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Ed. note: Once again, our trusty intern Laurel Janeen Smith is on the case, this time chatting up the final Lit Fest party. Next up is the report from the Business weekend, where no one was spotted crying this year. Thanks, Laurel!
What better way to mourn the ending of Lit Fest than a garden party with two open bars? Well I suppose we could have had a garden party with two open bars, a live circus and Mike in a clown suit… Andrea, are you getting this down for next year? Nevertheless, even without circus performers, Saturday night’s party rocked with good food, good conversation and some of the most aggressive mingling I have ever seen.
If there is one thing Lighthouse members have in common (besides being writers, of course) it is that they like to talk. I came to the party not knowing anyone besides a few people I had met in workshops, but I found myself chatting with dozens of people. Every time I found myself standing alone, even if it was just for a moment, someone would swoop in, grab me by the shoulder and ask me a thousand questions like: what am I doing at the Lighthouse, how do I like it, what kind of writing do I do, what do I study at school, what am I passionate about, where did I come from, where am I going and what is my life philosophy? Whew, I never imagined the Lighthouse crowd would be more exhausting than my college friends.
If there is one thing I learned at the soiree, it’s that as soon as you step inside the Ferril, the Lighthouse will grab you by the right hand (or left if you’re a lefty) and won’t let go until your passions are sparked, your writing is improved and you’ve learned a little bit about the biz. Even after all that you will be lucky to get away. The Lighthouse is a community that looks out for all its members. It supports us, and keeps us going when the writing is hard, and let’s face it, its always hard.
One great symbol of the Lighthouse community was presented at the Litfest closing party. The Beacon Award represents the great partnership and mutual appreciation between students and faculty, and the skills, support and inspiration that a faculty member graciously shares with his/her students. A committee of board members and Lighthouse members decides the award recipient based on essays written by students. Selections of these essays were read, and they were powerful, showing not only what great writers we have, but also how much they have gained from the Lighthouse faculty.
The 2008 award was announced first. It was supposed to be awarded in April but we had that freak spring snowstorm so not too many made it to the award ceremony. So in true Lighthouse fashion in front of students, faculty, board members and New York agents and editors, Bill Henderson was re-awarded the Beacon Award.
Following Bill, the Lighthouse board awarded Alexandre Philippe the 2009 Beacon award. As Alexandre took the microphone and accepted the award, his voice caught and Andrea was brought to tears, which spurred Alexandre’s tears. Soon everyone was sniffling. These people are family, and they are so happy to have each other, I thought.
After the award ceremony it was back to the hanging around the bars, meeting new faces and sharing smiles and stories.
I snuck out just after the sun set and people were dispersing. I waved goodbye to the Lighthouse community happy to be apart of it. Bring it on out world. I’ve got Lighthouse by my side now.