The affair was billed as a mystery writers’ conference. Its official title was The Cape Fear Crime Festival, held last Saturday in Wilmington, North Carolina. But for The Old Word Cobbler, who was attending his first such affair, It was more than just another conference. The affair had the friendly flavor of a family reunion and the comfortable passion of a Sunday church service.
It was evident from the beginning of events, an informal gathering for pizza and drinks on Friday evening, that this was a gathering of old friends, one that at first made me feel like an interloper. But that feeling disappeared in less time than it took me to type that last sentence.
I have read many times that writers of mystery novels are the friendliest group of people in the world. I now can make that statement based on first hand experience. I’ll not attempt to list all the people I met because I know I’d never remember them all. Assuming the CFCF site is still up, a list of participants can be found there.
And did I mention passionate? Not passionate in the sense of zealots who say my way or die, but a group of people who have genuine enthusiasm for, and enjoy a common goal while respecting alternate ways of accomplishing it.
As a compliment, I call them tomato growers. Every person who grows tomatoes has a different way to go about it. But in the end every tomato produced is a tasty and enjoyable fruit. And so it is with mystery writers. Love’em all.
The only downer during the weekend was that The Old Cobbler didn’t wear the proper shoes for the weekend. I got my feet wet going to the pizza party on Friday night; woke up on Saturday morning with a full-blown head cold. What I had to say during the day probably was too clear or easily understood. Sorry about that.
And one last thing. I’ve had a love affair with the Wilmington region since I first lived there over forty years ago. I’m including a cover of Susan Whitfield’s book, which is set in Wilmington, in hopes that someday, it's reproduced as a large poster for framing and I get lucky enough to get my hands on one.
The cover reminds me of the many sunsets I've seen over the Cape Fear River.
Yeah, it’s called shameless begging.