Meet You At The Bookstore – Authors for Indies – Saturday May 2nd, 2015

Bryan Prince

This Saturday, across Canada, authors will be on-site at an independent book store near you. It’s our way of showing support for the work Indies do by selling our books, and by supporting launches, readings, and literary salons.

Come meet some of your favorite local authors at  three stores in the Hamilton-Burlington area:AFI General

Bryan Prince Bookseller, Different Drummer Books, and Epic Books 

Epic books

I will be visiting Bryan Prince Bookseller from 12:00-2:00 and

Different Drummer Books from 4:30-closing.

Authors for Indies Day… Coming to a Bookstore Near You on Saturday May 2nd, 2015

Authors For Indies Day

I’m delighted to be supporting Authors for Indies on Saturday May 2nd, 2015. Independent bookstores have always pleased my senses and filled me with hope. There’s that slightly earthy smell of ink, paper, and glue when one first opens the door. I usually pause, take a breath, and then register the quiet. Only then do I take in the lively colours and graphics that distinguish one book from another. It’s later, as I pick up items of interest, that I register the embossing of paper covers and the feathery edges of first editions.

But it’s the quiet that I welcome. It gives me the mental space to wander and explore the stacks with no sense of hurry. Conversation, if it’s happening, is usually subdued. The upshot is that I concentrate on the moment and allow myself to be absorbed by possibility… by the titles that may extend the boundaries of my knowledge and experience.

That’s where the hope lies. Each new book fills me with the expectation of accomplishing some new thing. Appreciation. Understanding. Skill. Seldom have I been disappointed. There is always something to learn.

Lately, I have been purchasing books for young nephews, nieces and god-children. I can count on the staff in independent stores to guide me toward authors whom I have not yet encountered… authors who will excite young imaginations and extend their boundaries. I have come to realize that this process of reading-learning-discussing is a cycle, a tradition to be handed on, and that too fills me with hope.

On Saturday May 2nd, please plan to visit your local independent bookstore to let the proprietor know how much you appreciate the contribution the store makes to literary life in the community. I will be at one of my favorites, Bryan Prince Bookseller between 12:00-2:00 and look forward to discussing books with you.

Storytelling In Hamilton – Spring 2015

For decades, Hamilton was characterized as a lunch-bucket town, or worse yet as the arm-pit of the Niagara Escarpment. These days nothing could be further from the truth: Hamilton has become a hotbed of literary activity thanks to gritLIT, LitLive, and independent bookstores.

gritlit-banner-image

gritLIT, Hamilton’s Readers and Writers’ Festival which started in 2004, has blossomed into an event that this year, once pre-festival events are factored in, is being hosted in four venues. Literary festivals celebrate and make public the rather private acts of reading and writing. Not only do festivals expose readers to writers from far afield, they also profile local authors as gritLIT is doing with Hamilton’s own Gary Barwin, Krista Foss, and Denise Roig. The 2015 festival kicked off in early April with three pre-festival events: Battle of the Books, Poetry with the Hamilton Poetry Centre, and LitLive. Thursday April 16th is the beginning of gritLit’s long weekend’s worth of story-telling  and workshops. If you love reading, being read to, or aspire to writing, then  visit www.gritlit.ca and start filling your calendar with this weekend’s literary events.

litlive 21 years logo

Back in January I noted a reading series, Lit Live, in this blog. It has been going strong for the past twenty-one years bringing authors and poets to the stage to share their recent publications, or works in progress. The evenings are lively and entertaining, and occasionally the readings are raucous. Lit Live is hosted at Homegrown Hamilton on the first Sunday of each month from 7:30-9:30. Craft beers, Niagara vintages, and delicious hot drinks add to the coffeehouse experience.

Independent bookstores were once the backbone of the reading-writing life. They are places, which if frequented regularly, staff would know your name. However the combination of large box and on-line retailers, and readers’ tendencies to browse and click, have cut into the meagre profit margins of independent booksellers. The owners of these independents are a tenacious and creative lot who have over the years learned to do much more than sell books. Stores such as Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton have a long history of supporting literary and artistic events, and promoting them through vehicles such as the on-line newsletter Between The Ladders. gritLIT is a recipient this year of support from three Hamilton independent stores: Bryan Prince Bookseller, Epic Books, and J.H. Gordon Books.

Reading and storytelling are traditions to share across the age-span. Add to your literary life by becoming a regular at one of the local independent bookstores, and by making it a habit to hear new authors at LitLive and gritLIT.

Give It A Rest!

X-country skiing Eastern Townships

The winter months have traditionally been my time to write. I hunker down, throw on a cape, steep tea, and spend hours at my computer. The next day I re-write everything from the day before, and then begin anew. The process goes on for months and I love it. Inevitably, the first signs of spring provoke anxiety. Lengthening days mean the garden will soon be in bud, and the competition for writing time will begin. Weeds will sprout. I will fret. And then I will succumb. Weeding, seeding, tilling, dead-heading, and mowing will prevail through the summer months until October when I put the gardens to bed for another year.

This spring however is different. A concussion in early December de-railed any plans to complete my current manuscript. In fact, I have spent this winter not writing and not reading. The experience has been akin to a forced withdrawal which may explain why this spring, instead of  trepidation I’m sensing anticipation. The garden, I am thinking, will become an extension of my physio-occupational therapy…snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, walking, yoga, mending, and cooking. The time I spend getting my fingernails and knees dirty will be additional time for my brain to heal. At some point during my excavations I hope my characters will “join” me. In previous years they have been at the edge of my consciousness …always. Listening. Observing. Developing. However for the past few months they have been noticeably truant. I suspect their absence has been my brain’s way of saying “Give it a rest, why don’t ya?” And so I will continue to do just that, while I listen, observe, heal….and wait.