Goddamn it, Howard the Duck. I can’t ever quit you.

Yesterday, an 80s pop culture account I follow on Twitter reminded me that On This Day in 1986, Howard the Duck was released in theatres. How thoughtful of them.

The summer of 1986 stands out for me for the following reasons:

  1. I wrote exams and successfully completed grade 13.
  2. I accepted an offer from McMaster University.
  3. I flew, on a plane, for the first time ever, to spend eight weeks on Vancouver Island.
  4. I saw Howard the Duck. In the theatre. On purpose.

In the summer of 1985, I joined the Canadian Naval Reserves and completed training in their (now defunct) Summer Youth Employment Program. In the fall of ’85, I started working in my Navy trade of musician. Yes, this is a thing. One of the requirements to advance as a musician in the reserves was to attend the Canadian Forces School of Music (yes, that also is a thing) at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, on Vancouver Island. There I would be practicing for TQ (trade qualification), performing in bands and other ensembles, and taking part in parades and events with the other students. And, in case you were ever wondering, Homer Simpson was correct when he said “It’s not just a job, it’s a really, really easy job.” (Go Navy!)

This was pretty huge for me, honestly. I had never been away from home for THAT LONG before. I had never even been on a plane, but then one day in early July, my dad dutifully drove my friend and me to CFB Trenton, where we spent the night, then arose bright and early to board a plane to Victoria. Well, ok, we boarded a plane to Winnipeg. Then to Edmonton. Then to Vancouver. Then we got on a completely different plane – one that sat 6 people and luggage extremely uncomfortably – and then, finally, we arrived in Victoria. It was the longest fucking day of my life. Once we arrived in Victoria, we boarded a bus to the base in Esquimalt, and then we collapsed into bed. BUT NOT FOR LONG.

The first few days were a sort of culture shock. We were jetlagged, nervous about the job, trying to get the lay of the land and figure out where we needed to be at any given time.

We were housed in barracks with about 40 other women, required to be present for daily inspection which included our bed and the area around our bed, our locker, the shared bathroom, the common area, etc. We were given rulers to ensure our pillowcases were a certain size, and that our sheets were turned down the appropriate length, with counterpanes tucked in just so, and boots and other footwear lined up under the bed in exactly the correct way.

And, if I’m being honest, I fucking EXCELLED at this. I love nothing more than organizing a closet, making sure things are JUST SO. This part was SO perfect for me. Other parts of being in the military, not so much. But the ironing and the organizing and the cleaning? I was there for it.

Eventually the terror of, you know, everything subsided, and we spent our downtime exploring the base and hanging out with and getting to know the other students at the School of Music.

We had, it turns out, quite a lot of downtime. We were typically finished work for the day around 4:00 pm, and then after supper, our time was our own. With just one stipulation: we weren’t allowed to leave the base.

We watched other people come and go through the gates of the base all the time, but there was a rule for those of us who were new and that was that we had to stay on base for the first three weeks of our tenure there. I still have no idea why. Did they think we run away and never come back? WE WERE ON AN ISLAND, how far could we get? Anyway, that was the rule, and I a and have always been, a rule follower to the extreme. See above for goddamn sheet measuring.

So we were “stuck” on the base for 21 days, and at first it was fine because we were a) terrified and b) we had no money. But once we’d been paid, we were anxious to spend money. And the base activities were growing increasingly dull as the weeks went on. As well, the lucky ones who could escape for the evening would regale us with fantastic stories of pints at The Tudor House (RIP),  buses to Victoria for shopping and movies, and tea at the Empress Hotel. ROGERS’ CHOCOLATES, people. It was glorious, and when we finally were able to make our way through the gates, military ID firmly in hand for our return, we were giddy with anticipation. And what had we, as a group, decided on for our first foray into the city? Why, a screening of Howard the Duck, of course.

I vaguely remember the bus ride into town and lining up – LINING UP – to get our tickets. There was probably popcorn and a drink and then the movie itself, which, I don’t think I have to tell you, is one of the WORST movies ever made. And to be honest, I remember very little about the movie. I can recollect precisely zero plot (perhaps there wasn’t one?) although I vaguely remember a suuuuuper awkward bedroom scene that caused 19-y/o UIG to panic in a “OMG there’s not going to be alien duck/human sex, is there? I don’t think I can handle alien duck/human sex right now.” There wasn’t but honestly, fuck you everyone involved in the making of that dumb movie for causing anyone to have to EVER worry about Lea Thompson potentially having sex with that goddamn awful duck.

