Monday, September 29, 2008

One of the best, but hopefully not the last...

My favorite DC event has come and gone once again. For the fifth year in a row, I planted myself for an entire day among thousands of other bookworms and wanna-be writers to bask in the presence of myriad storytellers, illustrators, athletes, poets, librarians, journalists, and authors. For the fifth year in a row, I briefly entertained thoughts of quitting my job first thing on Monday and pursuing my dream of writing a novel. If only a regular paycheck and benefits weren't so necessary!

All of this daydreaming leads me to one question: dear readers, if money or talent were no object (meaning: if you didn't need a certain level of income or talent to pursue the career of your dreams), what occupation would you choose and why? An interesting question to ponder, isn't it?

This year's book festival was one of the best. I saw and listened to beloved authors as well as a few new ones. I fortunately cleared the security line in time to meet Laura and Jenna Bush in person before they left. Not only did they sign my copy of their recently published children's book (about the joy of reading and importance of libraries - a wonderful message!!), I enthusiastically expressed my gratitude to the First Lady for bringing the book festival to DC. After about 30 seconds of gushing about how much I've enjoyed the event over the years, I finally remembered to thank Mrs. Bush simply for her service to our country. But I ended with, "...but most of all thank you for bringing the book festival to DC!" before the line forced me to move along. She laughed, smiled, and seemed to appreciate my enthusiasm. I am, after all, the Book Festival's number one fan.

Throughout the day, a number of authors and commentators remarked that they hoped that the new First Lady continued the National Book Festival. Considering that the Library of Congress is a co-sponsor and the event draws nearly 100,000 people each year, it seems like an institution to me. But when the new administration takes over in January, you can be certain that the First Lady will be greeted by a letter from me, lobbying for the continuation of this wonderful event.

I hope that she listens.

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