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2020 Edible Book Festival: My edible hourly book adventure

April 6, 2020
Kathleen M Smith
Edible Book Festival 2020

For this year's Edible Book Festival celebration, I was inspired by another annual festival, the Hourly Comic Day that takes place on February 1st (here are just a few examples from 2020, 2019, and 2018).

Since we could not celebrate in person and the festival took place online, I decided to craft my own narrative in an hourly format, bringing in as many references to books as possible. Each hour, from 8AM to 7PM, I posted another chapter on the Edible Book Festival Slack channel. Below is the entire story, collected for your enjoyment.

**********

8AM
Good morning and happy April 1st!! When I opened the refrigerator this morning, I was greeted by a surprising sight:

Image of a carton of eggs inside a refrigerator with a spiderweb that reads "Some Egg"

An enterprising and friendly spider has left me a message! I wonder what will happen when I look inside the carton of eggs...

9AM
Inside the egg carton, one of the eggs is a little unusual…

Image of an egg carton, in which one egg is green

Are those... dragon scales...?

Image of an egg that is green

Curiouser and curiouser! And there's a scratching sound coming from it, almost like it's starting to hatch...

10AM
When I took it out of the refrigerator, the scratching got stronger and more urgent...

Close up of a green egg
until finally the egg shattered impatiently and this odd little creature crawled out! What a strange, malformed beastie--are those tiny stubby wings on its back? I wonder what it could be...

Image of a strange reddish creature

11AM
My extensive Google reverse-image search turned up only one possible result: a dry, spicy sausage called Sujuk that is eaten from the Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia.

Screen shot of Google Image search, with a sausage as the result

I think I'll have to turn to the scholarly sources for this one...


12PM
Success! This book Mythic Creatures and the Impossibly Real Animals Who Inspired Them (catkey 12443985) has images that look more like my mysterious guest. On page 136, this illustration depicts the “legendary dragons of Mount Pilatus, Switzerland, which were said to cause terrible storms.”
Image of the book about mythic creatures

Image of a Swiss dragon

Here's a closer match on my creature's odd purple-red hue: on page 159, I found this image of “a legend about Chinese Zen Buddhist sage Huineng (638-713 CE), [in which] Huineng persuades a fierce and destructive dragon to shrink small enough to fit into his rice bowl.” Oh no! Sounds like this little monster could be some serious BAD NEWS!!

Image of a red dragon in a book

But no time for more research—I’m hearing mournful howls and tiny whimpers from a Very Hungry Creature. I wonder what it eats…

1PM
I did my best to feed this hungry dragon! All manner of consumables dug out of the depths of my kitchen, from pecans to peppermints, walnuts to watermelon jerky, were paraded in front of this finicky beast, but it turned up its nose at each offering.

Image of a reddish dragon refusing to eat

In desperation I finally offered up a grocery ad, thinking that this baby tyrant might at least move towards an image of the food it preferred. To my surprise, it hungrily seized upon the NEWSPAPER ITSELF, devouring it rapaciously and chirping eagerly for more. Could it be… Is this creature possibly that most elusive of beasts, the rare and reclusive BOOK WYRM??
Image of a red dragon eating a newspaper

I wonder what my cat will think of this…


2PM
The BOOK WYRM gulped and devoured all of the books, magazines, and newspapers I was willing to sacrifice, its attention fully on satisfying its all-consuming hunger. Since it was thus distracted, I decided to seize this opportunity to introduce it to my feline companion:

Image of a cat sniffing a weird reddish creature

My traumatized feline companion chose to hide under the couch for the rest of the day, which she spent musing on the ephemeral yet inevitably tragic quality of our existence.

Image of a cat lying under a sofa gazing into the distance


3PM
In the blink of an eye, the BOOK WYRM finished its appetizer of junk food and scuttled to the main course—a shelf stuffed with tasty (and nutritional!) tomes and exquisite exhibit catalogs. Making short work of the well-done works, the ravenous critter gulped down the rest of the bookcase, scarcely tasting them in its haste to quell its clamorous hunger, and soon the entire bookcase stood empty. And still the BOOK WYRM eats and eats and eats…

Image of a red dragon eating books

What will happen when it runs out of books…?


4PM
As the BOOK WYRM gulped the last bound volume and settled back with a contented sigh, its stubby wing spines quivered and began to unfurl into peculiar little wings. It looked around, flapped its wings experimentally several times, then yawned deeply and hiccupped twice. And then... it rose to its feet, stretched the full length of its body like a cat, and ambled towards the door…

Image of a dragon with tiny wings

What will happen now…?

5PM
As the BOOK WYRM approached the door, I hastily opened it. The tiny creature yawned, paused on the threshold to sniff the air and shake itself, and then hunkered down into a hesitant crouch. “In or out, little one,” I murmured, well-versed in the ways of contrary beasts. The BOOK WYRM glared at me reproachfully for a moment, then stepped outside tentatively...

Image of a red dragon on the doorstep


Once it reached the stairs, it flapped its majestic alabaster wings and rose unsteadily into the air. Circling the building three times, it uttered such piercingly triumphant shrieks of joy that the whole block thought my next door neighbor was practicing her electric trumpet again, before it finally disappeared in a sudden shower of thunder and lightning and binding fragments.

Image of a dragon flying

As I closed and bolted the door, gazing with resignation at the drool-covered shreds of paper littering my empty shelves, I thought to myself, “I better check on the REST of those eggs…”

6PM: THE END

Image of a carton of eggs inside a refrigerator with a spiderweb that reads "Oh No"

(Special thanks go out to my Very Special Guest Star BOOK WYRM [marzipan, beet root powder, whole cloves, macaroni wing spines, and string cheese wings] as well as to my very patient feline companion.)
Have a great evening, everyone, and thanks for celebrating the 2020 Edible Book Festival!!


7PM: EPILOGUE

While the fledgling BOOK WYRM roams the boundless distant skies...
my feline companion, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
in the cozy window nook right beside my dwelling's door;
her eyes have all the gleaming of a sentinel, never dreaming,
the waning sunlight streaming the shadow of her lonely vigil 'gainst the floor;
and her soul from its watchful torment as she awaits her nemesis' return
shall be lifted--by some kitty treats!

Image of a cat looking out a window


Keep watching the skies--only 364 days until the Edible Book Festival returns in 2021...

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