ANYWAY.

Our group of freshly-released navy friends exited the theatre, and I think there might have been beers afterward, or at least food that wasn’t served cafeteria-style from bored military cooks, and then we took the bus back to the base, having survived our first big adventure.

The entire summer was one of high adventure, honestly. I was four entire provinces away from my home and my parents. I was working full time for decent pay, so I didn’t have to worry too much about tuition heading to university that fall. I was navigating a new city, figuring things out on my own, AND going for tea at the motherfucking Empress Hotel.  It was the most grown-up  I had ever felt until that point, and it was a pretty glorious feeling.

So thanks, I guess, Howard the Duck, for being so terrible that people can’t help but talk about you every single year, reminding me where I was, and what I was doing in August, 1986. Perhaps if we’d seen a different, better movie, there’d be less to talk about each year? So I guess I’m grateful?

FINE, let’s go with grateful.

NEVER FORGET

 

 

 

I yell about books I like, invite me to join your book club

After a bit of a reading drought (this is going to seem funny shortly, drought) I recently read Margaret Drabble’s excellent The Dark Flood Rises. The title makes it sound a bit like a disaster novel. It isn’t. What it is, is a nearly perfectly crafted novel, a perfectly told story, and when I finished it, I had planned to write a nice tidy review of it here on my blog. So I made some notes. What follows are the notes I quickly jotted down. I had originally planned to go back to them, to clean them up, to flesh them out, to make them, you know, readable. But rereading them tonight, I have decided to leave them as is. So here you go:


Margaret Drabble has written one hell of a book.

This is a treatise on ageing, on family, on the rise of the so-called grey tsunami (a tidal wave, more water) and the what on earth are we going to do with all these old people. On life and love and friendships and facing down your own mortality, as well as the mortality of others. The treatment of the elderly. Where will we be when death takes us, how will we go, surely not in a car wreck, but more pleasantly in bed. After a fall. Who is to know.

Themes of age, themes of water. So much water. An incredible cast of seemingly unrelated yet rather related characters living in varying degrees of opulence, with eccentricities, with faith or not, with intellect or not.

Every story is tragic, yet hopeful. Everyone is longing for something, trying to recapture something. Drabble’s characters are full and rich and intriguing. They are everyone.


Idk does this make you want to read this book?

But sometimes raw is better. I stared at these words for an hour or so, and I couldn’t rearrange them into anything else, honestly. The bottom line is that Margaret Drabble really has written one hell of a book. It’s pretty much all you need to know.

If you would like more information – or, you know, actual information – about this book, get at me. I will probably just demand that you read it.

 

Friday nights are for books and cheap wine

Last Friday night, I took the bus downtown, and when the friendly bus driver asked where I was headed, I told him I was going to the library. He said “That’s how you’re spending your Friday night? At the library?!” But you know what? Hell yes, I was. Also it was a licensed, 19+ event, and glasses of wine were five dollars. FIVE DOLLARS. Where else can you get a glass of wine – and it wasn’t even plonk – for five dollars? Nowhere, that’s where. Plus a lovely spread of cheese and crackers, Roma pizza (I firmly believe there is a bylaw that states you cannot host a party in Hamilton without at least one Roma pizza in attendance) and then a table of desserts. COME ON. Best deal in town, honestly.

And while the wine was very attractively-priced, we were also there for the reveal of the Hamilton Reads One Book One Community choice for this year, and for the lovely Jane Urquhart, who read from her new book A Number of Things: Stories of Canada Told Through 50 Objects.

I will admit to being skeptical of the entire concept of A Number of Things, because there is this tendency, among Canadians, to focus only on the stereotypes when compiling lists of “Canadian” things. Toques and moose and hockey, amirite? And I still haven’t read the book, so I’m withholding judgement, but from what Jane read on Friday night, I feel I might be pleasantly surprised by the insight and depth of research, by the thoughtful inclusion of important, culturally significant objects, as well as some of the ones that may more generally spring to mind. I mean, she’s Jane Urquhart, after all. I suppose I needn’t have worried.

