The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Trip to Helper

A Trip to Helper

Thursday, June 4th, I was invited to help kick off the Teen Summer Reading Program at the Helper City Library. A chance to hang out with some kids and talk about reading and books? Sign me up!

I’d never been to Helper before, and it turned out to be a quaint, quiet little town. I found the library without any trouble. But I guess when there is a giant statue of a man with a pick-axe it front of the library it makes it a pretty recognizable landmark.

Amanda the Librarian was a wonderful hostess and made me feel right at home. She had a table set up for me and refreshments. A group of kids were already working on making personalized hardback books when I arrived. It looked like a lot of fun and I asked for a copy of instructions so I could make one of my own later.

I made a short speech about the importance of creative writing and reading and then fielding questions from the sizable crowd (I’d say maybe 30 or 35 people were there). After the Q&A, I sold some copies of my book. It was a lot of fun to mingle with the crowd and learn more about Helper (pop. 1,800).

Amanda had planned to take me to dinner after the event, but something came up and so she asked some of her friends to take me instead. “The Sweeties” took me to the Balanced Rock Pub and CafĂ© where we enjoyed some delicious sandwiches and delightful conversation. We talked about my book and about writing and Mr. Sweetie told me all the ghost stories he knew about the ghosts haunting the Helper museum. Spooky!

And speaking of spooky—the sun was on its way down by the time I headed out of Helper and started the two-hour drive home. I had been listening to Just After Sunset by Stephen King on audio CD and, just my luck, the scariest story in the collection played as I drove home in the dark down a winding, twisting canyon road. As much as love stories by Stephen King, I learned the hard way that they are best read in the safety of your own living room.