I will be reading at The Word on the Street in Kitchener’s Victoria Park, Suday afternoon at 1:30, with The New Quarterly team. Look for us in the “Kitchener Radio Group Spotlight Tent.” There are loads of other tents, and readings, and books, and storytellers, and kids’ programming, so here’s hoping for good weather, and lots of friendly faces out and about.
Um, yes, the photo is an unrelated indulgence.Whee!
Publishing alert: my latest published piece is in The New Quarterly’s Extra!, which can be purchased online, or will be included as an added bonus if you choose to subscribe to this wonderful Canadian literary journal (and, please, do subscribe if you don’t already; you will savour the lively mix of fiction, poetry, and essays; and the chance to get acquainted with new and rising writers).
Note that my contribution is a personal essay, not a work of fiction, though the further I get from having written it, the more I wonder … does it really lie somewhere in between, and how the heck can I know?
I will also take this opportunity to let you know that I’ll be reading at Kitchener’s Word on the Street, which takes place in Victoria Park, Sunday, Sept. 26. The time has yet to be pinned down precisely, but it will be sometime during the afternoon. More info forthcoming.
It’s been a good summer, a fast summer, a hot summer that felt like a summer. I’ve ticked most items off of my “summer to-do list.” I’ve canned enough tomatoes to last us through winter (I think), and have filled one whole freezer with fruit and veggies and herbs, too. This morning, I dumped the water out of my canner and put it back into the basement. I’m all out of jars, and my pantry shelves are full. And my mom has promised to can peaches for us, so what more will we need? Yesterday’s canning session took all morning, but it wasn’t hard: one last 1/2 bushel of tomatoes, whose beautiful red flesh I’m looking at right now, glassed in on my countertop.
I fully intended for this week to be about letting the kids enjoy what’s left of their holiday and that’s what it’s been (I hope they’ll concur): sleepovers, playdates, and yes, computer playing. We’ve biked to afternoon swim lessons; we’ve been on one evening picnic; we’ve bought shoes, had eye check-ups and gelato, and we’ve shopped for school supplies at Shoppers Drugmart. Actually, that spree coincided with a moment in my life which I may never forget. The kids were mile-a-minute enthusiastically comparing bandages (Barbie? Star Wars? Pooh Bear?) in the first-aid aisle when I got a call from my agent. It was the kind of call for which every writer quietly waits. She said, Have I caught you at a good time? I said, I’m standing in Shoppers with my kids. She said, check your email when you get home.
I’m struggling with how best to share this news, because it’s tenuous in-between news, neither signed, sealed nor delivered; on the other hand, anyone reading this blog has suffered through the dregs of naval-gazing and self-doubt, and it seems more than fitting to share with you the flip side of the equation–the moments of affirmation. I found myself weeping–not in Shoppers, but later, when I’d had a chance to let the news sink in, yet while it was still fresh and utterly thrilling and overwhelming. Why are you crying, Mommy? Because I’m so happy! (Apparently, that’s how I do happy; it ain’t pretty).
My agent was calling to tell me that I have offers on my Nicaragua book; though the offers didn’t quite arrive in a lump, they came close, in the feast or famine style that is a writer’s fate. Wow. I almost can’t type those words out or trust in them. Might it all evaporate if I look at it too closely, or wave it around too excitedly?
Because it is now the long weekend, I have several completely quiet days to think and to imagine. My agent, who has been with me and with this book for the years that I’ve committed to it, said she wished for me to relax and just enjoy the moment for what it is. Savour it. She, like my husband, gets an inside view of my efforts, hopes and ambitions, and I hear what she’s saying: This is where you are, right now. It took a lot of work to get here. There’s a lot of work ahead. This is one of those rare peaks along the climb, an opportunity, if I let myself take it, to stop for a moment and breathe in the view.