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Launching Laurie in Toronto

It was very crowded in that poor little Toronto bookshop, Type Books. My daughter Amanda was my keeper and care-giver on this trip, and we had a pleasant drive from Kingston to Toronto, catching up on things we haven’t had a chance to talk about because we’ve both been busy-busy. Maybe that’s what car trips are for! She packed a wonderful lunch of chicken and veggie wraps, with sliced apples for muchies … And, oh so delicious – Tamari Roasted Almonds (recipe’s on the net, she says). We stopped in the picnic area of the new service centre along the 401. Ate our lunch, got rained on ever so slightly, bought Starbuck’s lemonade (shaken, not stirred) for travelling, and got on our way again.

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The hotel was, as usual, easy and comfortable – the Delta Chelsea. We both went horizontal in the dark for an hour or so, then put on our party duds and headed off to Type Books, on Queen West. Of course we seem to have overlooked the fact that it was five p.m. in Toronto, and Queen Street is a major thoroughfare under construction. Lots of cyclists now in TO. They were the only ones moving. Amanda says it took us as long to drive that small stretch of Queen Street as it takes her to drive from Ottawa to her home in Brooke Valley, outside of Perth. About an hour and a quarter.

However, we finally did arrive, and only 45 minutes late! My great team of co-workers from the old days in the Design Office at University of Toronto was already there, trying to set up munchie and drinkie space in the tiny shop. (Thanks Beth, Sonya, Maureen!) My grandson Xan was hovering with Meghan and he toted the cooler full of ice and wine into the shop, shoved it under a table somewhere, unpacked wine glasses, and started playing host. What a great crew!

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People began to arrive and everyone wanted to talk to me. People I hadn’t seen, some of them, in over 20 years. My voice began to give out even before I read anything… I think the air was very very dry, probably because of all those books. So many people crowded into the small spaces made things difficult, when they had no real place to stand, and there wasn’t even much of a place for me to do a reading… I hope there wasn’t too much wine spilled on the books!!!

I ended up standing at the edge of the children’s section, leaning on the doorway, people sitting behind me on kiddy mushroom chairs. I was a bit dithery, I think, and hopped about a bit too much in my readings. Oh well. (At least I now know what to do next time!)

We had a pretty good crowd, and Becky Toyne said she sold every copy she had… Always a good sign. (I had some extras in the car, of course. Lesson number one in our family.) Actually, I had expected about 10 more people and was awfully glad when they didn’t show up!!

It was wonderful to see people again… old work buddies, old friends. I’m a great fan of bookstores and am sorry that I didn’t have time to look around in Type Books and do some of my own purchasing!! (My mother was the founder of Fanfare Books in Stratford, and we are very much a bookstore family.)

And speaking of Fanfare, that’s my next stop. We’ll be Launching Laurie there on Saturday July 23. For that trip my other daughter, Delvalle, gets to be keeper and care-giver. She and her fiancée, David Church, will be taking in Jesus Christ Superstar on Friday night while I lounge about at the Grandville B&B trying not to talk to anyone.

I am finding this strenuous, but am also enjoying it.

The first book reviews are beginning to trickle in now, and I’ve had a request to do a TV interview (Canada AM, Thursday morning, July 21). My editor says “just relax and enjoy it.” I plan to do that. No point in getting nervous. All I can do is hope that my brain doesn’t freeze up.