I’ll have to be honest with you; I thought it’d take me longer to figure out who ruined my life. I thought I could stretch it out all week long and have a really cool detective-type thing going on, but unfortunately the festival screwed me again.
Turns out the person in charge of booking the festival is also in charge of introducing everyone on opening night. So that’s it. I’ve already solved the mystery. All the festival has left me with is “the big confrontation”.
And let me tell you, if this Charlene woman keeps wearing pant suits like she did tonight, that’s definitely not going to happen. It was a very powerful pant suit. She topped it with a shiny blazer. It had a nice line.
But enough about her smart outfit. What it all boils down to is that because of this festival, my big shot at being a real writer is in the toilet. I don’t have an angle. Without an angle I’m a reporter and who wants to be that?
Anyway, what am I going to write about now? I guess I could write about the authors, but why would anyone want to hear about them. In my experience, they’re kind of boring. Mostly they just sit around and write. Sometimes they throw things, but that’s about it. I figure most of them live their lives in the twenty foot radius around their desks and that’s not exactly the stuff that’s going to keep people glued to their computer screens. As of opening night, this gig sucks.
Ah whatever, I have to write something so here is a rundown on opening night.
The thing starts up with this Charlene women saying hi. It was pleasant enough. She thanked some people and tried to hock some raffle tickets. I was not thanked, nor did I buy a raffle ticket. If I had an expense account I probably would have bought one, but I don’t. Once she was done, we move onto the politicians.
Normally politicians annoy me, but I’ll have to say, today they didn’t. I think it had to do with two things. First, without the government the arts don’t happen. They give us creative types the money necessary to do what we do. But more importantly, they didn’t “eat the microphone,” so you couldn’t really hear them.
Next, one of the festival’s board of directors spoke. I can’t really tell you what she said either cause I wasn’t really listening, but she seemed like a cool lady. I caught her bobbing her head, slapping her lap and grooving to the rhythm of the spoken word guy. That lady’s got beat.
When she finished, the formalities came to an end and the writers finally started reading.
They were all commissioned to write something about Winnipeg. All of them did except one guy, but he was from St. Boniface. You know about them.
The first guy, Wheeler I think his name was, he was great. He took a risk and led off with the tough side of this city. He painted the picture we don’t like to share. I liked it. You have to be tough to live here. Al Purdy tough.
I think Carol Matas was next. She talked about how no matter how hard you try, this city always pulls you back. To that I say, sing it sister. The place is a black hole, not even light can escape.
After Carol came a guy with a jaunty hat. Him I liked a lot. Not only was he dressed to kill, but he almost sold a painting and had the best gimmick ever. He wrote his piece about Winnipeg on what was presumably a map of Winnipeg. I need to start thinking like him. I need a better gimmick. Cranky just doesn’t sell anymore. Oh yeah, his poem was good too.
Chandra Mayor was up next. She looked fabulous. She got caught on her chair, but she looked great doing it. She read about places in this city that no longer exist. It was kind of sad.
Actually, come to think of it, everybody was making me feel sad. Is there anything about this place that doesn’t involve loss, heartache and the desire to run?
Oh yeah, there was the guy with the hat.
The last person to read was the guy from St. Boniface. Like I said, he didn’t really write about Winnipeg, but what he did write was a lot like here. He talked about the kiss to end all kisses. How it is the best and the worst, the up and the down, the everything and the nothing. To me that’s a pretty good description of here. It’s everything I wanted, but not.
Well, I guess that’s all I really saw tonight. I’m sure it wasn’t as exciting or riveting as a detective story, but what can you do when you’re being persecuted by an entire festival. Bye for now.
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Jason Diaz is a Winnipeg-based writer and bookstore employee. His poems and prose have been previously published in dark leisure magazine. He was interviewed for the Uniter once and is probably the only blogger here licensed to drive forklift. He doesn’t have any books coming out, but would most likely write one if asked.