Erin and I left our workplaces a little early and took off to Toronto in a rented automobile. After eating Thai at a Bathurst-Bloor restaurant, we moseyed on down to the Victory Cafe, home of the Art Bar.
The Victory Cafe is located in the heart of Mervish Village, a fascinating commercial strip of restored Victorian homes and an ecclectic mix of stores. The Cafe itself is a converted Victorian home with dingy paint and moody lighting. The Art Bar occupies the second floor, with its own bar, a stage, and a mixture of seats, benches and tables. It's a very intimate setting and an excellent place to hear poets read.
Erin read between two poets, one of them another of Wolsak and Wynn's authors. The reaction, I thought, was excellent. People were blown away (Ghost Maps is a very powerful collection of poems) and they felt that stunned silence wasn't the appropriate way of showing their appreciation -- but neither was clapping. So there were a few tentative claps between poems, and then a loud ovation at the end of her work. People came up to her and shook her hand and thanked her, afterward.
We stayed overnight in Toronto with Noelle, Wolsak and Wynn's business and marketing manager. Just a sign of how well Wolsak and Wynn takes care of you: if you need to stay overnight after a reading, they treat you like family.
We had a wonderful time, and had wonderful hosts, and we are so looking forward to doing this again in November, when Erin tours the Maritimes.
The Remnants of Isabel
It's hard to believe, under clear skies, the beginnings of autumn-like temperatures, and still wind, that just a few hundred miles to the south the Carolinas are facing winds rushing faster than 99% of the speeders on the 401. It's harder to believe that, by this time tomorrow, we'll be seeing a lot of rain. But that's what it's like in southern Ontario in the fall, where the remnants of Caribbean hurricanes come -- out of the south instead of the southwest or the northwest as our weather typically comes -- to make our lives more interesting.
Washington DC is battening down the hatches as I write this, shutting down all transit service at 11 a.m. in order to give its employees time to head home safely. The message of this move: everybody stay home, now. Or, if you can, take a vacation inland. I've already written James DiBenedetto to see how he's doing; he seems to be coping well. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I must confess to having a fascination with phenomenal weather -- I just hope that nobody gets hurt. I love tornadoes and I want to see one -- as long as said tornado is departing over a barren and uninhabited field.
Update (7:49 pm): Did I say "clear skies"? I wrote the above two paragraphs at around 1 pm this afternoon. Those clear skies disappeared around 5 pm and, by 6:30, had a definite tinge of rain to them. Tomorrow promises to be wet, wet, wet. Get ready.