Connection is Everything
by Tricia Dower
Who knew a book tour could be so much fun? Part two of mine took me to
The surprising, glorious
More sun along with kilometres of wow mountains and lakes on the drive to Cow Town. Posters announcing the reading as we entered McNally Robinson’s downtown store, my book in the window—a different kind of wow. The three-story, 20,000-square foot store is impressive and we made our way to the top floor and the restaurant, Prairie Ink, where the reading would take place. More posters along the way. “Hey, there’s Pasha’s book!” I said, pointing it out to Colin. Pasha Malla’s The Withdrawal Method in its bright blue cover.
We were there on that specific date because of the Calgary Freelance Association. They hold their annual meeting/dinner at the bookstore each year and request a “literary event” as a sort of dessert. Madeline and I were it. So I was pleased to see them, about twenty strong, in Prairie Ink when we arrived, tables pushed together for their meeting. We wouldn’t be playing to an empty room. But the store was in a bit of disarray. It’s closing in August and the event coordinator had quit—suddenly, I gathered—leaving the bookkeeper to look after the evening. I last saw him leading the editors on a tour of the store before the reading. We never saw the editors again, either. Another employee was enlisted to introduce Madeline and me.
“I’m the only one who isn’t afraid of public speaking,” she said. “Had I known I’d be doing this I wouldn’t have worn my Pooh shirt.”
She did a fine job and, despite the AWOL editors, the room was full thanks to Colin’s family (two sisters, one brother-in-law, two nieces, four nephews, two with their fiancées); two of his former business associates; Jen’s parents, sisters and book club; Heather and her sister; and the
After a wonderful evening the next night with Jen’s incredible family, it was back on the road again for more wow scenery and an appearance at Inanna’s booth during the Congress of the Humanities at UBC. Hawking books with my editor, schmoozing professors of women’s studies and literature, suggesting they consider incorporating my book in their coursework. What a joy to find people eager to talk about Shakespeare and feminism and social justice. I met a woman from the National University of Ireland who’s completing her doctorate in Shakespearean influences in Canadian literature. She was as excited as I was that she’d discovered my book.
All of these experiences confirmed that what I most enjoy about this publishing experience is having my stories “out there” at last. Sharing them with more and more people. And the best part of the readings is connecting with old friends and making new ones. As Angel in my story Cocktails with Charles says, “Connection is everything.”