Worries aside, the entire evening was a delight. A packed house, standing room only for books and authors on a Friday night? Hamilton, you never disappoint. And of course, the big reveal of Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People as the choice for Hamilton’s One Book One Community!

HPL has organized a season of programming designed around the OBOC pick, and there are some amazing events lined up. I’m not sure the details are available online yet, but you can pick up this little booklet and make your plans for the fall. There’s even a series of workshops by me! Pretty sure I’ll have a lot more to say about those later this summer. Other than, you know, “Eeeeeeeee! I’m running some writing workshops, you guys!” I promise, ok?

HPL staff were also there to offer book talks for those who were interested, and listening to two book talks meant you were eligible to be entered into a draw. 12 tote bags with books were up for grabs, as well as a large bucket o’ books. I didn’t win, but my friend Jessica won one of the tote bags, which made an already great night even better.

Finally, HPL is also running, for I believe the first time EVER, an Adult Summer Reading Club! It will surprise virtually no one that I consistently OWNED at summer reading club as a kid, and over the years I’ve wistfully watched from afar as other library systems began advertising their own adult versions, so I’m happy HPL is finally on board! Grab your card at any library branch, or download from the website, and print your own.

So to recap, wine and cheese, door prizes and authors, book talks and cupcakes. And all for just 10 bucks. Friday nights at the library? Absolutely, and let’s do it again soon.

Love your library system, folks. Hamilton truly has one of the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juror #3 Reports for Duty

I’m not sure if you noticed, but I was gone for awhile. I mean, I’m not the most prolific blogger, I’ll give you that, but for three weeks in May I was basically out of commission, and doing my civic duty, participating on a jury which really took over my life.

The trial itself wasn’t all that interesting – civil trial, one dude suing another dude kind of thing – but if you’ve ever been on a jury you’ll know that it can be exhausting because you spend the whole day just listening and – and here is the really tough part – PAYING ATTENTION. TO EVERYTHING.

And you’ll likely know that I am a pretty good listener, but we’ve all had those conversations where we might drift a bit, or we’re thinking of something we want to say to move the conversation along, so we’re not 100% engaged, 100% fully focused. And that’s normal! But in court, you don’t get a chance to interject or voice your opinions (lawyers really don’t like that) you just have to listen. And you can’t zone out for a bit, because you might miss something ultra important. Then, once all the talking is done you have to go away for a few hours to determine the course of someone’s life, based on what you heard and listened to for the past 12 days. NO PRESSURE.

The other thing, of course, is that you’re not permitted to talk about the case, and my dudes, that was kind of the hardest ever thing for me. Because while I am a pretty great listener, I am an even better talker, and more importantly, I am a person who likes to talk things through in order to better understand them. So having to come home and just not talk about what had been going on all day was rather tortuous.

It’s kind of a humbling experience, to be part of a jury. For the first few days, we sat, we listened to witnesses, experts, the plaintiff, the defendant. As the trial went along, when it became clear that things were starting to wrap up, I became more and more nervous. Would we be able to do this? To do the right thing? To look only at evidence, and not let emotions take over? Once both lawyers had presented all their witnesses, we had only closing arguments and the judge’s charge to us left to hear. And then it would be up to us.

So, spoiler alert, we did it, and according to the judge we did a fantastic job. She praised us for being so attentive, so thorough, for taking our time and working through the questions we needed to answer in such great detail, and that was a huge relief. We’re still not really supposed to talk about the case, but honestly, if we’re ever out together having a few drinks, I might just have to give you a rough outline of this trial that consumed me for practically the entire month of May. Because me. Listener. But also talker. Actually, mostly talker.

I learned a lot from sitting on this jury, sitting in that courtroom for so many hours just listening. Listening is a true skill, a real art. We were permitted to take notes – the judge herself is an avid note taker – but what I found was that I was better off watching and listening. I did jot down the occasional fact or concept, but I mostly relied on observation. In then end, my memory of the proceedings was just as good than that of the note takers. For me, head up, watching everything was better than head down, writing furiously on a pad.

It’s a very good lesson, learning to listen more actively without wanting to jump in and add your own two cents to the conversation. To process and reflect, and make decisions based on evidence and fact, and not always just emotional response. It was an experience I’m glad I was able to have. But I’m still quite happy they can’t call me back for three years.

