The Woman survived her 10 days bookstorming the NSW North Coast and New England — but only just. Hadn’t expected to find talking so exhausting, since I’m in constant training.
But I guess a set talk, with passion and humour and drama, is a performance. It was followed by perhaps half an hour of lively questions, many on the environmental issues, where the lack of action is clearly worrying people.
I learned not to judge by appearances, as the most conservative looking elderly lady might ask me very well-informed questions on the Anvil Hill mine.
I never stopped talking for the two hours most sessions took, as when people queued up for me to sign their books, I would ask a little about them so I could write something relevant. That might release a potted life history, and I would have enjoyed long conversations with most.
I love libraries anyway, but was astonished at how the newer libraries are involving their communities. At the brand new Taree Library I was their first author event. Seventy people turned up for the evening, which had a lot to do with the very prominent display. And with the enthusiastic Margie and her staff, who turned out cheese platters and served wine as if they did it daily. Librarians have jettisoned their old twinset and beads image, and Taree Library rocks!
Where the libraries had active Friends of the Library groups, such as at Forster, the hospitality created a very welcoming atmosphere, with pikelets and cakes and cuppas, but which I rarely had time to consume.
The newish Port Macquarie and Tamworth Libraries were very keen and had good spaces for such events — AND they presented me with gifts of local goodies, like wine! That’s Kay, at Tamworth, (left) my last stop. The letdown was at Lismore, one of the biggest towns/cities, where I felt like I shouldn’t have bothered, since they hadn’t.
I not only met librarians like Kerry (centre left) but local booksellers like Jodi (centre right) from the ABC Shop at Ballina, who’d gone to much trouble to set up eye-catching displays in their shops.
Another notable one was the Coffs Harbour Dymocks, where the vibrant Natalie (right) is a real events person and supports local authors especially.
I admit I enjoyed all the dressing up, but I’m extremely glad to be back on the mountain in my stained trackies and flannelette shirt, raking up horse poo and getting down and dirty in the vegetable garden.