small-top-logo2News of this year’s Blue Metropolis Festival has just started popping up on the radio and in the papers. It must be spring!

Have you ever attended any of the previous years’ talks or workshops? I must confess that I haven’t, and it has nothing to do with a lack of curiosity or interest. I think the concept of this literary festival is terrific. The thought of all this wonderful literary energy being created in my home town is exhilarating.

I know that in part, it’s about my chronic inability to make time for many of the things that call to me. Blue Metropolis is one of these.

And so every year, when the notices and promotional pieces appear, my first reaction is one of delight, and an impulse-turned-determination to GO (!) which, as the weeks pass, is weakened by a discouraging skittishness that stems from my own, ridiculous nj7245-468a-i1.0version of imposter syndrome. As Charlie Brown said so well: Good grief!

A congregation of writers, scholars, students, editors, fans and lovers of literature should be a dream destination for me, and instead, I shy away; I back off year after year.

Why is this? Clearly, no professional credentials are required. This wonderful annual event is not only inclusive, it’s multilingual and multicultural.

It may have something to do with how we approach literature, and the life path(s) that bring us to our love of reading (and perhaps also to writing).

Just like you, reading has always been pure pleasure for me; at once a solitary activity and a private, whispered conversation with authors I felt a connection to (or ultimately didn’t), which was also a passion I could share with others of the same tribe.

Though my studies in history kept me close to literary language, I have taken but a single course in literature (American lit), which I loved, but which also gave me my first taste of academic approaches to literature, especially when, as an undergraduate, I attended a seminar where I listened to a scholar present a one hour paper on Melville’s Moby Dick, titled “The Whiteness of the Whale”.


Fortunately, my more recent experiences alongside my youngest son, as he completed his B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing, helped re-educate me, and I learned that words like “trope”, “unpacking” and “mythos” were actually parts of an academic tool box that could be both safe and useful.

once upon a timeAnd then, there is the writing, which, just like reading, I have always engaged in and always loved, and which I developed as a history student, and have continued to develop, but…does this give me the credentials to hang out with professional, published writers at a literary festival? Good grief #2.

So I continue to struggle with all my apprehensions and insecurities, as I follow the Blue Metropolis updates, which I will share with you. Perhaps you can begin here,  and during the next few weeks, continue to check the Online Book Club blog where I’ll be sure to post all kinds of links to whet your appetite for the marvelous events and activities that will soon be happening there.



  1. I know what you mean about Blue Met….it seems such a wonderful event and surely I could find some time….and it is a great way to promote books and so on…have never been.

    But I can add an interesting and enjoyable book. This is by Jung Chang “The Empress Cixi”, the last empress of China. Quite a lot of factual information to boost the progressive qualities. A bonus is the substantial number of photos to the day inc. of the empress and her courtiers and one in particular of Cixi waving at photographer as she is getting on a train.

  2. Dear Gwen,

    Maybe we should form a special Online Book Club group and go to Blue Metropolis together!
    What do you think?

    Thanks for yet another excellent book suggestion.

  3. In an upcoming blog, either early next week or the week after, I’ll look at the Blue Met program and make some recommendations. I’m not as busy as Michelle and Gwen since I can always find time to get down there. Then again, I’m physically closer to the site.

  4. Looks like there will be lots of interesting events… if you would enjoy company, just let me know what where and when!

  5. Gail, perhaps we can discuss it over tea? David Homel has promised to give me some recommendations.

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