The Writers’ Community of York Region had a booth at the Aurora Chamber of Commerce Street Festival today. It seems that every alternate year, the weather is crappy. Today was windy, cool and overcast, with low sullen clouds chasing each other across the sky. But hey, we’re Canadian. So the dress code included tank-tops, furry moccasins, parkas, flip-flops, riding boots, short shorts, t-shirts and raincoats. Bring it on, Mother Nature, you grumpy old gal.
Malcolm, Janis and I (what a great team) had to resort to the instructions to get the numbered poles assembled into a tidy peaked structure. The wind almost tore the cover out of our hands as we wrestled it over the frame and tied it down. But at least we didn’t have to drive metal spikes into the pavement to secure the whole thing. We finished just before 11 and folks were already cruising the street.
We were pretty bold – calling out to ask passersby if they were writers. Few looked our way; even fewer were prepared to admit that they were writers. People – it’s not a vice to write down what you’ve imagined, or what you feel or what you’ve overheard on the bus, as poetry, fiction or song. After a while, we began to wonder if proudly proclaiming that you’re a writer was akin to something weird. Nevertheless, over a couple of hours, we attracted a clutch of eager young writers, a reporter for the Auroran and a humour writer – both of whom said they’d be interested in speaking at our September 30th Culture Days gig.
Malcolm put up the folding table – he’d thoughtfully brought along three chairs so we wouldn’t have to stand the whole time. Janis and I laid out the new bookmarks, the flyer for our next meeting on June 10th and the handouts with the dates and some info on them. There was also a draw for two great prizes, but for some reason, no one wanted to sign up. We put up our boffo new banner that really stood out. Malcolm had brought along a book and a notepad and I did some knitting while Janis and I chatted – about writing, of course.
The sun teased from time to time, and we caught a few glimpses of blue sky, but then the rain would arrive. We were dry, if not warm, under our little shelter. We took turns wandering the booths up and down the street – busy, busy. I bought some amazing cooking sauces from a young man named Clint, who’s a graphic designer in his day job. Might get him to do the website for my non-fiction book on policing. And of course, we had to drop by the Aurora Public Library book sale to pick up a few odds and ends. I’ll expiate my guilt in October by donating more books from my stash to the East Gwillimbury Public Library book sale.
Here’s the thing. Or the ‘big question’ for today. Why is it that people bring their large, unmuzzled dogs to a street fair that will attract upwards of 30,000 visitors? So many of the owners spent more time yanking the poor animals away from the many garbage pails and dropped ends of hot dog buns, than looking at the vendors’ booths. Then there’s the small dogs – many of whom were wearing coats (???) and being carried by their owners. One dachshund had a collar with a handle on it – as if he could morph into a purse. But the worst, from my perspective, were the women I saw wearing their hair-bowed pooches around their necks like living collars. Sorry, but dogs are animals, they have four legs and a few decades ago, filled their bellies by hunting down stuff in the barnyard for food. I just don’t get the pets=children thing.
Aside from that, we spoke to a lot of people, saw the sights and had some fun. Now, I have to get back to writing my novel. Seriously. Or if it doesn’t rain tomorrow, perhaps some gardening. Or if it’s too chilly, maybe I’ll do some sewing.