 

 

 

 

 

I Had a Body Wrap With a Vichy Shower, AMA

When I turned 50 in January, I was pretty adamant that I didn’t want a big fuss. I’d thrown myself a birthday party two years earlier, when I turned 48, and I figured that was probably enough. I wasn’t thrilled about turning 50, although now that I’m here, I should mention that I’m getting used to the idea. 50 is fine, I guess, and as a friend of mine suggested, “50 is the new fuck you.” I can kind of get behind that as well, so thanks, Claudia!

So, as I warmed up to the idea of entering my 50s, I decided maybe I do want to do something fun, maybe I want to make a fuss after all. But what? I consulted my usual partner in crime for fun ideas, my friend Vivian, and we came up with a plan to spend a few nights in Prince Edward County, touring wineries, eating well, and perhaps even visiting a spa. This seemed like a very solid and exciting plan. Especially the spa portion of the weekend.

I am a regular visitor to a spa, for services I like to call “maintenance.” Waxing, eyebrow tinting (now you all know!) etc. The occasional pedicure or manicure, for special occasions. I have had two facials in my life, which I always feel are extremely decadent, but for this weekend, I wanted something even MORE, something extra, something that screams “Extreme Ladies Who Lunch and Country Club, Bitches.” So I decided on a body wrap. Vivian booked us at the spa about 20 minutes from where we were staying, and off we went.

Have you had a body wrap? I had no actual idea what to expect, but I was ushered in to a dark room with a large rimmed table in the centre. The walls and floor were tile, and a 6-head shower arm was suspended from the ceiling. It honestly was a bit ominous looking, but since I was already there, I got undressed and climbed on the table.

The first step in body wrapping is dry brushing, which feels like someone taking a layer of skin off your body, which I guess they kind of are? This was followed by a salt scrub, which was pretty great. And then, they rinse you off.

The shower, as I mentioned, is on a big arm, and the aesthetician pulls it along to rinse the salt off you. You don’t have to even move, which is pretty amazing. After the salt came the actual body wrap. We chose chocolate because why not? Apparently chocolate has a lot of ingredients that are good for your skin, so take that, MOM.

So you get wrapped in chocolate, and then you get to lie there for awhile, and then the big shower thing comes at you again to rinse you off, and I was marveling at the fact that I was having a shower, without even moving, and thinking “wow, it’s so cool, the table itself drains right on to the floor, and…” and this is when my brain started making comparisons to being in the morgue.

My brain is the reason I can never have nice things. Maybe I’ve watched too much CSI or Law & Order over the years, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this Vichy Shower thing was basically a fancy schmancy version of the apparatus used to wash corpses prior to autopsy, or to prepare the body for embalming and other funereal preparations. I mean, just type vichy shower table into any search engine and you’ll see what I mean. Or, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll see potential for a lovely, relaxing, spa treatment. Because you’re normal.

To be quite honest, these thoughts didn’t tarnish my experience at all. Which…says a lot about me, perhaps. And when we were safely upright again, and driving back to our hotel, I told Vivian my musings about the body wrap, and the body’s final journey, and to her credit – and the fact that she knows me better than anybody else – she was not overly shocked that I had made that connection. She did laugh at me and say “OF COURSE YOU WOULD THINK THAT YOU WEIRDO” like the excellent friend she is, but surprised? Not really. I am, after all, the same person who considered – while having a massage – how easy it would be for my massage therapist to kill me if she wanted to. Think about it. You’re pretty vulnerable lying naked there on that skinny massage table. Just a good neck snap is all it would take, really.

I think the morals of this story are 1. No one can (or should) take me anywhere ever again, probably. And 2. I am getting darker with age.

“Functionally morbid” is how Caitlin Doughty describes herself in her excellent book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory, and I like that a lot. I think I will contact her to ask if I can use it.

Real. Estate.

Back on New Year’s Day – the first time I pledged to blog more often – I created a document about what I wanted to write about for the coming year. I cleverly named this document Random Ideas and Possibilities, then promptly forgot about it. Digging around in my Google Drive the other night unearthed it, and I can honestly say there are some excellent points. Good job, slightly hungover me! One line that made me laugh out loud, which I had completely forgotten I had written was this: Stay away from the dead parent posts. It’s been done, move on, no one cares.

