Good morning. How are you? I'm terrible.
No, really. If I could have just a moment of your time, I'd like to invite you to join me in pausing, taking a deep breath, and then losing absolutely any semblance of your composure and freaking the tomfoolway out.
Here's the problem. I don't think the Arkansas Literary Festival is going to be any good this year.
I know, I know. We're not allowed to talk this way. The literary festival is a bright spot in the year. Proceeds of its revenue go to literacy programs. There are activities for all ages. There are booksellers. There are panel discussions. Authors shill their books. Donald Harrington usually shows up. Kevin Brockmeier (be still my heart!) usually reads a fable with a really long title.
Nearly every year since 2004 (I missed 2005. Shortly after that, my life fell to pieces. I have yet to fully recover), I have attended this blessed carnival of book-related magicalness. I print off a schedule of speakers and strategize and debate and plan my agenda. I go. I get freebies. I get autographs. I get a sunburn. I go home happy, peaceful, and broke, with an armful of signed books.
BUT: I'm sorry, and I'm cringing as I write this, trouble looms on the horizon. Actually the trouble is right in front of your face. Go to www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org. Go on, I'll wait. Just browse around. Look at the schedule of speakers. Check out the websites of sponsors. Find out what vendors will be there. Just check it out.
I'll be here when you get back.
Yeah, didn't happen, did it? Exactly!!!! You click on the link for the schedule. You get a little note saying the the schedule will be posted in March. It's March, cupcake! It's been March for 11.5 days!!!!! The festival is a little over a month away and you need to let me know when I can start making my plans!
Did you see the link at the top that reads "click here to Events & News"? That doesn't even make sense! And the only event or news is an announcement of a David Sedaris speaking engagement from October. At the top!!!! A typo and an out-of-date announcement. I'm almost embarrassed to see it. My mind reels. My lungs heave. My head aches. My mind is filled with hysterical, half-formed sentences.
Wait, there's more!
You click on the map link and your page cannot be found. Yes, you need a map. Always.
And--AND!!!--the font is too small. Seriously, my face is ridiculously too close to the screen to take in all this non-information about one of my favorite weekends of the year.
I understand that leadership changed hands. I understand that the Literacy Council probably had more time and resources to devote to promotion. I understand that the Central Arkansas Library System has a lot of things to do, like organize the book sale this weekend (separate post!), and fill Cody's unending requests for comics. But come on!
When they made this announcement last year, I was surprised. As the speaker extolled all of the benefits for this change, I felt a tightening all over my body. I thought I was stressed for other reasons, the main one being that I wished I had brought a different date (yes, you should bring a date. Why would you not bring someone you care about to this?!).
But no, this was a premonition. This was an indication of suckiness to come. This was what it feels like when the circus doesn't come to town, kids.
I'm trying to remain hopeful. I'm trying to expect that these site updates will be made, and very soon.
But I am filled with nausea, anticipated disappointment, and trepidation.
I will keep you posted.