I’ve told the story many times, and with each telling, the ending changes.
Maybe it’s a trilogy or an on-going series. With each year a new twist appears.
Lama Tara reminds me that our lives are like a book. Even when you read the line “The End,” that’s never really the final scene. It’s just the place where the writer stops telling you what happens. Everyone’s path continues; we just don’t know where it goes.
I do know when this story began—September 19, 2006. I went for a walk on Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh and ran into the famous Scottish crime fiction writer, Ian Rankin. Ian is my favourite writer. It’s a very good start to this story.
The rendition of this tale begins when Ian said to me, “When you get back home, tell Alma Lee to invite me to Vancouver to speak at her writing festival.”
I came home and gave the message to the Vancouver International Writing Festival. I never spoke to Alma. (But I googled her and was impressed.) Ian appeared at the festival in 2009. We laughed about our chance meeting and his request. He thanked me for passing along the message. I still had never met Alma Lee.
Two years later, I created the Robbie Burns Reading Marathon event. One of the first invitations I sent out was to Alma Lee. I never heard back, but I am a tenacious soul.
The same invitation went out the following year for the second marathon. She answered, and on January 25, 2013, I finally met Alma Lee. She was absolutely perfect. She was a highlight of the event.
The story could end here…but it doesn’t.
Alma came back to last year’s Burns Marathon and did a special additional reading. By then it was not unusual to be in contact with her about Ian’s appearances in Vancouver or other Scottish happenings around town.
In April, Alma told me about her plan to put on another writing festival—a crime fiction festival.
And that is the beginning of this next chapter.
Last week, we started the major fund-raising for Cuffed, the Vancouver International Crime Fiction Festival. I am the Associate Producer, and I get to work alongside Alma Lee. I sincerely hope you take a look at our campaign and contribute. http://igg.me/at/cuffedfestival
Note to all…if you happen upon Ian Rankin on the side of a mountain, listen to what he says.
This has been a very good story.