Encounters With the Writing Kind

Many of us probably think about meeting a particular author, I would love to meet Douglas Coupland for instance.  And I’m sure if you know of someone that may be in your area you’ll go and meet them and maybe even ask if they’d sign one of their books for you.  I’m sure you could all tell me who that author would be, I’d love to hear you’d like to meet.  Now I’ve had the opportunity to acquaint myself with some writers.

While in elementary school we had some authors come to the school.  The first person I remember meeting was Robert Munch, author of Mortimer and The Paperbag Princess.  There’s nothing like hearing him read these stories.  He becomes very animated and it’s some good entertainment for children.  The other author we had come visit our school was Jean Little.  The one aspect that particularly stands out in mind is the fact that Little is partial sighted.  I don’t know what it was about this point of Jean Little but it’s the one thing that really stands out about my encounter with her.

Later on in life, while attending Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg I heard that Timothy Findley author of two of my favorite books (Not Wanted on the Voyage and Spadework).  I really enjoy both of these books for different reasons.  I love Not Wanted on the Voyage because of the bits about the cat, it just made me crack up so many times.  And Spadework was wonderful because it takes place in my hometown of Stratford.  It’s just so interesting to read a novel that talks about places you’ve actually been to and the images are so clear with you are familiar with the place.  So it fun going to McNally Robinson to get him to sign the book and have a little chat about Stratford.

But that’s not what this is all about.  Yesterday I got to meet two authors, one that I’m not at all familiar with but after her reading I had to purchase her book.  The other I’m sure you all know.

The first author was Linda Spalding author of Who Named the Knife which is amazing, or at least the parts that she read.  Who Named the Knife is all about Spalding’s relationship with a woman that was convicted of murder.  I don’t want to talk too much about it because I don’t really know that much about it but what she read really made me want to read it so I went to the lobby and purchased it.  I’ll be using it as one of the selections for The Canadian Book Challenge 2.  Spalding was wonderful to listen to, she had a great clear voice and I could tell that she enjoyed sharing this story with everyone because when people came up to get their books signed she exclaimed, “Oh good you got one!”  It was wonderful to be around someone that was excited about sharing their story with old and new readers.

The second author that did a reading was Spalding’s husband.  When he was introduced and older gentleman came out.  He looked like a professor of Chemistry or some other science with his puffy white hair and a snow beard.  He was rather soft spoken but you could periodically catch hints of his accent.  This was Michael Ondaatje.  The line to get his autograph was crazy but well worth it, not only did he sign my copy of Divisadero (again originally purchased for The Canadian Book Challenge 2) but he was also kind enough to sign Running in the Family for Susan (Naked Without Books) which will be part of the Canadian book package I’m sending.

It was interesting meeting Ondaatje but he didn’t look like what I thought he might.  I was half expecting someone that was pompous but he was really friendly.  And when you meet the author of The English Patient you seem to be incapable of decipherable speech.  I don’t know why but the words just didn’t want to come out of my mouth, which usually dose not happen.  But I was thrilled to meet him and really glad that he signed the book for Susan.

This was a great way to start a very busy day.  After I finished with Ondaatje I had a day of theatre.  First I saw Romeo and Juliet and that was followed by There Reigns Love with Simon Callow (written and performed by him).  But I shall save that for a later day.  Until then happy reading.