Booksignings can be a dull affair, particularly if you are by yourself, the crowds are few or unreceptive and worse, they have no need for a book and thus you go home empty handed. Today, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Author’s Alley at the South Regional Branch Library in Lafayette (Louisiana) and sitting with three wonderful Acadiana authors — Camilla Hunt Cole signing “Mesquite,” Andy Hebert signing “Christmas on a Bayou” and Genie Summers signing “Our Family’s Book of Acts.” We had a nice turnout, friends and visitors alike were very generous (merci beaucoup!) and it was great chatting with one another about writing, social media, our next books and much more.
Camilla Cole is busy working on a Southern gothic mystery due out next year, Genie Summers felt compelled to write her two books about missionary work but now she’s having fun penning a novel and Andy Hebert’s topics ranged from his Christmas coloring book to his grandfather’s fascinating diary of the Iota (Louisiana) area.
After three hours at the library I headed over to the Fire & Water Cultural Arts Celebration in Arnaudville, where the new coffee shop Little Big Cup was hosting an afternoon of writers. Besides me, there was former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque, Poet Clare L. Martin (left), novelist John Francois, young adult novelist Margaret Simon (right) and photographer JohnSlaughter. I arrived in time to visit with Margaret and Clare (who organized the entire event – thank you Clare!) and again, it was such a treat enjoying the company of other writers (remember, we mostly work in solitude). I learned about Clare’s experiences writing her poetry book, “Eating the Heart First,” found out Margaret is a poet herself and listened to John reminisce about his life photographing the historic town of Grand Coteau.
On the way home I stopped by Nunu’s arts center where musicians were performing, artists were demonstrating their work and selling beautiful items and Bayou Teche Brewery was serving up samples of their new Christmas beer. More creativity jive; the air crackled with it.
This holiday season may I suggest giving something unique, creative and supportive of the local economy — art and books. We who serve in the trenches producing our stories and artwork because we must would surely appreciate it.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.