Saturday, 1 October 2011
overcast, rainy, temps 65
We're in North conway, New Hampshire! More or less where we began the tour for A TRICK OF THE LIGHT five weeks ago. Wow. What a circle....and so much in the middle. So much happened. so many people, so many beautiful events - book related and otherwise.
A five week book tour is an intricate, complex thing, involving, in my case, 15 flights, buses, ferries, lots of cars and lots of wonderful people willing to drive me, sometimes for days. Lots of hotel meals, and bags of chips and diet cokes for dinner. And lots of lovely dinners with generous bookstore owners, librarians, readers.
I went from Prince Edward Island to victoria, British Columbia. From Phoenix, Arizona to Detroit, Michigan. And a whole lot in between.
And now - it's all but over. Had my last US event last night at White Birch books in North Conway. Drove down from Montreal yesterday.
I have to say....it's a VERY good thing the tour is ending now. for all those days and weeks, everything worked perfectly! I dodged storms, not a single flight canceled or even delayed. Hotels worked, people showed up when supposed to. it was almost inconceivable that nothing would go wrong.
Until about four days ago in Winnipeg, when the wheels started coming off ...
The scourge of a booktour had found me. A scratchy throat. the dreaded cold. Then I lost my dark glasses. A couple other minor things happened, which frankly I can't remember now, but little alarms started going off in my head....things were fraying. But I knept thinking...just get to North Conway - then get home. Saturday, Saturday. Have a 2pm event today in Sutton in the library as part of the Quebec Cultural Day....then home....
Got up in Montreal yesterday, packed...loaded the car....put the key in the ignition...and nothing. Dead. Not even a click or a clunk.
I had a four hour drive through Quebec and Vermont to reach New Hampshire. This was an event I'd had to cancel due to illness last year, and when I felt the cold coming on earlier in the week all I could think about was....just get to White Birch Books, then you can die. For God's sake, you can't get sick enough to cancel. Drugs. Drugs.
it never occurred to me the problem would be the car! But of course, it had sat unused, unstarted for 5 weeks.
Luckily this was at the apartment building, and Raymond and two other wonderful maintenance people came to my rescue, as you can see. Trying to boost it. Which has always worked in the past. You don't live through 53 Canadian winters without some expertise in boosting dead cars.
It didn't work.
The car engine didn't even turn over. Nothing.
They tried for half an hour.
Time was running out. How was I going to get to the event. And then I knew what I had to do. I got on the cell phone and called...
'What're you up to?'
'Just sitting down to coffee and a toasted bagel. You?'
He should not have asked.
I told him the sad story and without a pause he said, 'I'm on my way.'
He jumped in his car (after arranging for Pat to look after Trudy) and was in montreal two hours later. In the meantime, I'd had the car towed to Volkswagen....as you can see.
then Michael and i headed off.
Can you believe how lovely he is? Not a hesitation - no groans. No moaning. Just a smile.
The drive, through vermont, was magnificent. Leaves just turning - mountains and rivers. Twisty roads. Beautiful. And then reached North conway...Sarah at Minotaur had gotten me (us) a beautiful room in an Inn. We did the event....and the lovely people there at White Birch books began the event by standing and singing O Canada.
I was almost in tears.
What a glorious way to end the tour. singing o canada in New Hampshire, with Michael.
Now, into the car again - event in sutton - then home.
When we drove down yesterday Michael realized he's left his passport in the cottage, so we swung by there....but I stayed in the car. So close to home. Twenty feet. But I didn't want to go in. Too emotional. it wasn't the going in I was worried about - it was having to leave again. I don't want to walk through that door until I can get into my sweats, crawl into bed, and never, ever leave again. Or at least, not until I choose.
That happens at about 3:30 today.
Thank you, thank you - for your company. This would have been a lonely road indeed without you. And now, just a few more miles.