by Melissa Westemeier
Books, like hugs, barbeque and a bumper crop of zucchini, are best when shared, right? The same can be said about UntitledTown.
My favorite part about UntitledTown 2017 was bringing other people.
On Friday night, my neighbor lady and I parked ourselves front and center to absorb every sweet and fascinating word that dropped from Michael Perry’s lips. Jayne’s a farmer’s wife, so if you were there, you probably heard her hysterical laughter when he told that heifer story.
We strolled down the block afterwards, discussing his stories, recalling how much we enjoyed reading his books and making plans to read Montaigne in Barn Boots together. We kept the afterglow alive for a few more hours at Vintage Cantina over tacos and margaritas.
Saturday, I filled my Momvan with students from Freedom High School. They’d never experienced anything like this Festival before and eagerly pored over the schedule, selecting what interested them.
At the publishing workshop, my students took eager notes on Jason Gillikin’s presentation in their swag notebooks. As we crossed the bridge to the next venue, they chattered about the pieces they’d submit to literary journals. He’d given them ideas and strategies to try to get their work out to a broader audience than our little Creative Writing club at Freedom High School.
We took more notes at Patricia Skalka’s craft workshop on plotting. My student Emma declared that bullet points would save for the novel she’s working on.
The trolley drove our happy band of aspiring authors to the “Speak Your Truth Invitational” reading for High School writers Karvana. Watching Gracie bravely take the mic and speak her truth to the crowd gave the rest of us chills. She felt proud, we applauded, and the little seedling writers I brought to the event went home standing taller after getting fed and watered so well.
Sharing UntitledTown with the next generation of readers and writers made the experience bigger than if I’d simply gone by myself.
On Sunday, three friends accepted my invitation to the Green Bay Public Library for more Festival. Liz, Nicole and Maggie left impressed by the size and enthusiasm of the crowds, the variety of presenters, the quality and efficiency of the entire event.
“Next year,” they each told me, “we’ll be back.”
When something is really good—like a book or a Festival—we tell others because we want to share the experience. Our shared experiences make our connections with each other stronger and the memories better.
Want to make your UntitledTown 2018 experience one for the books? (Yes, that was a terrible pun.)
Share it with someone.