The Toronto Women's Bookstore is closing on Friday, which leaves Thunder Bay with the slightly dubious honour of being the last city in Canada that's home to a feminist bookstore (Ottawa's Mother Tongue closed in July). Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled that Northern Woman's Bookstore is here, in my relatively tiny corner of the country. It just seems bizarre that it's the very last one of its kind.
I'll be reading at NWB this coming Friday evening, part of an event intended not only to mark and commemorate the closing of so many stores in Canada, but also to celebrate the spaces they have created for so many readers and writers. I launched my anthology at both TWB and NWB, and both events were thrilling, exciting. The Thunder Bay reading was packed, and I remember being so proud that a city a fraction the size of Toronto could garner such a fantastic turnout. And when we filled the Toronto Women's Bookstore, I remember looking out on the crowd, in the space that I had visited so many times as I came of age in and made Toronto my own, and being so proud to be part of that store's history in some small way.
And what will I be reading this coming Friday evening, you ask? Well, I'll be reading an excerpt from the COMPLETED SECOND DRAFT OF MY NOVEL-IN-PROGRESS, of course. What else?
Yup, I actually managed to make good on my November promise: sent that sucker off to Jennifer, my glorious editor/reader, yesterday. I have no idea if it's any good. I mean, I don't think it's complete and utter dreck, but I couldn't tell you if it's good good. I am fairly convinced that it is substantially better than the original draft that Jennifer very gently told me to rewrite. She was right that it wouldn't take as long or be as hard as I thought it might. In fact, the whole rewriting process kind of snuck up on me, leading up to Friday afternoon when I typed in a few sentences and cut a few other ones and then said to myself, quietly, I think I'm done.
It was hard to tell if I was really done, though, because no naked lady in pasties leaped out of my computer screen and danced in my lap. No fireworks went off. No showers of confetti showered down from the ceiling. It was just me in my office with a hunch and children to pick up and a dishwasher to empty. It was just me and 67,182 words, communing quietly. (Did you know that 67,182 words make up approximately 257 pages when set in Times New Roman, and 335 in Courier New? I do.)
Writing is a solitary sort of activity, as is reading. And most of the time, I like it that way. But when you finish a draft or put down a really excellent book — or are looking for your next excellent book to read — what you really want is someone to talk to: someone to tell that you're finished, someone to talk to about your book or to tell you what to read next. This space — this blog, blogs like it, Twitter, Facebook — serves that function, in part. But so do actual, bricks-and-mortar spaces like independent bookstores, where people like Margaret Phillips know their stock and their writers intimately, can hand-sell you a book you've never heard of, a book that may just change your life.
I want people like that to hand-sell my book one day. I hope they will.
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PS: The winner of my Let's Pretend This Never Happened giveaway is Tomi L! Tomi, message me your address and I will get that copy on its voyage to you Down Under.
PPS: Check out my latest (oldest) post on LesbianFamily.com!