Have you ever been aware of how many authors there are around in the Puget Sound region? And beyond? Of course, you have been to your local libraries and book stores. So, you know they are out “there”. But did you know that maybe your neighbor is one? Or knows one?
Maybe, it’s because authors are often people who live in kind of a bubble until one of us has a book signing somewhere. Unless we are famous, nobody will take any notice of us except our closer circle. Or, unless we belong to a group that consistently shows up in places.
The Greater Gig Harbor Literary Society (https://www.gigharborlit.org/) is such a marvelous group here in Western Washington. The non-profit organization with a Facebook group that was founded in July 2021 and meanwhile counts more than 130 members “fosters the success of local and regional storytellers”. And, indeed, those authors who are members know that if you appear in a group at a festival, you won’t get overlooked as easily anymore. Literally, the word is out!
Last weekend, our organization that was initiated by Lincoln biographer Larry “D.L.” Fowler, featured 19 authors at the Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival. The red tents of the Literary Corner in midst of otherwise all white ones simply couldn’t be overlooked. Nor could the tables set up on the portico of the Timberland Bank. But what was even more remarkable was the supportive attitude each and every author showed to the others. Rarely have I seen such unselfish recommendations of fellow authors to potential customers. Rarely such willingness to market other authors’ books while they were absent maybe for a short break. At the same time, the relaxed atmosphere triggered most interesting conversations about the world of books between the writers themselves but, of course, also between writers and readers. Whereas the former helps to navigate the publishing world more successfully, the latter is priceless as to response and mutual understanding.
As authors are not just artists but people like anybody’s neighbor, the Greater Gig Harbor Literary Society is as much part of the greater community of the Puget Sound region as it “builds community around the written word, engaging creatives and their audiences without marginalization and with fairness to all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or gender identity.“ Which means we are as diverse as the general society and so are the events at which we show up. Whether it’s the Saints Car Club Cruise in Port Orchard on August 14, the Olalla American Music Festival on South Kitsap Southern Little League Field on August 20, or the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede on the Kitsap County Fairgrounds from August 24 through 28, whether it’s a book fair or a BBQ business – readers are everywhere. And so are authors.
Connection creates magic. That between words that shape a story. That between readers and books to create new levels in our world of experiences. That between readers and writers. So, if you are a writer, you might want to look for a group like the Greater Gig Harbor Literary Society in your neighborhood. And if you are rather a reader only – look around whether there isn’t some event with authors in your area. Let the spark of words ignite your world of imagination!