I’ll be travelling around Canada and the US & doing readings & things for the next month or so. I’ll try to blog my way through this period of my life, with updates in pseudo-real time, though I currently feel like this experiment might end in total failure. We’ll see, I guess.
09/22 – Winnipeg @ Thin Air Book Festival
09/25 – Kingston @ Writers Festival
10/02 – Chicago w/ Rachel Bell, Rachel Hyman & more
10/04 – San Francisco w/ Alexandra Naughton & more
10/08 – Los Angeles w/ Mira Gonzalez & more
10/10 – Seattle w/ James Ganas & more
10/12 – Vancouver w/ TBD
10/16 – Calgary @ Wordfest
-Got up at 6 am to get to the airport. Felt surprised that the 6 am bus wasn’t empty. Everyone looked like they knew each other, like they were used to seeing each other every day at this hour or something, which felt like having stumbled on some sort of underground secret 6 am bus society.
-Realized twenty minutes into bus ride that I had forgotten a small bag with copies of my book in it at home. I texted Jill being like, “Shit” & she somehow texted back telling me that I maybe still had time if I wanted to come back & get them. I said, “It’s okay, maybe I don’t need them, maybe I can do without, maybe this is a good thing” & then she texted back, “Wait, you also forgot your laptop.” I was like, “Okay, this is completely unacceptable, I am coming back.”
-Jill ended up coming out & meeting me directly at the bus stop to hand me the bag. I said, “Sorry I suck” a few times.
-I felt weirdly happy on the 2nd bus to the airport, like I was thinking, “Wow, that was really fun.” Maybe it was because I had had to run a little, which had produced dopamine in my brain, but happiness seemed like a stupid emotion to be having at that moment.
-Guy next to me in the bus had glasses with the word “embergsbik” written on the side, which sounded like a made-up brand.
-Looking around for the Air Canada booth at the airport, I saw an airline called “Sky Priority,” which I misread as “Sexy Priority.”
-Airport staff was very polite to me until they realized I was late, at which point they immediately shifted to panic/frenzy.
-I was put on standby & had to wait to see if I would be able to get in. Lots of nervous-seeming airport employees calling different terminals, feeling powerless. Almost got stuck having to wait for the next flight, but then was able to go in at the last minute. I felt like I had annoyed the flight, like the flight was mad at me, like I wasn’t wanted anymore by the flight.
-Was asked for ID I think three times at the airport, and it dawned on me that I was going to spend my next month travelling being repeatedly identified, being repeatedly confirmed by airport staff & other strangers that I am me.
-This plane has cheap touch screens built into every seat, which means passengers can individually select which movies or tv shows they want to watch while flying. I didn’t touch my screen, but as I was I falling asleep, I watched, without sound, the movies that the three passengers sitting in front of me were watching. It didn’t feel like three separate movies, but just one movie in which a confident-looking Cameron Diaz was pushed into a bush, then some sort of tree creature was running after Angelina Jolie, then teenagers were singing along to a song in a car. It seemed like a good movie, lots of plot twists.
-Now that I think about it, I am probably glad I wasn’t around during the first maybe 60 years of modern aviation.
-There was some turbulence mid-fight at one point, like the plane hit an air pocket or something. People around me seemed anxious, and I was also going to feel anxious by default, except a voice went off in my head saying something like, “It’s okay, you need instability in your life” and after that I just found the turbulence calming.
-If you created a city that blends together all the cities, big or small, that I’ve ever visited, feels like you’d probably end up with something like Winnipeg.
-I think I am surprised that this festival is actually real. As a writer, I don’t live a glorious lifestyle and usually survive on a combination of rice and buying nothing, so being remunerated to do a reading and lodged in a hotel seems very surreal to me, like some sort of elaborate illusion, like I’ve been hypnotized.
-I did a “book chat” in the afternoon at this surprisingly large, seemingly thriving independent bookstore located somewhere in Winnipeg. The festival had paired me with a writer who was maybe in her late fifties and whose book was a collage of fragments from older books. There were maybe 30-35 people in the crowd, almost all of them women probably age 50+, except for Dave Shaw and Dave Shaw’s girlfriend, who were sitting in the back. I read a scene from New Tab in which two people chat online on Facebook, material that seemed, to me, like an almost comically bad fit for this crowd, but people laughed here and there and seemed okay with it.
-At one point during the Q&A, I felt myself mentally drifting away for a few seconds while someone was talking, the same way you sometimes tune out at readings. As an automatic reflex, I kind of wanted to check my phone, except then I remembered I was currently on stage.