficulties—after some exceptionally strong storms last night the only road in and out of the ranch he was staying at was washed out.  The moderator, Dallas literary agent David Hale Smith, kicked off the panel with the definition of noir as a genre where “no character comes out clean in the end.”  After both Himes and Kent discussed their stories included in the anthology I came to the conclusion this collection deserves a reading.

Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman

I finished up the Festival at the Music Tent to listen to the Texas jester and sometimes governor candidate, Kinky Friedman.  Kinky sang his songs with only his trusty guitar and sang some of his most well-known songs like “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed,” “Homo Erectus,” “Marilyn and Joe,” and “Ol’ Ben Lucas.”

As wandered home, I thought about my day.  The traffic wasn’t as bad at all, there was plenty of free parking, there weren’t hordes of people crowding the venue, the weather was mild and I—dare I say it—enjoyed myself.  Next year I might even come on Saturday too.