Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chicago's Lit fest

While friends and family of mine in my age range are gearing up for retirement in the next decade I find myself waking each morning wondering how I will get it ALL done!

I was in the health care world for 37 years starting as a nurse aide at age 14. Then an EMT, then RN, followed by Nurse Director and then staff RN. In between, under, over and around all those hats we raised four children, the best "job" of all.

A year and 1/2 ago I left nursing to be the Midlife Farmwife full time, except for these other careers that beckon to me. Soap making is a minor business becoming more major while writing is a moderate business becoming a Sergeant Major.

Just like me to leave one job and take on three which when combined pay about half of what the nursing salary was taking three times the hours in a weeks time. Not to mention the learning curve in these new venues which is more twisted that that sister band of the 1980's.

Take the writing gig. I was always the goofy nerdette who loved English Class and thought the essay questions on tests were better than Christmas. You want my opinion? You got it! All my elective classes in nursing school were a similar genre such as Poetry 101, Fiction 202 and Poetry 303 for Those Without Real Lives.  For years I knew I had a novel in me.

Finally the novel has made it past the dust covered synapses,  to the surface, and onto paper. Very soon  (rewrite number three progressing well) I will be taking the leap towards publication  as I search for the Holy Grail AKA an agent to represent me. I've done my research and after attending Printer Row's Literary Fest in Chicago this past weekend I am absolutely sure I am not going the route of self publication.

That is, until I change my mind.

The Lit Fest in Chicago's Printers Row Neighborhood however, was a writers/readers/publishers/agents/revolutionists dream.

Add caption

Several city blocks dedicated to booth after booth filled with new books, old books, leather books, vinyl books, pop-up books and anti-books (those who believe Kindle the new god) Poets were reading and musicians were signing, artists were arting, writers were uh...taking pictures... and of course food was everywhere.

I also was thrilled to get one of the limited tickets for the interview session of Author Gillian Flynn by Elizabeth Taylor of The Tribune. That Gillian, not only is she wickedly talented, but also funny with the right level of edginess. Her latest book Gone Girl, told by alternating view points of the two main characters Amy and Nick, delves into the sticky residue left by a marriage long past its freshness date. Amy, the wife of Nick for what appears to be five very long years, is missing and of course Nick is the prime suspect but other than that, nothing else in the book is predictable.

After listening to Ms Flynn talk about her book(s) without my once thinking she was too over the moon about herself but several times thinking I believe this is my sister who my parents told me died but they obviously lied...I ventured back into the concrete heat of Dearborn Ave and chatted it up with prospective publishers, agents and other writers.

It was very hot. but these two ladies had it covered.

I also bought far too many books, including one written by an ex-nun. She threatened to wrap my knuckles if I didn't. If only $9.95 was all it would've taken to get  me off the hook in 6th Grade.

Chicago, town of Diversity and Zipper Necks

But then again, if these folks are willing to answer some inane newbie writer questions then the least I can do is pluck down a few bucks for their hard work. I believe strongly that to be a good writer you must read read read...and then work an extra job to pay for those books.

Hello ? Any of my kids out there in blog land? If this
typewriter or one similar to it should show up under a
future Christmas tree of mine I would not be displeased.


  1. I want one of those portable Smith Corona typewriters in the little suitcase. My mom used to rent one for me every year for high school (I was in the business course) and if I close my eyes I can smell it (you know, the ribbon and cleaning fluid they used on it before they rented it out). I am NOT weird...NOT.

  2. Well, waddya know. I used to be an RN too. I think this is an exciting development and I know you will thrive, as will your writing. So nice to be able to take advantage of the Lit Fest. What a great resource.

  3. I find it fascinating that people would actually like to go back to an old-fashioned typewriter like a Royal -- or indeed Smith Corona -- both of which I have had lengthy experience pounding (and I mean POUNDING) my way through paper after paper after paper. Now at the ripe old age of 67 (as of tomorrow) I do not believe my fingers would be able to deal with one line of 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog'!

    None the less, very best wishes for your upcoming novel, and my admiration for getting through 3 re-writes!

  4. We have a friend coming to see us who lives in Evanston ill. I quite expect to hear that it's just down the lane from Chatsworth!

  5. Donna, you are, what we say in the UK as " well rounded " and I am talking personality and experience here rather than just curvy!
    Good post x

  6. Donna, we are all excited to read your forth coming book. Do keep us posted on the print date. The Royal typewriter is awesome and will make a wonderful addition to your writers nook.

  7. It sounds like Chicago is quite an adventure. Congrats on the upcoming book and good luck on your search for an agent/publisher!

  8. Donna - congrats on the book. Let us know.

    That zipper neck. Ugh. I couldn't get anything tattooed on my neck. Even the back of my neck.

  9. If you would like to experience a little of the event. Check out to watch our monthly "Authors Showcase" program. The July and August episodes are dedicated to the Chicago Lit Fest. See what you missed or review the fun you had.