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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Doing the Bookstore Hustle

I met Ivan Prokopchuk the other night, in person. He's long been one of the most colourful personalities I've met as a blogger, and a character who consistently captures my imagination.

But there he was in the Lula Lounge, in full colour, three dimensions, in the flesh, across the table from me with his book, The Fire in Bradford, in hand. "I'll show you mine if you you show me yours," he grinned.


[That's me in the pink shirt, reading to an enthusiastic crowd at the Lula Lounge.]

But with Another Story Bookshop on hand selling Drive-by Saviours I didn't have any swap copies. The swap had been my suggestion, but with all the insanity of travel, visiting family and friends, organizing book launches and an Eastern Canadian book tour, I'd forgotten. I promised to send Ivan a copy in the mail and he gave me his book, shook my hand and heartily congratulated me. And he was gone, making way for the next in line.

It was one of a series of surreal encounters I've had lately with old friends. The support has been overwhelming - people I haven't seen in years, people I've only met online, have come out to my two book launches in Halifax and Toronto to celebrate my accomplishment.

And now, writing from a friend's home in East Toronto, planning to head up to Kent Bookstore in Lindsay Ontario in a few hours for another reading and more old friends (and to meet a boisterous one-year-old), I'm feeling a deep easy happiness in that willingness to celebrate what others among us do.

At the same time, I ache for my wife and son, who flew back to Halifax yesterday morning at about crack o'clock, and I long for my own bed where I could properly nurse this worsening cold. Suddenly I'm a lone drifter again, something I missed and didn't expect to experience again so soon. Last time I was a young man, full of abstractions and equipped with an eager pen and ink-hungry notebooks. It all seems a little more businesslike this time - I'm a drifter with a mission, a product to move. I feel like a huckster with a money-bulge in my pocket.

That's not a complaint. I'm loving meeting people, sharing my art with them, and experiencing their kind and enthusiastic responses - their questions, comments and cash. Living the dream for me has moved beyond sloganism and into reality.

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

It's got to feel a little odd to be a drifter again after the settled nature of your home life. I always missed my son so much when I had to be away from him. But it is an adventure and you have the right frame of mind for it.

And you got to meet Ivan. That in itself is an event.

benjibopper said...

It was momentous indeed, Charles.