I have been putting together and helping to put together events for a few years now and you never, ever get over the sheer shock and joy of seeing an event come together successfully. And sure, part of that is the pure ego of HA, WE DID IT but just as big is the fact that out of nothing you created something. The Book Bizarre rose out of the notion of three Flint writers that it was easier to work together to promote our books than it was to try to do it all alone. And from that alliance grew this event. Author Dangerous Lee had done what writer Glen Birdsall and myself couldn’t – and that was to book a local art gallery for a book event. After she booked it, Dangerous felt it might make more sense for the three of us to work together on an event there and make it a true event and me, always wanting to make these things bigger, figured the more the merrier and brought up the idea of adding more writers to the event, a notion they both took to immediately.
The way this all came together happened very quickly because we booked a month out so we had scant time to promote it and to get people set up for it. With a brilliant flier from friend and designer Eric Lillieberg we were able to get the word out there and slowly but surely we booked our guests. The cherry on top was a last minute television interview I did thanks to my girlfriend, miss Mandie Emery, on a local news broadcast and then came the event. As I said, it’s always pretty amazing when you work all those hours putting together, promoting, then setting up and event and when it is a success it’s a fantastic feeling. We had our hiccups – some silly hangups the venue had during our event, some authors that were there solely for themselves, and a guest we had not booked but who the venue told could just ‘come out and set up’ – all in all though, it was a pretty smooth running event. Astoundingly so. We were just flying by our butts with an idea how we were doing it but nothing set in stone so when it came together, when people came out, when people didn’t hog the mic and abuse it, when we didn’t have any outright rude guests, well those are all small miracles. And if you can walk away saying that it was a good event and that people had fun, then there’s little more you can ask for.
There is more that I can say though.
Wow, sometimes you forget how many talented writers and poets we have in the Flint area but events like the Book Bizarre really serve to remind you that they are out there. We had such strong, passionate performers and storytellers. We had such good work. It is a shame that more events like this are not happening here and it’s my hope that we can do this next year and can take what we learned and make it an even stronger event. It is always a drag when you do see the artist or writer that comes to these events, brings nothing but themselves and their stuff, and they are there solely for themselves. It sucks because events like this are all about community and building a community, and when you don’t take part in that you really are hampering yourself. It really shows too because these are the people always about self promotion and about the sale, so much so that it seems to hurt the integrity of the work. Thankfully that was a limited aspect of the show and everything was a success. I owe so many thanks to so many people, my partners in this, my friends that helped out, the performers and authors, the audience, to everyone who supported us. It was truly a night that made you happy to be a writer and happier still to be part of a community that will support them.