The call came less than a week before Valentine’s Day. I was on the waiting list to be a speaker at the Carrot Tree restaurant here in Williamsburg. There had been a cancellation and the owner called to see if I could fill in on such short notice. “It’s scheduled for Valentine’s Day,” he said. “Can you do it or do you have other plans?”
“My book is titled The Art of Love,” I replied. “It would be a perfect match for your high tea event on Valentine’s Day.”
I don’t know what High Tea was like back in the day. At the Carrot Tree’s Tea in the twenty-first century it is a weekly experience enjoyed by a crowd of nearly fifty. They come to the restaurant mid-afternoon to sample finger sandwiches, pastries, and, of course tea. They chat, they eat, they sip, and they hear from guest speakers: local professors, artists and authors. It serves as a pleasant respite mid-week during the winter and early springtime.
I brought copies of my books and spoke about The Art of Love. I read passages that defined the main characters and presented the key themes of the book: love, relationships, family dynamics and religion. Then I took questions. “Do you ever hit a writers’ block?” someone asked. “Do you ever have trouble finding something to write about?”
“I’m never at a loss for something to write,” I answered. “Every day I see something new, experience something new, meet a new person, listen to them tell a new story. There are always new plots. I write fiction so I get to add things to turn my daily experiences into better stories. I have plenty to write about and many more stories to come.”
“Will you come back to another Carrot Tree High Tea?”
“I hope so. I will always have new stories for you. Maybe not as fitting as The Art of Love on Valentine’s Day, but there will be other stories to tell.”
Peter Stipe is the author of Finding Our Way; a collection of short stories, and The Art of Love, a novel. www.Peter Stipe.com Facebook: PeterGStipe