I recounted the epic journey elsewhere (catching up with the peeps..) on the importance of the trip. There were other incentives for traveling to Western New York in October. First and foremost, was the wedding of two good friends on Saturday the first. Second, was the opportunity to meet my life coach, without whom there would have been no book signing. And then, the opportunity to spend time with friends I normally see only once a year.
First stop Buffalo, New York. After quick check in, Laurie and Linda invited me over and I had the opportunity to visit the Coyote Crossing Farm in person.(I ‘ve seen dozens of pictures and heard so many stories in the past two years.) But best of all, I got to meet their five fabulous canines! Cedar, Cagney, Echo, Sadie, and the incredible Leika (the captivating Vizla).
Friday morning I drove into Buffalo to meet Diane Gaidry. Almost two years earlier, she and I spent weeks Skyping about my writing career. And meeting her in person, was like reconnecting with an old friend. I can’t say enough good things about this extremely talented and gentle human being. We would meet later after her performance at the Torn Space Theater production of “Procession”.
Before the show, I met with Rachel Spangler and we joined other guests in a pre wedding barbecue thrown by Laurie and Linda. If it was a crisp fall day and the pulled- pork entrees were perfect. We had to dash in order to get to the theater, where Rach and I enjoyed a thought provoking, avant garde performance in an old German church space.
Saturday’s weather threatened with dark clouds, wind, and cooler temps. None of it affected the warmth and love that abounded in the protective tent that covered all of us. We shared in the official marriage of two very special people celebrating 30 years together. It was one of the most personal and touching ceremonies I have ever had the privilege to attend.
Sunday I got word that my best friend fron 4th grade was coming down from Toronto to spend a couple of days with me. I had only seen her once in the past 40 years and was ecstatic to think we would have the chance to catch up. Of course, I had no way of knowing that it might be a big deal to find Aurora, NY. In fact, it was huge. I wandered around Western New York for over an hour, getting more and more lost, until I finally called a friend who kindly looked it up and guided me, patiently, to the correct location in East Aurora. Whoops.
Lil and I talked and talked and laughed, all while reminiscing some ridiculous escapades from our youth. I introduced her to the newlyweds, who graciously invited us for dinner and on Tuesday, drove her to Rochester to have lunch with the gracious and extremely talented, Georgia beers.
Wednesday we managed a circuitous route to the Buffalo bus station where Lil departed for Toronto. I had time to change before I picked up Laurie and drove to Fredonia to watch Professor Rachel teach a class on romance writing (we were the visiting celebrities, snicker.)
Finally Thursday arrived. A day I had dreamed of and dreaded. My first public reading. Months in the planning, The Pride Center of Western New York was presenting an Evening with the Artists, including: Georgia Beers, Rachel Spangler, S. Alexander Smith, Laurie Salzler, Diane Gaidry and me.
We met for dinner beforehand at a terrific restaurant called La Tee Da. It was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to meet and become more familiar over a delicious meal. We caravaned over to the Pride Center and found that the space was filled to capacity and they needed to find a larger room. Well that was great news!
We each took turns reading a small sample of our work and then answered questions from the audience. There were many good questions that provoked a lively discussion, lively enough that the moderator had to invite us to leave. We adjourned to another area for wine and cheese and a chance for us to answer questions one on one.
It was a thrilling opportunity for me to share the stage with other writers who have been working 10 or more years in the field. Their insights, suggestions, and encouragement provided me with even greater enthusiasm and hope for the path I’ve chosen. Writing can be a lonely pursuit and every once in awhile we have the opportunity to connect with one another. For those of us just starting out, it’s an enormous gift to share the path these women have forged for us. Laurie and I were the two newly published authors given the opportunity to join the ranks.
Friday was my final day filled with packing and traveling. I came home with a suitcase filled with memories and laundry. Maybe we’ll have a reunion and reading again next year?