Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Always Starts at the Miami Book Fair

My birthday would not go off just right without its formal debut every year at the annual Miami Book Fair. So, Fifi and I headed downtown to the street market to load up there on all the book bargains, holiday gifts and stacks of interesting used books that easily fill supersized tote bags.

Sunday was a gorgeous day in the 70's as a cool front just passed through. It was such fun to stroll from booth to booth, munch on a kebab from one of the many ethnic food stands and enjoy just being together in the mass of eclectic humanity marching out there for the good novel, the how to book, the antiquarian map, the mystical, the non-fiction, the book readings and signings and any celebrities that may by chance be taking a walk. Fifi pointed out actor George Hamilton, so you never know who will pass by.

I've got great memories of this fair that go back to the early 90's, when Harry Lebelson, my writing partner, and I used to find lucrative writing opportunities right there. One funny one comes to mind. It was pouring and the booths were under tarps and see through heavy plastic curtains, but Harry and I trudged out there, determined to find editor Carlos Roman to sell him ideas for Almanaque Mundial, the Latin World Almanac.
We finally discovered him almost hidden behind some plastic, and there we all were checking out slides and material which he wound up purchasing right there! That meeting was the core for the eventual publication of our successful 224 page book OVNI,La Entera Verdad (UFO's, the Whole Truth) edited by Carlos back in 1993.

I often think about my venture to Florida from New York so many years ago and the questions I had at that juncture. What would happen with my writing career and would I make new friends? Well, fortunately for me, my family has had many blessings in Miami and I attribute them to the wonderful friends we've made in what is supposed to be a transient town.

Well, the rest of the day went as beautifully. From the fair we went to Brian's where Fifi's beautiful Elizabeth played with Aaron's beautiful Ayana, where there were presents, many of them, and they all seemed to point to the west. Fifi gave me an Italian leather-bound big fat journal which is destined be used to recount ever more rockhounding tales. Brian's most fun gift was a big pail of sapphire bearing gravel from Gem Mountain in Montana and he surprised with a huge butter creme birthday cake we are still eating.
I always receive beautiful tribal jewelry and this year brought handmade treasures from Brian and Robert plus a birthday bracelet of unusual style and beauty that Chiaz created in my presence.

Friendship is the most valuable thing we have after good health,a home and food and I thank all of you, my friends and family, for all that you do for me, and for the rest of the world that is blessed as I am by all your good energies.

Photos from top to bottom:
Fifi and I at the Miami Book Fair street show.
Chiaz created himself in a silver cut out as a yei bichei spirit on my birthday bracelet.
Chiaz and I ready for more birthday cake
Elizabeth, Fifi and I at Brian's