I just came back from 2 days at the Los Angeles Festival of Books. This year it was held on USC campus instead of UCLA. It had been held at UCLA for more than 10 years. When I first heard the news that the festival of books was moving off my beloved UCLA campus, I was deeply disappointed. I teach yoga at UCLA and I was thrilled because I have a parking permit. I could walk easily enter the festival if it had been held on UCLA grounds.
So I met my booth-mate at the Vagabond Hotel just south of USC campus on Saturday morning. Stan the Man – award winning pie maker and blue ribbon dessert maker, along with his adorable mom – and we proceeded to divide and set up our corner booth. Throughout Saturday about 75,000 people attended. Lots of families; lots of kids, not a whole lot of interest in Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. I was looking around for my demographic – the boomers – those without kids, those who were curious about what was under the title. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of chuckles at my title. I heard the title echoing around the booth all day. That was awesome.
So without the thrill of the sale, I went forth and roamed the festival. It was really spread out and I seemed to walk forever. I dropped off my book to my author friends, and checked out booths that targeted speaking and writing and enjoyed the music and the energy. Surrender to the moment, dude. It was all good. Stan the man and I even had time to create a concept for a reality show. That I can’t share with you all. But if it ever gets to reality TV, you’ll be the first to know.
This first day, I got kind of philosophical about the book festival journey. “It’s hit and miss,” my author friend, Etan, told me. He writes and sells children’s books and does a bang up job of it. So when I wasn’t selling, I was networking. People who came up to talk to me at my booth were incredibly generous with their time and information. I accumulated lots of good ideas for my next incarnation into a speaker. I had to remind myself that my life, my work was a process in motion. Fluid and always positive.
Sunday brought some good sales but more heart-felt conversation about living a full life after 50. People shared stories, gave me thumbs up, smiles, laughter. Some even returned from the day before to thank me for the honesty of the book. A man who is a tango dancer wanted to talk tango. I gave him some tips about the tango walk. I riffed on the bliss of meditation as a meabs to open the mind. One young man came up to my booth, looked at the book cover, and handed me a card. “Did you ever think about putting your book on audio?” he asked. I looked at him as if he had two heads. “Wow! Did you read my mind? I’ve been putting that off for months,” I enthusiastically told him. “I sure am interested.” “Well, you’ve got a great voice,” he said. “Would you like to do some readings for other books. Most people don’t want to read their own books.” Bingo! What a great day!
Keep an open mind, have an open heart, don’t label what is in front of you, don’t resist the present and surprises will come. I have no idea what will come out of the book festival this weekend at USC – certainly anything that comes my way would be somewhat different from a book festival at UCLA. The energy convergence is unique. So it’s impossible to have any kind off expectation of an outcome. Yet, that’s the beauty in life. Stay calm and serene and enjoy the grace of life. Oh, yeah.