This month I’ve had the pleasure of reading in two different venues, for very different audiences. The first was at the Salt Spring Library, alongside two lovely women, Kathy Page and Kathleen Winter, for their Women Write event, the day after International Women’s Day. In torrential rains I made my way via ferry from this island to that one, and took shelter in a coffee shop for the best vanilla latte I’ve had in years at JJ Beans, then supped on soup and red wine at ShipStones before the reading, all the while believing that we three writers might be reading to each other and the librarian who so kindly asked us to read. I was happily proven wrong, when over forty people of various ages filled the room and listened attentively as we all read our work, and then, answered audience questions about the writing process, research, truth and ritual. (I read the beginning of my story “Squirrel People,” which generally goes over well in a mixed crowd, i.e. it’s not too risqué). And, wonder of wonders, many people lined up to buy books! In a library! This is always a pleasant surprise. More wine and conversation followed at the librarian’s home, and then, I made my bleary-eyed way home the next morning in even more rain, just before the power went out.
A week later, I read at The Rabbit Hole reading series, sponsored by The Warren Review, an undergrad publication out of The University of Victoria. This reading took place at the mostly candlelit Copper Owl in Victoria, a former karaoke bar with a copper roof, cool paneling and carpeting soaked with decades of beer. Again, I was one of three women featured, this time following an open mic. The readers who signed up were funny, smart and bold, and the two young women who read before me, Zoe Duhaime and Kathleen O’Reilly, rocked the room with their words–poetry and a play, respectively. Then this old girl (really, I was the oldest person in the room until the DJ arrived near the end to set up for the music that would follow) got up and read the beginning of the story “Flip” from The Pull of the Moon, this time, because many readers had brought up sexy things, deciding to not skip the section where the character reflects on her first “oral” encounter with a young man. The audience laughed when they were supposed to, and were otherwise quiet and engaged, and the special drink of the night, BC Bramble, a smooth blend of cassis, gin and something citrusy, was good for a toast or two with the friends (also old-timers in their 40s) who’d come to hear me read for the first time.
All in all, a great month thus far revisiting my stories, including a spotting of my book in Mermaid Tales bookshop in the village of Tofino, where my family enjoyed a short holiday near the sea—and since I am not a surfer, I was able to begin a new story, warm and dry by the fire.
Now, onto poetry, as I’ve got new poems forthcoming in three publications this spring. And spring! Welcome, new growth, light and warmth, and hopefully a little less rain…
Chesterman’s Beach, Tofino