NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 16, 2014

Literary festival opened up a new world


Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

The Newburyport Literary Festival is more than just a collaboration of authors and readers. It is even more than a celebration of literature; this festival sometimes is a life changer, as it has been for me.

The first time I attended the festival was about six years ago. I had just started writing again and had recently come to the decision I could not pursue a writing career through a college degree.

While many mothers have this amazing ability to balance work, school and home, I was not one of them. My children needed me and I missed them, but I was not going to give up on what I wanted.

That year, I read about the festival in the paper and knew that I needed to go but had no idea that it would inspire me so much. After spending the day in a place where people loved what I loved, I felt as I had come home.

Years before then, when I was a teenager, I would drive from Haverhill to the Old Book Shop where they sold antique books.

It felt like walking into someone else’s life. No one I knew liked to read or write. Not one person could understand how I could spend a whole afternoon just looking at books. When I was in this shop, I could forget where I came from, forget all the odds stacked against me. It was only in here that I could see the woman I wanted to grow up to be.

Even now when I am in Newburyport, more so when I attend this festival, I’m reminded that I’ve come a long way.

The first time I went I felt so inexperienced in the writing world, but now it is a weekend celebrating with people I’ve met along the way. The conversations with other writers rejuvenate my pursuit of a successful writing career. I feel at home and home feels so wonderful!

Thank you so much for holding this event each year,

Susan LaFortune

Haverhill