Now this isn’t to suggest that no one actually cares about my dead parents, obviously, it was more a reminder to me that there are other topics out there, and for my own sake I should probably move on. I tend to dwell. And to be fair, there is a lot of processing that goes into losing one then both parents, and if you like to write, that processing might take place on the page. And it might continue to take place on the page, 5, 6, even 10 years later. And maybe that processing ultimately turns into my book! Aha, more incentive to take it outside. Or at least off the blog.

So dead parents are, for the moment, off the table. Instead, I would like to talk to you today about real estate. Specifically the batshit housing market in my city, and in particular in my neighbourhood.

There is a house on the street perpendicular to ours that is for sale. This in itself is kind of unusual, our neighbourhood is not known for high turnover rates. It is one of those “sought after” neighbourhoods that real estate people like to talk about. Close to schools, shopping, etc. And it is. And it’s nice. It’s fine. It’s a fine neighbourhood.

We bought our house in 1999 and paid the astronomical-at-the-time amount of $169,000. Granted, things change, and this isn’t to say that housing prices will always be at that level, but for quite a few years, they definitely were. About ten years ago that all started to change, when we began seeing houses like ours in the 300s and sometimes even the 400s. We used to laugh “haha we can’t even afford to live in our own neighbourhood anymore!” But wait. There’s more.

The house I mentioned that is for sale? It’s a 1.5 storey house, lovely from the outside, and nicely done inside. Three bedrooms, one bathroom. Nice yard. It’s listing price is $629,900. And, chances are, it will go for considerably more than that, this seems to be the norm in this city right now. Recently, I heard about a similar house selling for over $850,000.

I can’t. I mean. That is a LOT of money for a wee house. And yes, Toronto is much worse as far as real estate prices, and so is Vancouver, but we are talking about Hamilton, here. Great city, yes. But still. Wow.

It’s location, I get that. It’s proximity to the 403, the gateway to Toronto and beyond, and I get that too. But now – for absolute real – my family could not afford to live in this neighbourhood, should we be in different circumstances, looking to buy our first, or even our second house.

They say the bubble will burst, and that there are plans to cool the jets of this skyrocketing housing market. But what then? I don’t pretend to have answers, economics, etc. is not my bag, but I can’t imagine, in the current situation, ever recommending home ownership to anyone. A nearly one million dollar mortgage seems terrifying to me, although I get that I am coming at this from the sheer privilege of having purchased a home in a completely different housing market, a completely different time in the life of my city too.

So these houses that are selling for three quarters of a million dollars or more, where are their people going? As I mentioned, there hasn’t historically been a lot of turnover in the neighbourhood. People like it here and they tend to stay. So perhaps these are older people moving into apartments or condos. Or maybe they are empty nesters who realize the house is too big, and want to downsize. Or maybe they are thinking what I’m thinking, which is take the money and RUN. Take your near-millions, and buy something in the north or east end, where housing prices are still (mostly) normal. Or what I still think of as normal.

Six years ago I had to sell my family home. I grew up in an area that isn’t, and has never been, “sought after,” but the houses on my street are lovely. At the time I remember having a figure in my head about what it could probably sell for, recognizing even then that I was probably blinded by childhood memories, and isn’t your childhood home priceless? So I tried to be fairly conservative in my estimate. But still, it’s a 1.5 storey, 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath, with a gorgeous landscaped yard, finished basement…you get the picture. The agent listed the house for just over $100,000 and I was devastated. Surely it was worth more than that? “It’s just…this…” he said, gesturing in the general direction of Barton Street. It turns out that not all neighbourhoods are created equal.

I wondered, at the time, how much more it would have been worth, had we been able to pick it up and transport it to the neighbourhood where I currently live. And now that 1.5 storey homes seem to be worth close to a million dollars, I guess I have my answer.

 

 

 

The sweetest hangover

And just like that it’s over, we tend to our wounded we count our dead…

Wait, no that’s not gritLIT Festival. That’s Yorktown, from the Hamilton soundtrack.

For those of us on the committee, by Sunday night we sort of felt like walking wounded. It’s a lot of time to spend in the gallery, the hotel, running here and there, organizing, etc. But it was, as the kids say, WORTH IT.

gritLIT happens over four jam packed days in April, and while it goes by in an absolute flash, I’ve always found it takes me a few days of post-festival processing, reflecting, and regrouping, to put my thoughts down in blog post form. In fact, in looking through my drafts, I found my gritLIT wrap-up post from 2016. Partially completed, never posted. Whoops.

