Wednesday, 17 October 2012

“and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?

To have got to the end of  my adventure into the depths of the book wonderland that is Wigtown, and to have not mentioned the bookshop’s feels almost like a crime.  Perhaps, I am in denial about how many books I returned home with.  The answer is twelve, twelve books.  Two or three books I could have justified, but I am struggling to justify why I need twelve new books, when I have eight unread books sitting at home, and I am getting a Kindle for Christmas.  The charm of the second-hand bookshops just like a charm of a handsome man has sucked me in, that’s the story and I am sticking with it.   

My two weeks of being one of the journalism interns at the festival is over and has brought me to the conclusion that Wigtown is like retreat for writers, and other creative individuals. But coincidently with the amount of books you will be returning home with, you might find yourself needing to visit rehab or book buyers anonymous.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

The comfort of being surrounded by so many books and people who love books is wondrous.  Big chain bookstores do not capture the essence of book love on the same level. You don’t walk into a chain store to be greeted by the musty smell of old books, the elegance of leather bound covers that have survived the times, or a warm fire.  Fire in a bookstore, trust me the atmosphere created is worth the potential hazard.

Even when the bookstores are closed the atmosphere is one of wonder, with the clear dark skies and the stars shining brightly.  If you haven’t already, take two minutes to just stop and gaze at the Wigtown sky at night. 

There really is something for every niche in the arts at this festival: from music, poetry, theatre, book sculptures, grass weaving and of course literature. But at the heart of it what makes the festival so wonderful are the visitors, the staff, the community, and the volunteers with their warmness and enthusiasm. 

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