It started out as most Saturdays do for me. Quietly, with coffee. But then I heard through the grapevine (thank you Kathy and Paul) that Stephen King was speaking just minutes away from me and the day turned into a literary focused 60th birthday.
To be clear, it didn’t really turn into my 60th birthday. It was already that. And I’ve experienced marvelous greetings, great food at Origami, Japanese whisky, and have plans to see the SPCO tonight (thank you Jim and Diane). But attending Wordplay gave my birthday a decidedly bookish focus.
Because the higher levels of participation for this event were mostly sold out and the weather was great, the crowds promised to be quite large so we took the light rail to the US Bank Stadium station and walked just a couple blocks to the Loft area where so much of the Wordplay action was centered.
I really enjoyed seeing so many authors, local publishers, and small book sellers in one place. It made me realize that there are really so many resources nearby to hone and enhance the writing craft in Minnesota. While I didn’t come home with a box full of books, I did chose one book in particular that had meaning to me. PICTURES OF LONGING Photography and the Norwegian-American Migration by Sigrid Lien, translated by Barbara Sjohom and published by the University of Minnesota Press.
There were several key elements that drew me to this purchase. Number one, I am solidly one-half Norwegian, thanks to my mother. And thanks to so many in her family that are interested in genealogy, I can trace my roots back to Norway, as well. Number two, in my opinion migration has been, and I hope will continue to be, the structure on which the United States was built. Unless you happen to be Native American Indian, every single one of us is the descendant of an immigrant to the United States. And almost all of those immigrants came here looking for something better. Sometimes it was life or death. Sometimes it was simply a better life for themselves and their offspring. Like it or not, we (those immigrants) are what has made America what it is today. Saying that immigrants bring nothing but trouble is a woefully uneducated lie and slamming the door closed and saying “enough” will forever change who we are in a devastatingly unproductive way. The world is nothing without change; we all must move with it or get run over as it moves on without us. The final reason I was drawn to this book is because the University of Minnesota is my alma mater. Even though I didn’t graduate with a degree remotely associated to writing, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the institution that shaped my youth so much.
I want to say a big thank you to the Loft, who worked so hard to make this event happen. I’ve taken classes there over the years (don’t blame the teacher if you don’t like my stuff, lol) and met authors that have helped me move my writing forward in so many ways. It’s an honor and privilege to have an institution such as them so close and so available.