This year, thanks to a renewed passion for writing and blogging, I vowed I would rejuvenate this tired old girl (the blog, not me) and inject some life into it. There are multiple reasons for this, one of which involves gritLIT, and, as I said on Twitter, what better time to resurrect something than Easter weekend. This is also, in case you don’t already know, the time to watch Jesus Christ Superstar because of Jesus, obviously, but also because who doesn’t need a little funkiness during their holiday weekend? Also, last year I watched it and LiveTweeted it, and Ted Neely, who was Jesus in the film, retweeted me AND tweeted at me, so GOALS.

But back to gritLIT. This was my second year on the organizing committee and the first time I really felt fully invested and fully a part of the festival. Probably because I knew the ropes more or less, but mostly because I felt I had more of a role this year. The first year on any committee you join is kind of observational – at least for me it is – but this year I was ready to rock. And I did.

As always, the festival opened with an evening of poetry, and this might have been my favourite event of the entire festival. But wait, you say. How can the first event be your favourite, when everything else has yet to come? Well never fear, I would be heard to say after EVERY event “I think that was my favourite” so bear with me. We heard from Robin Richardson, two poets from Hamilton Youth Poets, and then from the incomparable Vivek Shraya. They were all so electric.

Another highlight from Thursday was the chance to hear Iain Reid read from I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which was a book I loved even though it confounded me – or maybe because it confounded me. Rebecca Rosenblum read from So Much Love, (now on my to-read list) and both authors joined us in the hospitality suite after their readings to chat about books and beer and all things Hamilton. It was lovely.

Friday was an action-packed evening, and I was able to join Ann Y.K. Choi, Diane Shoemperlen, Lesley Livingston, and Leslie Shimotakahara for dinner at Rapscallion prior to their readings. And honestly, what a treat to be surrounded by these fabulous authors, so generous with their time, so patient with their answers to questions they’d likely been asked a thousand times before. One of the things I love most about gritLIT and mingling with authors is the mutual respect, admiration, and engagement among them, and that was in full effect at our dinner, and then later on during the readings and the discussions that came after.

Saturday, when I try to recollect it, is a blur. There was an incredible and important conversation with Bev Sellars led by Annette Hamm – everyone needs to read Price Paid, this is not an exaggeration. Then we came to ANOTHER of my favourite sessions, a panel with author Kerry Clare, who read from Mitzi Bytes, and Merilyn Simonds, author of Gutenberg’s Fingerprint. And oh my goodness, the cartoon hearts were shooting from my eyes from the very beginning, and they just didn’t stop. I read and loved both books and adore both authors, but I think the greatest part of their panel was their chemistry, how well-aligned they were, how much they enjoyed the other’s company, how much they enjoyed the other’s writing. Truly lovely, and truly inspirational.

I also was lucky enough to host Kerry’s blogging workshop  later that day which was great, and was also the kick in the ass I needed to find my blogging mojo, so I will be forever grateful to her for that.

This brings us to Saturday night, WHICH WAS MY FAVOURITE.

I have adored Denise Donlon since she first appeared on my television and in my living room hosting The New Music, and I have always been fascinated by her incredible career, so I was over the moon to learn that she would be coming to gritLIT. Her chat with Annette Hamm did NOT disappoint, and she was as charming, funny, and wonderful as I’d always known she’d be. Denise also joined us in the hospitality room Saturday night, so now I can say I’ve had drinks with her – bucket list, check. Denise came back on Sunday for a highly emotional panel that featured Chris Pannell (Love Despite the Ache) and Teva Harrison (In Between Days), and she wowed the audience – and me – yet again. I purchased Denise’s book and she signed it for me, and as she was leaving she hugged me and thanked me for bringing her to gritLIT. And then I pretty much floated down to Mills Hardware for our final gritLIT 2017 event.

There is so much more to say – about the festival, about the incredible authors who joined us, about the wonderful committee who put it all together – but I will stop here. If you were there, thank you for being part of the festival. If you weren’t, I hope we’ll see you next year.

We have our wrap-up meeting next week, then our first planning meeting for the 2018 festival in a month or so. But first? I am just going to nurse this love hangover for as long as it takes.