Tonight, at the Writers in the Attic gathering at Julia Davis Park, I came to an important realization. I love ice cream more than life itself. They were passing it out for free at the WITA THREE anthology launch. FOUR flavors, including my new favorite, ALL NIGHTER, a coffee, chocolate, crunchy thing combo, packaged in a grown-up push-up container labeled “one pint.” Penny insisted it was way shy of a pint, so I had two. The first one, salted caramel, because I didn’t want to go all-in on ice cream decadence. The second one, during intermission, because what the hell. Like I said earlier, I love ice cream more than life itself.
On our initial scouting mission, back in February, we were wanting to experience Boise in the dead of winter. We were a couple of months off, because our originally scheduled mission, in December, got postponed when my dad got sick. While here, we happened into a Starbucks where I saw a poster advertising the Writers in the Attic THREE contest. What the hell. Never entered a writing contest before. So I entered. Four months later, I learned I was one of the winners. Cool! The anthology launch party was slated for August, so we pushed up our move to coincide with that, along with Gowen Thunder, the Airshow.
I needed media credentials so I could go up with the US Army Parachute Team, better known as the Golden Knights. I’ve been up with them before, but that sort of thing never gets old, at least not for me. This wasn’t like down at Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, where my pal, Mr Wilson, was the traffic safety boss for the airfield. Up here in Boise, they don’t know me and like me yet, and the Golden Knights were also being sticklers for protocol. So I had to come up with a legitimate outlet to team up with. I put out all kinds of feelers and eventually connected with Greg Gewalt of Boise + Meridian City Lifestyle magazine. Not only did he provide me with proper credentials for the Airshow, he agreed to my other story ideas. And that’s how I became a photojournalist. Or whatever it is that I currently am.
The day of the launch party was full of drama having nothing to do with the launch party. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that moving, running a business, and tending a Weber kettle and handyman at the same time don’t make for a winning combination. Somehow, everyone survived, and we made our way to the bandshell at Julia Davis Park with time to spare. Like all the other authors and guests, we brought lawn chairs and staked out a good spot on the grass. I used to think being easily distracted was a bad thing, but today, with all hell breaking loose elsewhere, this pastoral scene sucked me in completely. Whatever I was stressing out about was gone. Oh yeah, I was also stressing out about the launch party, and the fact that I’d be covering it for the magazine. I’d have to come up with some sort of angle, but what?
I’d already made up my mind to throw my “no dessert” ideology out the window. I even got an alcohol armband, just in case. Then I checked in at the author table and got my author name badge. Never had one of those before. Very cool. I still have it, even though we were supposed to turn them back in afterwards. I didn’t know about that till we got home and Penny told me. Timing is everything in life.
All the authors were friendly, and so were the organizers. I met the judge, Daniel Stewart, who didn’t know who wrote what till shortly before the launch party. That’s by design. Never mind all that, you’re probably wondering about the ice cream. Stella’s. So good. They’re local, and they make their ice cream from scratch. The push-up’s are a great concept, but I’m thinking a trip to one of their stores is in order. Maybe after breakfast.
THREE is such a great theme for a writer. The odd man out, the holy trinity, it’s a target rich environment. I don’t know the exact number of authors who got into the anthology. Daniel thanked me for participating, and made it very clear that not everyone got in. The ratio was somewhere around twenty percent. He said to be proud, but to not get too big a head about it. I’ll just have two ice creams, that’s all. The program for the evening involved eight of the winners reading their work from up in the bandshell. One of the winners read a story about wanting to be a savior, so he could save his dad from Korea and Vietnam, from alcohol. My favorite was about the last three days before the asteroid hit. Another was a gut-wrenching tale of a mom who lost her son to a brain tumor in his twenties. I didn’t read mine, but you can. It’s Chapter 15 from my novel-in-progress, The Circus Comes to Sketchtown. Turns out it’s part of a new genre called speculative fiction.
After the readings, next year’s topic was announced: TART. I can do TART. As the Writers in the Attic in the Park gathered up lawn chairs and scattered, some of us lingered. I spoke to an author named Bean, shot some photos of her and her herding dog, who’s still a pup. She introduced me to an editor named Yash, who’s got a really cool, photographable beard and curly black hair. I met the asteroid woman, and her mom, who came in from Couer D’Alene. Seems I’ve been misinformed. While not utopia, it DOES NOT snow forty feet. I still think I’d like to visit in the summer. Boise winter sounds more my speed. Guess we’ll see about that.
Now that I’m a published author and photojournalist, I suppose I should figure out what to do with my life. Run my business. Feed the dogs. Feed my wife and myself. Send money to my kid every now and then. Make sure the moms are ok. In other words, business as usual. After all, a writer in the attic’s still got to eat.