I glanced around the crowded room and knew I was with my people. I was aware that at any minute, I could turn to one of the dozens of people gathered and with four words easily enter into a long conversation – what are you reading?
Michelle, our wonderful volunteer coordinator was taking us through our paces at our sunny Saturday morning induction for the International Literature festival. The excitement hung over us like the fog of weed at a Neil Young concert. The festival team had worked long and hard and finally, in just a few days hundreds of authors would assemble in Dublin for a really exciting ten days of ideas, fun and inspiration.
Michelle informed us that many volunteers had applied and the list had been whittled down to this lucky room. We were to be the face of the festival and would cover shifts as diverse as box office and hospitality. I don’t work in the arts. It all sounded like another planet and I couldn’t wait to take one small step…
A few days earlier, I had been out on the beat for the festival myself. Michelle had sent out an e-mail asking for help with marketing. I didn’t know what that was but was intrigued and put my hand up and secured two separate shifts. This led me to meeting Joey the festival marketing guru, who handed me a bag of posters, bookmarks and postcards and asked me to distribute them around businesses around town. Usually a pretty aimless walker around our city centre, I set off , a girl on a mission.
It was a pretty happy mission to be honest. I spent the first day in and out of my favourite bookshops, coffee shops and spaces. At cornucopia, a great vegetarian restaurant in town, as I stood finding a prime location for my important message, a man in my sixties came up to me and asked what I was doing
“Telling the city about a forthcoming literature festival – it’s on next week”
“Indeed, and what is Lomi Lomi massage?”
I looked at the little fading leaflet stuck next to my poster. I remembered my house mate going through a phase of wanting to do this, as it had been recommended by a friend
” I think it’s an Hawaiian massage. There’s so many of them now, it’s hard to keep up but honestly, I think a reading by one of the wonderful authors would be far more beneficial”
He laughed. I had done the hard sell and moved on. I looked out for him during the festival but didn’t see him. Perhaps he headed for the massage instead.
The second day, I ventured further afield and walked through Camden street and onto Ranelagh, Rathgar and Donnybrook. It was a beautiful day – the start of our summer sun. What better way to get some exercise, enjoy the weather, meet small business owners, get into the community and give a little back?