It seems that the Alabama Humanities Alliance has deep-sixed the Alabama Book Festival for the foreseeable future. I exchanged some messages with a couple of their reps online, who told me they're not having one this year, and probably not next year either.

I asked whether it was the lingering effects of the pandemic, or a downturn in the market, or just a changing priority for the organization, and I got somewhat muddled answers. They shut down in 2020 as a response to covid, and that combined with fundraising difficulties and changes in the organization have taken the wind out of their sails.

I've only exhibited at one actual book festival, which was the one in Decatur (Georgia) in 2019. I made some sales and had an interesting time, but it was way too expensive for me as a bootstrapper. I did about as well at a couple of free small-town affairs last year, even though they weren't book festivals and I was the only author there.

I think it's sad how many book festivals shut down or went "virtual" because organizers decided to let the pandemic panic pornographers take the lead.

Maybe people are reading less these days. Well, more tweets and posts, fewer books. Maybe the book publishing industry has gone woke/broke and sloughed off legions of readers and writers. I don't know. But I'm looking for some revivals.

Let me know if you think of any.

Rest in peace, cuz. Thanks to God you found such a beautiful love before you left us.

Tom Waits wrote a song for you. It says:

In the land, there's a town And in that town there's a house And in that house there's a woman And in that woman is a heart I love. I'm gonna take it with me when I go.

There's a famous episode from the old TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinatti" in which the station's uber-dweeby weatherman Les Nessman arranges for live turkeys to be dropped from a helicopter for a Thanksgiving stunt. Of course, it turns into a bloody debacle as they crash en masse on the pavement in front of horrified onlookers. Les's memorable line: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"

I don't know about farm turkeys bred for the table, but I can tell you that wild turkeys can fly. I've seen it. It's not pretty or graceful, it's loud flapping in an awkward fury, but as an escape device, it does the job.

I was out in the pines walking the dogs when I heard the commotion. Lena, the hyperactive GSP, had scared up a wild turkey. I looked and saw the big tom pounding the air with its wings and rising with weighty insistence up and over the tops of the (easily) 40-foot loblollies. I had in the past seen one fly up to a tree branch maybe 20 feet off the ground, but this was more impressive. The canopy obscured its path and I wasn't able to follow it, so I don't know how far it flew. I just knew it successfully evaded the fastest, most energetic and pound-for-pound strongest dog I know.

As God is my witness, I know turkeys can fly.