On the weekend of June 8 and June 9, 2013, Printer’s Row Lit Fest was held on a block of Dearborn where printing and publishing houses were located. In previous years, I have only ever attended Lit Fest as a casual observer of the beautifully bound vintage books, the old movie posters, the speakers, panels, and cooking demonstrations. This year, working with Here’s the Story, I helped man the table where we sold t-shirts, talked about our organization, and my gumball machine poem dispenser made its debut.
My overall experience of Printer’s Row Lit Fest was a warm one. In addition to the heat pounding on the tops of our heads, we were met by the warm words of countless people who stopped by at the Here’s the Story table. Setting up a gumball machine dispensing poems printed on brightly colored paper meant that people stopped to buy poems, take pictures, or talk to the poet and the organization that supported her.
With the exception of one vocal person.
“No, those aren’t candy, those are poems, you don’t want those,” a man said as he tugged on the hand of his son who was maybe eight years old tops.
I don’t know if he knew that I had heard him, but my outward reaction was a theatrical one for the benefit of the group that had stopped to buy poems.
“Ouch,” I said, clutching at my heart as if I had been mortally wounded by the unintentionally barbed words. “Happy Lit Fest!”