We had the last two parties on Saturday, I’m still tired!

And then this morning I did a presentation.

I always feel a bit rusty after the summer, and I was a bit concerned, since Telling Tales was a festival that I’d never presented at.

It was just down the road from my parent’s house, and it was my first time ever presenting to my ‘home town’ crowd.

It feels weird having done presentations  in the Yukon for goodness sakes, but never in the Hamilton area.

And they’d invited me to promote Wanting Mor.

I got there early and checked out the bookseller’s tent to see which, if any, of my books they had stocked.

When I saw Silly Chicken there, I thought okay, and there was Many Windows and The Roses in My Carpets, I thought I’d do a more generic program, depending on who showed up.

The lady ahead of me had a very tiny audience. Maybe twelve people, mostly adults.

Now at some of these events, believe it or not, that’s a good crowd if the people have never heard of you. So when about twenty people showed up and the organizer asked if I wanted to start, I said yes. And honestly, I would have been quite satisfied with even that number.

The microphone was excellent!

It was one of those head grip kind that leaves your hands free to gesticulate.

Then pretty soon a whole bus load of kids, all wearing orange t-shirts showed up and some Muslim people, and by this time I was into my Big Red Lollipop story. I ended up with an audience of about a hundred and twenty!

A bit of advice: even if an organizer asks you to focus on a novel, but your audience is full of five and six year olds–go with your instincts.

By all means, mention the novel, but play to the lowest common denominator, and especially in an open-air environment like that focus on light and funny stories, make them laugh!

What I did was, as always, I displayed my books on the table beside me, I picked up Silly Chicken and started with that.

In vaudeville they used to say always start with your ‘second’ best number, then end with your best! I’ve never forgotten that.

As a result, in this kind of venue I always end with Big Red Lollipop. I call it my no-brainer-crowd-pleaser, and as usual it didn’t let me down.

And after they’d finished laughing, I picked up Wanting Mor told them that it had won the Middle East Award in Austin, Texas, and that it was up for two more Canadian awards, and then I said that it was the best thing I’d written.

The way the audience paused was perfect!

Then I was mobbed!

It’s good when they mob you. It means you made a connection.

After all the script writing and novel writing stuff I’ve been wrestling with, storytelling a tried and true favourite was a piece of cake–or better yet, a piece of lollipop!

And then driving up and down hills, along country roads, with the sun shining down on fields of corn stalks and mown hay, and the leaves starting to turn, it was beautiful. It was too bad I was in a rush to get back to Toronto, because I could have lingered and really enjoyed it all.

But I did come back with a feeling of satisfaction. It is a good thing to make people laugh, to bring a smile to their faces!