I asked Joelle Anthony, author of RESTORING HARMONY, to choose one lucky commenter to receive the autographed copy of her book. After a complicated selection process that involved calculating the square root of pi and sacrificing several small mammals, Joelle chose blog commenter ~ M (also known as Mary Alongi). Congratulations, Mary! Email me with your address and I'll get the book to you ASAP!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.
I traveled to Salem, OR this past weekend to take part in the 20th Annual Grape Stomp Competition at Willamette Valley Vineyards.
Participants compete in pairs with the "stomper" using bare feet to crush grapes, and the "swabber" using a dipstick-like device to keep the drain clear and the juice flowing into the milk jugs.
I stomped. My dad swabbed.
Something went awry with our drain tube, and despite my dad's best efforts, we couldn't get it clear. On top of that, the teenager I asked to take video of the five-minute event manged to record exactly one second of footage of me stepping out of the barrel.
But this is exactly what I wanted. A learning experience.
Though it's possible I'd do this event even if I didn't have an ulterior motive, I do have one. The third book in my contract, LET IT BREATHE, takes place in the Oregon wine industry. Though it won't be released until August 2012, it's never to early to look for interesting promotional opportunities.
I don't know yet if the 2012 Grape Stomp might be a good place for a book signing, or if my time might be better spent lighting my hair on fire and screaming "buy my book!" as I fling grape pulp at the competitors.
But I do know how the event works now. I know that next time, I'll watch the earlier heats to see which barrels have trouble draining. I know I'll spend more time finding someone to take video. I know
It's a bit like writing, no? Even if some of your earliest efforts are abysmal failures in terms of publication or feedback, they aren't wasted efforts. You learn from those efforts, and those lessons will serve you well with future books.
What are some learning experiences you've had so far in your writing? Please share.
And speaking of sharing, here are some of the lovely photos my mother took on Saturday. Enjoy!
|A plethora of grapes await stomping.|
|Dad scopes out the barrels before the competition.|
|A little pre-competition beverage.|
|Sizing up the competition before the whistle blows.|
|Wow, this stomping is lasting on a long time.|
|Yay, team! Oh, wait – we sucked.|
|My grape stomping machines.|
|Getting cleaned up afterward.|
|Standing in line to get our juice strained and measured.|
|Hanging with my parents!|