Beyond Books: The OMFLit MIBF experience
The other reason was to participate in an amazing race that was launched by OMF Literature, a bookstore which also occupied a considerable area at the exhibit floor that time. They also had a very large draw that afternoon judging by the endless queues at the cashiers, the hundreds of freebies (including new books) being given away every hour and the presence of several authors signing autographs.
Mark Plaza, a very good friend of mine, dragged me to be his partner for this unique race. We were set to complete 10 tasks and then blog about the experience afterwards. The tasks, I must say, do not involve strenuous physical activity. These can be breezed through a careful strategy and for the most part, chutzpah, in every sense of the word.
That is why Mark and I were able to finish all the tasks in less than an hour or so. This is largely in part because we divided some of the tasks among ourselves. Three in the group does not have to be accomplished at SMX. The tenth task was actually ‘to write a blog entry or a series about your whole MIBF experience.’ It was also helpful that one (i.e., Task # 4: Help out and be a bagger at our manual counter for 15 minutes.) was taken down at the last minute. That left us with just six to begin with.
The experience was both fun and rewarding. We had great time talking to strangers and of course, wearing silly hats at another booth. But what was probably the most memorable for me was going up the stage to talk about my small blog. I like to tell friends of my blog but not in front of hundreds of strangers. This indeed something that I have never imagined doing one Saturday afternoon in my life. I managed to survive the challenge that thankfully lasted for just a few seconds.
After completing the other tasks, we then swept through the hall one more time to look for other book hunts that we may have missed. Looking back now, I may have already exhausted my imaginary annual book budget that weekend too. But I’d like to believe that this is a worthwhile investment even in an increasingly digital age. There’s simply nothing like the smell and touch of a good page, both of which would never be replicated in a techy tablet PC.
But my first MIBF was not just about buying books which I hope to read all of it a year’s time. The bargain books are already given every MIBF. But our experience that afternoon was truly priceless. Thanks to OMFLit’s amazing race, I must say that this is something that I would never forget for a long, long time.
This is Mark Plaza’s and Brennan Mercado’s official entry to and the 10th task of the OMF Lit Bloggers MIBF Adventure contest.