Thursday, September 10, 2020

Yes!

Woke up this morning, slightly hungover, to 129 emails in my inbox. Not all from yesterday, of course, though many were. One was from a former student, asking to come buy 8 signed copies later today. Now that's nice.

My friends, it was a wonderful day, spectacular. Everything went smoothly. The Zoom launch - we'd been worried about the screen freezing or other technical problems - none at all. About 35 people joined us; Jason and I bantered, he asked questions and I answered, I read, people sent interesting questions - and at the end, after I read a moving Mary Oliver poem, all were unmuted for a toast. There were the beautiful faces of dear friends from around the world - Nicky from Vancouver Island, Judy in Vancouver, Kathleen in Montreal, Norrey in Halifax, Lynn in Provence, Sheila in New York - what an incredible aid Zoom is. 
Sent by Catherine - one of two screens of familiar faces.

And then the in person event. It was a drizzly morning, but though the day remained overcast, it stopped raining. We were all set up - Debra and Ruth ready to greet people outside, Robin at the door taking names for contact tracing, if needed, Monique at the table to sell books, Sam behind the counter serving wine and cheese and making people laugh, and me outside, signing books.
The giraffe with Ruth, Jason, and Debra
La belle Monique

Incidentally, everyone wore masks in the house, and Curtis wore his lovely Louis Vuitton one outside too.

And then people went into the garden with their books and their wine and sat and chatted. Beautiful to see. There will be more photos soon - my friend Marion shot the whole thing. 
Friend and neighbour Barbara Hall, once Mayor of Toronto, whose younger sister Sheila was my best friend in Grade 4, brought a class picture of us - 1958! Chris came clear across town. Helen and Walter came in from the cottage. Anne-Marie, who doesn't have money to spare, bought 6 books - "For Christmas presents," she said. What a cheering section.

At five, Jason and I did our thing to the crowd in the garden with the mike he'd rented - chatting, me reading, questions. And then it wound down; I ordered gourmet pizzas, Sam went to get them, and the volunteers and core team ate and drank and decompressed. Sam told me Jason is a keeper, he's family now - yes he is - and then left to go to work - Raptors game, a nail-biter. (They won.) And then I was alone.

I wouldn't have changed a thing. Except that I'd imagined - as I always do - far more people. About 25 people came to the house and bought 40 books. I'd planned for people to be lined up outside along the sidewalk. Ridiculous. There was a marvellous crowd - just right, just enough. And this morning, many emails of congrats, others asking where to buy or for me to send. Thank you thank you thank you!

It's dank and gloomy today, but I have work to do, signing and sending books - a big trip to the post office. Leftover pizza for breakfast. And breathing time, to think of what it means to have friends and family who care and who show up, and that this book is at last out, flying on its own in the world. I could not be more grateful.

PS Just realized that the first printing of 100 books is nearly sold out. Will be ordering more today. Woo hoo!

5 comments:

  1. Beth, congratulations! You've shown what the 'birthing' process looks like and it looks very good from here!! Sorry not to have been able to join the online book launch but 35 virtual and 40 in-person guests in these very challenging times is what I would call a success! Will the books be coming to any of the independent bookstores in Ottawa? That is once you do a reprint?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Claire, good to hear from you and many thanks for your good wishes! I've already re-ordered the book. But I don't know if bookstores will stock it until, or unless, it gets some high profile reviews - which is nearly an impossibility. Anyone can order from their local bookstore which will in turn order from the distributor, Ingram. I do suggest the print book which is a lovely thing. I hope your own memoir is going well?

      Delete
    2. Yes, of course! Single Pebble Books is a wonderful independent bookstore very close to where we live. I'll place the order through them. My own memoir is on hold, still, but hopefully not forever! I need to re-read Bird by Bird to get my pen back to the paper! Always something to distract me. Always. Keep well.

      Delete
    3. Fighting distractions is one of a writer's greatest challenges. There are always so many other things to do, besides sitting in a chair poking ourselves in the gut. Hope you get back to it, Claire.

      Delete
  2. So true!Thanks Beth. I hope so too.

    ReplyDelete