Friday, April 29, 2011

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

I'll start with where I'm going: I'll be signing copies of Moonlight Sketches at Coles bookstore in the Avalon Mall (St. John's) from 2-4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, April 30).
Books in waiting.

It'll be my first ever signing and I'm more calm about that fact than I thought I would be. I guess after getting through the book launch on zero sleep, with all the pressures that came with that event, spending a couple of hours just signing books for people who buy them, chatting to folks while I sit, doesn't sound like a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. There's no pressure or stress there because--despite my tendency to be a hermit--I actually love talking to people. It's one of my favorite things in life. Don't call me on the phone, mind you.  Can't stand that apparatus. But meeting new people or greeting those I haven't seen in a while is one of life's greatest pleasures.

I've actually never been to a booksigning. I recall one in St. John's a few years ago from a very famous Canadian author, who shall remain nameless, who just seemed so gruff with everyone and couldn't wait to get out of there. That was a reading, open to the general public but mostly attended by an academic audience. I would have thought the guy would be grateful that anyone even cared to show up. But, no, apparently you get to that point in your career (at least some do) when you start to take it for granted there'll be a crowd and you'll think to yourself, I've got better things to do than to be here. He got paid to be there too, and all these people had bought his books. All they wanted was to meet him, have a few words if possible and ask him to please sign their copy. Not too much to ask, considering the price of books these days. Not that the author sees all that much of the cover price, but it's the thought that counts--the mere fact that somebody not only put out their hard-earned money for something you'd written, but, even more important, were willing to invest a few precious hours reading your words....and STILL cared enough about you and your words, even after reading them, to want to meet you and ask for a few pen strokes on the inside cover.

I just remember thinking to myself: Self, if you ever get in that position, treat people with kindness because they deserve no less. So whether I see 2 people tomorrow, or 200 people, expect me to be the same. All I know is, I'll be thrilled to see you there. Oh, and if you miss tomorrow's signing, there is another one--that includes a reading from Moonlight Sketches and a meet-and-greet--at Chapters in St. John's on May 15.

It's been a veritable whirlwind since the book launch. With the end of the academic semester, I've met countless previously-neglected friends for coffee or lunch, done radio interviews, and am working on several articles while reading the manuscripts of others, all the while hoping to eventually get time to finish my novel manuscript, to be submitted to my publisher some time this summer.

If you missed it, by the way, The Newfoundland Herald had a two-page excerpt from Moonlight Sketches and a bio, while the WANL (Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador) newsletter, called WORD, featured a column I'd written on my journey towards publication, including some advice for would-be writers. Somewhere in there, I managed to finish adjudicating the 2011 short fiction competition for the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick--a process I enjoyed thoroughly as I read each and every submission from beginning to end. I felt I owed these beginning writers no less than my full attention, as a show of respect for their commitment to their craft.

There's been tons more happening, but I won't bore you with all the details. I just wanted to fill you in on some of it and assure you I'll try to be a little more diligent about giving you the latest news and musings as the spring comes on and the summer spreads her hand.


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