An Incredible Book Journey: Time Was Soft There

Over the next six weeks, I will have the joy of visiting independent bookstores in 23 cities. Follow the trip and meet the many wonderful friends, book people and random characters I encounter along the way.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Homecoming Gig

Of all the readings on the tour, it was the final night in my hometown of Ottawa that made me the most nervous. There is something comforting about appearing before strangers: At the end of the event, whether it be a grand success or a dismal failure, you will never see the audience again. In Ottawa, it was family - my mother, father, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin - and friends - from high school, from university, from the newspaper, from the courthouse. It's not so much that I felt I had to impress these people, but at all costs I did not want to let them down.

I think things went fairly well. The event was held at Collected Works, a great independent bookstore in the Westboro neighbourhood. As Charlie Gordon, a great writer and an early inspiration, said, it's a great place to have a reading because it is so intimate it always feels like it is a full house. In the end, we had about 25 or 30 people and there was mulled wine and a generally festive atmosphere. Afterward, we had a little party at my parents' house with more wine and beer and a great spread of cheese and such. It was, despite my initial reluctance, a perfect way to end the tour.

My father Ross, my sister Beth, my mother Patricia.

My cousin Mike and his wife Laura.

Two of my dearest friends, Will and Julie.

This was particularly amazing. Helen and Albert fell upon the wondrous Atlantis Books while touring Greece this past summer. They learned of the reading from the Atlantis site and Helen actually took the bus down from Montreal to attend.

And this, of course, is the incomparable Jake Rupert.