Unless you haven’t visited the website, Facebook, Twitter, or My Space pages for The Magical Buffet in the past couple of months, you know that this past Saturday was the “A Magical Buffet of Authors” event at the Barnes and Noble in Saratoga Springs, NY. The event suffered a huge set back with the original Community Relations Manager, Crystal Jenkins, passing away unexpectedly. This put all of Barnes and Noble’s marketing for the event way behind schedule, and once combined with my lack of experience in these matters, I can safely say the turn out wasn’t anywhere as good as it could have been.
That said, for me, the authors, and the other people who showed up, the event had a lot to offer. The authors in attendance were a who’s who of Buffet contributors: Ellen Evert Hopman, Gail Wood, Deborah Blake, Gordie Little, Maria Kay Simms, and David Pitkin. Because of the small turn out, what could have been large impersonal meetings instead were intimate conversations with the authors when they spent 30 minutes talking with the group. Authors got to spend time talking to the folks like me who bought books (In my case, WAY too many books.), and wide ranging conversations could be heard around the tables.
I enjoyed all the presentations; each author had a different approach. At any given moment there could be laughter, quiet murmuring, or thoughtful silence. Of course I loved hearing what all the authors had to share, but for me the super star of the event was Maria Kay Simms. I had never seen Maria in person prior to the event, but words can’t express how beautiful she is in person. (However I do want to state for the record that Gail Wood continues to be adorable in photos and more photogenic than myself or Deborah Blake.) Maria’s shining silver hair, dressed in a flowing purple top and skirt, she embodied everything my mind conjures up when imagining an elder high priestess. And then, while speaking, she told the audience about how when alone she draws down the moon. It was an intimate moment with her voice wavering from the obvious joy she experiences from it. Out of all the wonderful moments of the day, and there were many, that will be one I’ll never forget and will be held in my heart until the end of my days.
Something else that I got to experience was the authors interacting with each other and myself when others weren’t around. Each author had their own energy and when they mingled it created poignant moments in my mind. Gordie Little’s boundless enthusiasm as he discussed ghoulies with Ellen Evert Hopman, Deborah Blake telling all the other authors about buying Godiva on sale at the store (whether they wanted to know about it or not), David Pitkin talking to me about being weird, discussing the charms of Lily Dale, NY with Gordie Little, Gail Wood, and Maria Simms, everyone fussing and shoving to do the group photos at the end of the day, those are things that not everyone gets to witness, but I did.
It’s safe to say that the event was by no means a success, and only time will tell if Barnes and Noble will have us back or if any of the authors would want to try it again, but for me personally, it’s a day that I will always cherish for the unique experience that it was.
On a side note, if you’re local to the area but missed the event, the Barnes and Noble in Saratoga Springs, NY has a small stack of books autographed by the appropriate authors still in the store.