A Writer's Work

These last two days have been possibly the busiest I can expect around The Unwritten Girl, at least from now until the end of summer. I’m a bit shell-shocked, but I enjoyed myself immensely.

On Sunday, Erin, Vivian and I went down to Nicholas Hoare Booksellers for the Toronto-area launch of my book. Despite the fact that I had inadvertantly scheduled my launch against a number of people’s Father’s Day plans, not to mention a downtown anti-violence rally, nearly twenty people turned out, including a number of good friends I hadn’t seen in years. I read and signed copies and renewed acquaintences, and I think the event was a success, even though I ended up ordering more coffee and cookies than was needed. Oh, well. The customers who came to the store afterward could at leaset enjoy them with my compliments, and I think the storekeepers appreciated that.

On Monday, I attended my first ever school reading, going to Unionville Public School to present before two sessions in the gym, one to two grade five classes and one grade six class, and the other with the other grade six class and two grade sevens. This was the most people I’d ever talked to at once in my life. Talk about your stomach butterflies. But once the question and answer session got started, I think I did all right. The teachers all said nice things to me after the event, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

The hardest thing about the day was travelling to Unionville, however. I picked up my partner for the day, author Jo Ellen Bogart, who lives in Guelph. We encountered stop-and-go traffic on the 401 around the Guelph Line and it didn’t let up until we got to the 407. It didn’t even let up on the 407! Why are we paying $13.00 to use this highway again? As it was, an hour-and-a-half trip from Guelph morphed into a frustrating two hour journey, and we only just arrived in time for our scheduled presentations (though, I’m pleased to say, the teachers were most understanding).

After the presentations, Jo Ellen and I were treated to a lunch beside TooGood Pond in historic downtown Unionville. It was a beautiful area full of old architecture, and the breeze off the pond was most welcome.

Thanks to the students and the teachers at Unionville Public School for making me feel so welcome and for making my first school reading a success. Thanks especially to school librarian Gloria Hlinka for organizing this event. With luck, more will follow.

Finally, I returned home and prepared for a radio interview with Alannah Hegedus of the Waterloo Public Library during her weekly segment for the local radio station CKWR FM98.5. I was live on the air at 7:53 p.m. to however many listeners the station receives. The station has an impressive operation, with a neat studio, lots of switches and four rather intimidating microphones. Alannah asked some very well researched questions and I talked about Doctor Who fan fiction and the fantasy stories that helped inspire The Unwritten Girl. I’m told I sounded coherent, but I’ll have to take their word for it. Either way, I had a good time.

So it has been a very busy (and enjoyable) couple of days, and I’m looking forward to the next two weeks of calming down. I don’t have book events planned until September.

I should mention that, on Sunday, I finally achieved my longstanding ambition to eat at the Canary Grill restaurant at the corner of Front and Cherry streets in the redeveloping portlands (I wrote an article about this restaurant here). The experience was what I had hoped for: it was a restaurant with character, from the lovably dilapidated interior, to the family of cooks and the waitress who bickered lovingly in the corner. The waitress in particular got herself a big tip by kindly offering to hold Vivian while Erin and I ate our meals. The greasy spoon breakfast (nicely inexpensive) that tasted wonderful. The hash browns in particular were perfectly spiced and slightly charred; the best I’ve ever had.

We met up with Cameron at the launch and went up to Moe Pancers (reviewed here) up in North York to finish off the day. Again, a restaurant with character (the waitress there is a little intimidating), and the tongue on rye sandwich truly is manna from heaven.

Toronto has many restaurants with good food and an interesting character to them, if you know where to look. I’m very happy to have started looking, at last.

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