Mrs. B. and The Really Big Book Launch
Mrs. B. likes to write and she mostly likes to write stories for children, but specifically for the child in herself. Stories for children have happy endings, or at least endings that give one hope. And so with the urging of Brad, her graphics designer-cum-slave-driver, she decided to launch her Other Side of Magic series, and after e-mailing notices to the local papers, she found a venue in a nice little café in town. Her slave-driver made the posters and she tottered about on her dicky knee and a developing bursitis in her left hip, putting them up on any empty walls that presented themselves, pinning up yet another notice that purported of great things in store for the reader—if only they would take advantage of the opportunity. She also placed them in store windows, (where allowed) libraries and other venues that were willing to take them. She hated this part, she felt like a shill, promoting goods of dubious value; but she did her best, feeling the lash of her slave-driver on her back if she faltered in her quest for that elusive fifteen minutes of fame. She would then run home to give solace to her partner Gord, struggling with the damage a double snow-storm had wrought on their big willow trees.
In her daily meanderings, after picking up new book-marks and business cards, she had come upon a small notice in a book store of yet another short story competition and she decided to enter. With only four days, to go, she spent hours on the computer trying to send her story and pay the required fee through PayPal. But due to a frustrating lack of PayPal savvy and other iniquities with the entry form, she gave it up and begged the people in charge that she be able to send the tale by snail mail, though the deadline was now only three days away, (two of them week-end days with the post-office closed). They agreed. That taken care of, she turned to her book launch—what to read from her books? And once that decision was made, to read them aloud to herself; and what if everyone was bored to death?
The Big Day came. It came but without a word of the book launch in the newspapers. It came while her partner loaded boxes of her books in the car and left, at her urging, for the Bonspiel in Duncan. It came with Jehovah’s Witnesses, (while she, still in her dressing gown, was reading a chapter aloud) determined to convince her that she needed God, their own particular God, in her life. It came with rain. It came with rain that did not rain mainly on the plain, it came as if it wished to wash out any thought or ambition of the populace to attend a book launch, let alone chance their children being washed away in a flood. But she carried on regardless, committed to stand before, she now believed, a non-existent audience and offer her childish ramblings to the dead air.
Debating the merits of God was a lot more fun.
She arrived at the café to find nearly all the parking spaces filled and so she parked some distance away. The owner suggested she park at the back: but confused as to what the back of the café looked like, she drove too far. In a hurry, as time was getting on, she backed up—into a post, crunching the car’s light and bumper. Stomach sinking but with the kind help of the owner, they carried in the boxes of books she had hoped, (when she foolishly started this enterprise) that the milling hordes of fans would rush in to buy. She also brought wine and cheese and cookies, only to find she had neglected to tell the good people of the café she would be providing food. They, unfortunately, were less than impressed at this, expecting that she would buy these goodies from them. Mrs. B. relented immediately and they made up a lovely plate of cakes for said hordes of people.
Unexpectedly, out of the rain, umbrella upraised and blowing in on an East Wind came dear Eliza to help Mrs. B. set up. Writing colleagues and friends, Tom and Sharon arrived. Then came Mrs. B.’s slave-driver, Brad, and his long suffering wife Peggy. Another dear colleague, Carol, brought her mum, and then, with a— ‘Here I am and you had better believe it!’— Sylvia blew in, determined to sit on anyone who gave even a hint of causing Mrs. B. any trouble. All during this time a young person sat at a table, as if there just to eat café food and leave; but she stayed, apparently for the reading.
Watching everyone have a good chat and wishing she were one of them, Mrs. B. decided it was time to bite the bullet. She began the reading, attempting to give life to her characters, to make a case for them, entering the lives of people who hopefully would like to know more. Gord arrived from the Bonspiel and she shook to her toes, aware she would have to tell him about the crunched fender. But she read on, aware that this was, after all, the Ides of March.
Her partner forgave her immediately, though the cost for the car is high. Added to the cost of books, posters, book marks, business cards and food, the day may or may not have been a success, but it certainly was a day she would remember, and only repeat if her slave-driver has no mercy.
It is with love she writes this, and thankfulness for the support of her partner, her friends, and the urgings of her slave-driver to keep going, even while all this marketing business turns her brain to mush.