I spent the past Saturday selling and signing copies of my books at Ann Chamberlain’s Book Shop at the Arizona Renaissance Faire. Weather predictions for that day had not looked good for more than a week prior to the engagement, and I worried that if it rained, while the Faire would still be open, there might be a small turnout of attendees. It seemed likely to me that lower numbers of people attending the Faire would likely translate into fewer people to talk to about my books, and that would mean fewer new readers. So, I checked the weather stats daily (sometimes hourly) in hopes the forecast would change.
Despite this, I planned my trip, readied my costume (one must dress the part to vend at the Faire), and packed my books. I pride myself on meeting my commitments and IMHO weather, unless it requires a death defying act, is no excuse to opt out of a scheduled event. So, on Saturday morning I drove out—quite a way out, actually—through the sputtering rain to the Renaissance Faire site. I checked in at the office, dashing through the still light, but spattering rain, parked and then let Ann know I had arrived and would need a little help to carry in the boxes of books that I, with high hopes, had brought along. (A good thing, it turns out, as I discovered once the weather cleared.)
Lief, Ann’s assistant (and quite the dashing young man in his kilt, I might add), met me at the gate, and once I showed the appropriate papers to the gatekeeper, I was allowed entry. When I reached the Book Shop, Ann greeted me warmly, as she always does, and we discussed the best location for setting up my book display. Out front was decidedly not a good choice—books and rain, after all do not mix well. The back room, a potential option, just seemed too secluded and out of the way. It was decided to clear a small area of shelf space at one end of the shop and set me up there.
Once I was installed in the Book Shop, the rain turned from intermittent and undecided to temperamental and finally—with a roar and a woosh—to angry with serious intent. It was a deluge, pouring down outside the shop doors, splattering the lower shelves near the door, creating rivers and sending the Jousting ride workers away from their paper boats and under cover. As it rained, I sat in the shop and looked out the window. The participants and workers, whose purpose it is to mix with the attendees and provide the flavor of a real medieval fair, continued to walk by. We would greet one another and exchange a few words, they always staying in character, and after a short time a magical thing happened. I became caught up in the experience.
I watched a variety of people passing by, huddled in their cloaks, some well off with heavy rainproof garments, others with just light cloth to wrap about themselves, all going about their usual “business.” The present slipped away, and I was transported to the past. A past where people walked in the weather, making their way as best they could, to finish errands, perform duties, travel. For just a moment, one I have been savoring off and on throughout the past few days, I was lost in time. It was magical. This, I thought, is why I write, to create moments like this for myself and my readers.