CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Thoughts on Books Alive! 2010

The authors from Books Alive! 2010 
It always takes me awhile to process an event, so even though I've officially been home from Jefferson for three days, the memories keep bubbling up. In the end, the Books Alive! weekend embodied all the things I hold dear. I think you'll understand after reading my random thoughts.

HISTORY: First of all, Jefferson itself is richly steeped in history - established before the Civil War and the only river port in Texas outside the Gulf coast. Before the railroad came to town, Jefferson was where cotton bales were loaded on riverboats to be carried to New Orleans. Interestingly enough, the Books Alive! festival also has a New Orleans connection. During Hurricane Katrina, many folks came to Jefferson to ride out the storm and ultimately found themselves with no homes to go back to. The Methodist church (founded in 1844) took in the victims, turned Sunday school rooms into bedrooms and the fellowship hall became the dining hall. The town rallied around, but in the end, the church had used up its financial resources. Kathy Patrick was among those who helped. As the owner of Beauty and the Book Hair Salon and founder of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, she decided to call upon her author friends to start a book festival. She coupled her passion for literacy and helping others to bring in some added revenue for her church. It's not a large event number wise, but in spirit it has no comparison, and the money raised allows the church to continue its efforts to reach out to the poor in their community.
Margaret & Sharon came from W Virginia

FELLOWSHIP: A feeling of camaraderie infused the event as authors and readers gathered together around tables, sharing their stories, and being real. There is nothing quite so sweet as sitting by new friends, finding out what books they like and what makes them tick. I had the pleasure of eating with two ladies from West Virginia, meeting a sweet couple from Georgia, and quite a few spots in Texas were represented as well.

HOMEADE FOOD. Wow! Pastor Allison prepared what I believe is the best lasagna I've ever eaten - full of healthy veggies, whole grain pasta, and yes, tasty chunks of meatballs. Salad. Fresh cakes and pies. And on Saturday, a mashed potato bar, which was a first for me. And I'm almost certain there was real cream in those potatoes.

Sam Bracken, Kathy Patrick, & Echo Garrett
STORY TELLING: We came from far and wide. Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Las Vegas, Nashville. Sort of a literary symphony to the ears to hear the all of the regional dialects or twang as we say in Oklahoma. All had wonderful stories to share.

Sam Bracken and Echo Garrett, co-authors of The Orange Duffel Bag, told of their longing to make a difference in the world by sharing Sam's tragic beginnings in life and how he overcame a life of abuse and neglect. But they don't stop there. The "7 Rules for the Road" portion of the book gives a way to live life that is not only meaningful to the individual but embraces others in radical ways. An amazing story.

Missy Buchanan, Judy Christie, & Karla Morton
Texas State Poet Laureate Karla K. Morton entertained us with readings from her books, and on several occasions, I had to tell myself to breathe because of the beauty in her words and expressions. And she wore the cutest, funkiest clothes with her cowboy boots - utterly delightful.

Me w/ Marybeth Whalen & Lisa Wingate
Twelve authors in all participated. We had author panels, book signings, lots of chatter and picture taking, and at the end of the day, we felt like a family. The prayer shawls the Methodist women gave us reminded us that we are all part of God's family. Thank you, ladies, for the work of your hands, and also for the cookbook! I left with a full heart and some great memories.

First United Methodist Church (estab 1844)

WORSHIP: Books Alive! ended on Sunday morning with worship at the Methodist church - the perfect final curtain for one of the best times I've had in ages. Does your women's ministry have an annual retreat? Books Alive would be a great opportunity for your group to take a little road trip, stay in one of the many fabulous B and B's in Jefferson, and be refreshed and inspired. Ask me about it - you won't be disappointed.

At the lovely Delta Street Inn


Courtney Walsh said...

Oh, Carla, this looks so so wonderful! How fun you got to go!! :)

Patti Lacy said...

Carla, sounds like a great event. Praise God for your service!Patti

Koala Bear Writer said...

Wow, sounds like a very cool event.

carla stewart said...

Courtney - it was fun. Just my kind of event - lots of chatting and laughter. A few tears. You would've loved it.

Patti - I'm always amazed at the power of story to touch others for God's kingdom.

Koala Bear - yes, very cool. And in the beautiful Piney Woods of east Texas. I was so fortunate to be a part of this gathering.