Readers, I have been shopping.
Under the influence of my visiting (and very stylish) mother, I bought not one but two Serious Frocks.
One is a little black dress — not what I was shopping for, but so smashing, and I got the most amazing turquoise and gunmetal earrings to go with it. The other is a wrap dress in gunmetal, olive, and cobolt blue. Also bought: two pairs of quite impractical shoes. I’m having second thoughts about those. I normally wear flats with serious insoles — the kind made of half an oak’s worth of cork and holding several patents — and I bought Chinese Laundry three-inch “Barbie goes to the Party” heels. I may also need training wheels.
The Serious Frocks are needed for some serious parties. In fact, by the end of the month I am anticipating needing writerly life support, as I sink into some kind of introvert’s healing coma. Because here’s my schedule:
- CBC Book Club Saturday, September 10: I’ll be in Vancouver doing the CBC Book Club, which is taped before an audience and broadcast later. Free tickets for the taping, folks! It’s at 11:00 AM. I don’t know when the broadcast is, but I’ll try to find out. It will be on North By Northwest, the BC-wide morning show, and on the internet.
- Sunburst Awards Wednesday, September 14: I’m at Harbourfront in Toronto as part of a lineup of authors shortlisted for the Sunburst Award — Canada’s award for science fiction and fantasy. Holly Bennett, Paul Glennon, Guy Gavriel Kay, Douglas Smith, Hayden Trenholm, and Robert Paul Weston are also reading. And then they give out the award. Like the Oscars, but lower budget and geekier, and hey: doesn’t that sound like more fun anyway? Keep your fingers crossed for Plain Kate, which is up for the Sunburst in the Young Adult category.
- Science in the Pub Friday, September 16: I’m home in Kitchener/Waterloo, and appearing at the Perimeter Institute’s popular Science in the Pub event at the Huether. It’s part of the Grand Opening Weekend for the new Stephen Hawking Centre. For discussion: Science vs. Art: which is more creative. (Somehow they didn’t mention the smackdown aspect of it when they were signing me up…) Rumour has it they’ve pulled in Ray LaFlamme for Team Science, which makes me heavily outclassed: Team Art supporters must come wave our far more beautiful flags. There is one event at 5:30 and one at 7:30: they are the same, so pick one or the other. Attendance is free but advanced tickets are required.
- Telling Tales Sunday, September 18: I’m reading at Canada’s leading children’s literature festival, Telling Tales, in Rockton, Ontario. Anne of Green Gables and Mark Twain are also going to be there, in person. Free admission, though donations are accepted.
- Word on the Street Sunday, September 25: I’ll be appearing via videolink at the newest location for the coast-to-coast festival Word on the Street: Lethbridge, Alberta. Since Plain Kate is up for the Alberta reader’s choice award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, I’m hoping some folks will actually have read the book.
- EEEK! The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award Gala Tuesday, October 4: Oh, my goodness, I’m going to the ball. Plain Kate is up for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for the most distinguished book of the year. This isn’t public, alas, but an “invitation-only gala” at the Carlu in Toronto. (Lah-de-DAH!) This, too, is like the Oscars: the winner will be announced on the night. Wish me luck: this award is a very big deal, especially for a first novel.
The second is that I talked to my grandfather after shopping. To help you paint the stereotype in your head, I’ll tell you he’s a 90-plus retired farmer with an eighth-grade education and an Irish temper. To erase it, I’ll tell you he looks like Jimmy Cagney and dresses that sharp. And that my grandmother, who died last year, was a great beauty who took up modelling in her 70s, and had a closet full of smashing clothes, for which she made special trips to the city (Sioux Falls) with my grandfather proudly on her arm. She wore a hat and gloves to go into town to shop. She would not have dreamed of cork insoles. She is greatly missed. Anyway, I talked to my grandfather and he sighed and said: “Ah, you can’t beat a black dress.”