I am back from the SIBA Trade Show in Greenville South Carolina, and I must say I am exhausted.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but one difference I certainly noticed from, say The BEA, is that these Southern Publishers are just so darned nice! There were no foiled attempts to make eye contact, no conversations cut short - I mean, people were walking up TO ME, handing me donuts, asking if I wanted some chocolates, and then getting down to the business of discussing books and printing.
This unrelenting friendliness was actually so unexpected and exhausting, that I had to take a break outside on the deck of the Carolina Center every hour or so, just to catch my breath!
I met a bunch of new promising leads, and ran into some old friends - Marti Healy and Barry Doss - who had long ago given up on Italian printing, but now that I am with Imago, may want to discuss business again. Also had a nice chat with authors Rusty McClure (a plot to rig golf tournaments involving a secret society of admirers of the Roman general Cincinnatus) and Lin Stepp (A Smokey Mountain Romance).
After the show, I decided to figure out: Is there an actual "Town" of Greenville? Or is it just this highway with strip malls and this weird scary windowless night club across the street from where my hotel is? In fact I did discover an actual Main Street, which residence say they are fighting hard to revive, to bring back to life after the highways and chain restaurants have destroyed people's daily need or desire to "go into town" to shop, run errands, buy groceries - all the things that small towns used to be there for. That used to make people's lives more interesting, more sociable - that made them get out of their cars and walk around a little bit.
Not surprisingly, I went in search of something to eat, and found a cute little Italian joint where I had a portobello pizza and a glass of wine.
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