We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. ~ Anonymous

Happy Monday, Dear Reader! This post finds me in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I’ll be giving my motivational talk “Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Memories” tonight at 7pm. Elmhurst Public Library.

Details HERE: http://andrawatkins.com/event/elmhurst-il-public-library/

And if you live in greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I have numerous events in the area this week. Check out my event calendar HERE for all the details.

I’d love to meet you!

I close out my week in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. I’m headlining Round Lake Beach AuthorFest on Saturday, July 30. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi.

And if you know people in greater Chicago/greater Milwaukee, PLEASE share this post with them and encourage them to make a memory with me. Meeting current and potential readers is my life blood. I love hearing your stories, knowing your voices and faces, and sharing time one-on-one with you.

It’s the BEST WAY to band together and keep life from escaping us.


This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

featured by chicago tribune

My upcoming appearance at Elgin Literary Festival was featured by Chicago Tribune! Read all about it above.

Are you in the greater Chicago area? Do you know someone who is? Please share this post and invite them to Elgin Literary Festival. January 29 and 30, 2016. Hemmens Cultural Center. Elgin, Illinois.

I was invited to be a featured author and moderator at the Elgin Literary Festival in Elgin, Illinois. In its second year, the Elgin Literary Festival is a celebration of the arts, with venues all over downtown. The Chicago Tribune heralded the 2015 event. To follow the event in real time, head over the the festival’s Facebook page and give it a Like. You can find it HERE.

To help raise funds to support the festival, I donated two signed copies of of To Live Forever and Not Without My Father for purchase during the holiday season. My appearance is at 10am Saturday, January 30, on the Hemmens Cultural Center’s Exhibition Hall stage. I’ll sign and sell books from 11am – 1pm Saturday, January 30.

(From Side Street Studio Arts Website)

The Elgin Literary Festival is a celebration of the written word taking place in Downtown Elgin, a blooming center of the arts.  The Festival aims to highlight bookish culture and provide writers and readers a place to create and appreciate the art of writing, all within the charming architecture and welcoming businesses that are the soul of the City of Elgin.

Area Author Karly Kirkpatrick is teaming up with Side Street Studio Arts and the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission to bring together Elgin business and organizations to host and be featured within the inaugural Elgin Literary Festival. The Festival will feature readings, book signings, discussion panels, activities for children, and much more at various Downtown Elgin locations.

You can see the complete ELF schedule in this downloadable pdf.

To find a map and directions to Elgin Literary Festival, go to my website event page HERE.


Was she there before she was here, she asks? Well, let me tell ya….

Every day we live passes methodically and in most cases unremarkably. Sure, there are the landmark dates; the birthdays, the anniversaries, the varied special or Hallmark dates that we feel inspired or compelled to take note of. May 22, 1997 was not one of those ‘important’ dates. Maybe its significance came as it marked the transition when the warmth of the Spring day finally triumphed and carried over into the night.

It was the night that I remember. I was living in one of a long string of easy sublets that I habituated in my time in Chicago; this one was a three-month stint in a three-lobed tower at the south end of the Loop. Restless and rootless, I went to see a film–don’t recall what film–at the Fine Arts Theater in the old Studebaker Building on Michigan Avenue. Afterwards I found myself wandering about the city, a flaneur with the flat patois of the upper midwest.

I recall seeing a girl waiting to cross the street. In the bright moonlight she struck me as cute, at least from my distance. The light changed and she crossed. For a moment I thought of following her. But I didn’t; then she was gone. I headed off into Grant Park, eluding the aim of Bowman and Spearman, the two Indian Warriors that guard the entrance on Congress Ave. Once ensconced in the darkness of the park, the soundtrack of the night rose in my ears.

I knew this was more than a simple full moon; in honor of the occasion, the haunting sound of the Cowboy JunkiesBlue Moon Revisited” had been echoing off the bare walls in my apartment earlier that night.  Now, shrouded in the lonesome night, I was no longer listening to it. It was speaking to me. Painfully.

Who was it that caught my eye that night, then disappeared? Was the girl even real? All I know is that when I saw her again, five years later at a little cafe in Charleston, I did not hesitate.

Too Much is Just Enough: Remembering the signs and realizing they were true.