My life, like everyone else’s, has been one kind of journey after another. Many travels and the fun of changing from a kid growing up in Australia to becoming a married lady living in B.C., have been chronicled in my recently published memoir, “Gentle Journey.”
But the learning that goes with living never stops. Despite the number of years it took, writing that book was a joy although getting it actually into print had its frustrations. Consequently, holding a copy for the first time was unbelievably exciting, while launching it among friends and family at my 80th birthday Do Drop In was wonderfully overwhelming. Now there’s one step more and that’s where the Craft Fairs come in: marketing….
The Times has generously placed copies for sale in their Clearwater Office, as has Jerrie Wilkie at Natural Hair but I still went looking for other venues. I visited a local store and then another in Kamloops in hopes of having it visibly for sale on their shelves. “We take 30 per cent,” said the nice man in one location. Ouch! But it got worse. “Our cut is 45 per cent,” the equally pleasant man at another store told my husband John and me.
“I’m barely covering the cost of printing and shipping now,” I moaned to a cashier.
Her response saved the day. “Kay, Christmas is coming and there are craft fairs everywhere.”
I have never spent much time wandering through these, but now I am getting to know them well, and to appreciate them even more. Wide varieties of crafts for sale show skill, hours of concentration, labour, and dedication to detail.
As I stand or sit at my small table, my own books proudly propped up in front of me, I am surrounded by colourful displays of homemade wares. Children’s and winter clothing, quilting, toys, jewellery, woodwork, baking and chocolates, trinkets and treasures, as well as other locally written books abound.
The chattering begins as sellers optimistically set up displays, and continues throughout the day. The hours never seem long for me even when sales aren’t brisk, because there’s always someone to talk to. I had let my Quesnel friends know I was coming to participate in a craft fair there, and several – including a couple who came especially from Prince George – joined me for catch-up time.
“How come you went to Quesnel?” you might wonder if you haven’t yet finished reading Gentle Journey. “Easy to answer,” I respond. “It was towards the end of my second year of teaching in Quesnel that I decided B.C. would be home. And as my good fortune would have it, a month or three later, I met husband-to-be John at McLeese Lake, not far south of Quesnel.”
Most of Clearwater’s craft fairs are over now, but there is one more in Blackpool on Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s close to Christmas for final gift-buying, but don’t be in a rush. Take a deep, relaxing breath as you enter, and absorb the ambience.
Buy as you wish, but also stop to chat with the devoted, hard-working sellers to show your appreciation of the talents they represent. Like me with my book, they are delighted to make a sale, but we all love the conversations with passersby who speak of their own interests and journeys. Take time out to enjoy coffee and munchies. You will be so glad you came. Besides, craft fairs show us what the neighbours have really been up to!