Saturday, 24 October 2009

John

rainy, mild, temps 13

We're back in Montreal...wow does it feel good to be home. But I have to say we had just a riot on tour. Let me catch you up. thursday night was the launch and signing at Sleuth of Baker street...a fabulous mystery bookstore in Toronto...with Marian and JD. Loads of people...readers who have been with the series from the beginning and some new people. Loads of friend - lots of people who know my brother Doug - and are his friends...and have become friends of mine. So it felt very warm and comfortable. Had dinner before with an old friend, Margaret. We yakked and got caught up even though we hadn't seen each other in years. Wonderful to have friends like that.

Then yesterday we were picked up at the hotel by Kelly Bernstein, of the Keswick library and whisked to one of Ontario's fine Inns...the Briars. This magnificent old home - rambling...with small, initmate, lovely little sitting rooms all over the place. Our room looked over Lake Simcoe and had a fireplace and a canopy bed. While Michael napped I took the newspaper down to this small sitting room with a muttering fireplace and a sofa facing it. There was a coffee machine so I brewed myself some, sat there quietly and peacefully for an hour, read and looked out the window at the rain, and into the lovely fire. Can't remember the last time I felt so at peace.

Then Mary and her sister Patty picked us up for dinner. We met Kelly and her husband at the restuarnt. This is all part of the One Book, One Community celebrations. The idea is that a community choose a book and over the course of the year they get as many people as possible to read it. Now, I thought they'd chosen Still Life, but in fact they decided to choose the entire series. They had a Three Pines themed dinner earlier in the year, and a car rally with clues from the books!

All this culminated in my visit last night to talk to the town, answer questions, etc. A wonderful glass artist had made the most exquisite stained glass window of Three Pines, with the trees, the Northern Lights, the village. Auctioned off to raise money for the library. I bid - and lost!

But after I spoke they presented me with a glorious necklace, made by the same man, with a scene from Dead Cold/A Fatal Grace...of Three Pines in the winter...with stars twinkling. So beautiofully and very moving.

Went back to the hotel and slept like a baby...though woke up in the middle of the night and thought maybe the place was haunted. Odd, that. But eventually went back to sleep. If it was haunted they seemed very pleasant ghosts.

Mary and Patty picked us up and took us to the train to Montreal. And Michael and I subsided into our seats...spent the 5 hours listening to music, staring out the window, dreaming. Very peaceful, again.

The only difficulty in our lives now has prompted a major change to the tour schedule for the next two weeks or so. I will still go to Vermont next week and do Tuesday's event at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, and then Norwich Books, in Norwich, Vermont the next night. I was going to spend Wednesday night in Norwich, but now will drive home to Sutton because the next day...this coming Thursday, we suddenly have to head to England.

Michael's best friend, John, is in the last stages of cancer. We spoke with him and his wife Moira about two weeks ago, just before I headed out on tour. We knew he had cancer, but it had been in remission for 14 years. But in that call he said it was back, but the docs were going to treat it. We talked about seeing them in April, when we plan to be in the UK. But then, last week in Toronto, we heard from John's daughter - Michael's goddaughter, that her father had taken a very bad turn and to come quickly.

So, we've re-scheduled everything from next Thursday on, and will get to England asap.

This means I won't be able to speak at next Sunday's Books and Breakfast, put on by Paragraphe Books in Montreal. Nor will I be at the Phoenix bookstore on Tuesday, Nov 3rd, or flying to Arizona for an event at poinsoned Pen bookstore Nov 5th.

But I have managed to re-schedule most things and will let you know about them soon.

How kind people are when told. I know they've put a lot of effort into making the event a huge success and then to have me pull the plug at the last minute is upsetting. But everyone, to a person, was supportive. How kind people are. And clearly I will try to make up the dates.

We've decided to get to London - then head to the village of Eye (I'm not kidding, that's what it's called!! only the brits - though in Canada we have Kicking Horse Pass and Come-by-chance so we can't really claim higher ground) - but we'll get to the village - see John and Moira for a few days, then head to London and stay there for a couple of weeks...going up every now and then to see John.

Michael's sister Carol is also recovering from a big operation so this will give us a chance to see her and David, and perhaps do some small chores, like getting food. Details like that.

I also need to do the final (I hope) edits on Bury Your Dead (books 6) and staying in London will allow me to do that.

We just don't know, do we, what life has in store. As Michael said the other day after we'd hung up the phone...we need to make every moment count. And know how lucky we are.

Speak soon - off on another journey.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Louise,

Wonderful to read about your tour, and especially touching to read about the stained glass window of Three Pines, and the beautiful necklace of Three Pines in Winter. What a thoughtful gift to present to you.

So sad to read about Michael's friend, John. I will keep him and his family, as well as you and Michael in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs to you both, Shelagh

Shelagh said...

Wasn't meant to read as "Anonymous". I hit the button too quickly!
Shelagh

Marjorie said...

Dear Louise,

What a gift that you and Michael can make a sudden change of plans and go to England in support of John. Some things will be able be said in person from one best friend to another. That truly is a gift, even as it comes at such a time of sorrow. I wish you a peaceful trip even if it can't be a happy one. Please keep us updated and let Michael know that he and his best friend are in our thoughts.

--Marjorie from Connecticut

Bev Stephans said...

Dear Louise,

A trip to visit a friend in the last stages of cancer is always difficult. May you bring peace with you for your friend and may you and Michael have peace.

I'm glad that people were understanding about rescheduling your tour.

Take care,

Bev

lil Gluckstern said...

Don't mean to be repetitive but peace to Michel's friend, and to Carol, to you lovely people. what good friends you are. I loved the description of the stained glass. Maybe (when you can think of it) you could post a picture of it on your website. A safe journey to you.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dearest Shelagh, Marjorie, Lil and Bev,

How kind you are - like light that accompanies us no matter what is happening, from the fabulous great moments in our lives to the tragic. Thank you for being there. Our stars.

Jeanine said...

Dear Louise and Michael,

Others here have already said it much more effectively than I can. Peace to your friend, and bless you for dropping everything to go be with him, especially for an extended period of time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Michael's friend and family.

Bobbie said...

Bless you and Michael for having love for friends of this magnitude. Be safe, remember you are in our thoughts and prayers, as is John and his family.

Yes, the Brits have oddly named places...so does Canada, so do we. Ever been to Toad Suck Ferry? It's a town not a water ride. :-) And yes, I've been there. :-) And I just read a book named after a town in Ohio, Knockemstiff-yes a real town. So these places can make good book names, ha. But not as pretty as Three Pines.

Congratulations on all your events and thank you for sharing them, Louise. Your books really are a wonderful place to be.

Hugs and best travel wishes. Yes, we are lucky, enjoy every moment and give John love from you and Michael.

Bobbie

duraknit said...

Travel safely -- I'm sure it means a lot to John that you are coming.

Pennsylvania has wonderful place names, but one of my favorites is in New Jersey: Murder Kill Creek. A "kill" is a creek, so it's doubly repetitive!

--Elizabeth D

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Bobbi and Elizabeth,

Thank you. Toad Suck Ferry?