Originally set for two days, Oct. 16 and Oct. 18, the autumn-season tribute to creative writing was later condensed to one day when conflicts began to unfold in the schedule of best-selling author Mark Gimenez, a talented novelist hailing from Fort Worth, Texas.
Those conflicts grew far more serious days later with a family member’s death. It was the first time in seven years of public appearances that the professional writer had been forced to pull out of an engagement.
To those without close ties to the literary world or who have little interest in its intrinsic community and people value, such disappointments are minimal. Yet, to organizations like FOLA — an avid partner and 24/7 supporter of the Cleveland Bradley Public Library — it is heartbreaking.
Recruiting a gifted writer of Gimenez’s stature — called by one newspaper review “the next [John] Grisham” — was a literary coup for the Cleveland organization, as well as for the public library.
Gimenez himself, a Texas-based literary genius who is no stranger to FOLA and local book clubs, was as disappointed at the conflicts as his fans many states away in Southeast Tennessee. Many had already paid their fees and confirmed reservations for morning, midday and evening events that would have featured the writer’s personal insight into the marvelous world of creative journalism.
Thankfully, all is not lost.
This is because of the caliber of the writer, his willingness to share his literary cause with others who hold the same passion for the printed word, his love for public libraries and his commitment to make good on an endearing promise. In short, Gimenez wants to come to Cleveland. Subsequently, FOLA will reschedule the Fall Author Luncheon event for late winter or early spring, perhaps within the first week of March 2013.
FOLA had the option of going ahead with the fundraiser this week, provided a last-minute replacement for Gimenez could be secured, but that might have been like replacing Ghirardelli chocolate with a Tootsie Roll. While a Tootsie Roll certainly has its fans, it just “ain’t” the same.
FOLA’s decision to delay the fundraiser is spot on. Of course, holding a Fall Author Luncheon in March will be unique, but creative minds like this group of avid library patrons will find a way.
In the meantime, FOLA now has added opportunity to introduce Gimenez to his Cleveland and Bradley County audience in preparation for when the popular author does appear. New dates will be announced by the group, as well as details on the types of activities that will be held. The original itinerary had included a “Morning With Mark” creative writing workshop and the Fall Author Luncheon during the day, and a “Meet the Author” party and “Evening Book Review and Signing” in the evening.
Rita Cannon, a FOLA board member, will further explore Gimenez’s work locally by submitting reviews to our newspaper over the next few months for each of his novels: “The Colour of Law,” “Accused,” “The Perk,” “The Governor’s Wife,” “Abduction” and “The Common Lawyer.”
Such developments as this unforeseen postponement, even in the literary world, are why somebody once offered, “... the best laid plans of mice and men.”
While it is true most mice do not read, and even their plans do sometimes go awry, word of Gimenez’s eventual arrival in Cleveland will be announced with great roar.
We salute the Friends of the Library Association, and the many achievements its volunteers are making, on behalf of our public library.
We eagerly await Mark Gimenez’s visit to our hometown in just a few short months.