The Book Tour Life of Unremitting Glamour
Coughing my way to stardom...
My poor Substack, I have been neglecting you. What are my excuses? Good ones! There’s been that matter of the disappearing and appearing and disappearing blue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marie_Laberge_2011-04-16.jpgverification marks on Twitter: mine vanished, then appeared again as if by magic, but it lied about me, saying I had paid for it and given it my phone number (to what end? Why do you need to phone me, blue check mark?) So I deep-sixed it. What a time suck!
Then I’ve been doing some book touring. In Québec City I talked about the French Burning Questions, at the Salon du Livre, in my bad French, with audience members participating by suppyling words I was fumbling for. Who is la petite personnage avec le manteau rouge, et avec un loup … ?? Petite Chaperon Rouge! they shouted. The writer Marie Laberge was my interlocutor and we laughed a lot, as she was just as jolly as she is in the picture below
I am keen on the French cover of this book, as well:
The French are intrigued by the double O in my name — double Os are rare in French — and as you can see, they have made good use of it.
Marie Laberge, just as wicked as me!
Then it was on to Montreal, where I was doing an Old Babes in the Wood event for Paragraphe Books. It was held in the ancient St. James United Church, and there were a few initial hiccups. As interviewer Kate Sterns of Concordia and I lounged in the not-heated Green Room, luxuriously furnished with the proverbial sofa with stuffing coming out and dust-covered piano, it got later and later. It seems there was a long line of people standing in the rain – they hadn’t picked up their tickets at the bookstore ahead of time, and were now paying the price.
“We have to start soon! The people already in will soon have to pee!” I urged. A thwarted crowd can turn ugly, and might consider pelting you with decomposing vegetables, supposing they had any. Ashley Dunn of Penguin Random had been sent to make sure I didn’t get stuck in an elevator or wander off into drugstores or get lured into bars, and she was bringing us bulletins. “The sink in the washroom is blocked,” she whispered. As I say, unremitting glamour.
At last the event was underway. I was worried that the two of us were invisible, since we were not on a stage but in that space below the pulpit, but I am told that we gave a good impression of two disembodied talking heads. Laughs were had. It was all good.
But my REAL excuse is even better. I was doing all this on Cold and Flu tablets and Fisherman’s Friends cough drops, because I had (and still have) bronchitis. I will not paint any Word Pictures of this; suffice it to say that I recently saw a picture of a sea slug that was oddly reminiscent.
Bronchitis is not a very literary ailment. Tuberculosis would have been more romantic, not to say Edgar Allan Poe-ish, and syphillus more Fleurs du Mal. I might have passed my ailment off as brain fever, though on second thought, not such a brilliant idea: writers are thought to have brain fever much of the time anyway. So bronchitis it is, and remains. It’s been going around, I’ve been told. It hangs on. It isn’t Covid. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile I’m tying my hands to the chair to keep myself from starting a comic strip called PP Comix, about our perky P.M. Challenger. “P.P. and his Rage Coach.” He does do a lot of raging. “P.P. and his Style Consultant.” Should he do the front-buttoned knitted vest, or not? Stop me before I harm myself!
I’ll keep you posted.