Friday, October 14, 2005

The Tenth Day of the Book Tour

The tenth day of the book tour, Colin took me to the airport to fly to Victoria, and rejoin the book tour. I already had a boarding pass and had checked in my suitcase, but a woman behind the counter said, there’s a problem with this ticket. She was very cranky about the problem. She was very quick and defiant about the problem. She typed at her computer, and shook her head.
She typed something else, and looked up, triumphant. “There’s a problem with this ticket!” she repeated.
I said, “Well, that’s because it had to be changed yesterday. My publishers had to change it from home.”
The woman shrugged, proudly. She seemed to think the ticket didn’t exist. I didn’t feel like arguing with her. I felt like being gentle with her. I felt like giving her flowers. I felt like throwing up. My head hurt, and there were those black shadows over my eyes again. I was trying to stand up, holding onto the counter.
Colin looked at me holding onto the counter. “What’s going on?” he said.
I thought I should go home and lie down. I said, “Can I cancel the ticket?” The woman shook her head. “No, there’s no cancellations on this ticket.” I could only just see her through strands of air. But the ticket doesn’t exist. How can there be no cancellation. I felt like there was a legal loophole here that I was missing.
I asked Colin to cancel the ticket and I went to sit down.
I watched him from my seats. He came over and said that the ticket had been cancelled.
As soon as he said that, I felt everything unravel. I started crying right there and didn’t stop until I got back home to Montreal. In a quiet way though. And then over the next few days, everything to do with the book tour made me cry. I heard that Miriam Toews came along to the reading in Winnipeg. I heard that it had snowed out west.
It was this book tour: if I had just continued catching planes and walking in to new hotel rooms, meeting Lisa in the lobby, meeting bookstore owners and curious readers, well, everything would have been all right.
Also, it was this book tour, my first tour of Canada, my new country, because of my Canadian, Colin, and these Canadian publishers who organised pancakes for a launch party. And on this book tour, I had in mind that I was going to see a series of new cities, the west of the country. Also, there were people I knew who lived in these cities and they were going to come to the readings, and I had new clothes in larger sizes, and I had in mind a tour of telling people, one city after another, about the baby. It’s the way you divide up the future. It’s the way that book tours make your book real, and this tour was going to make the baby real.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame that you didn't get to go to the western part of Canada. I can honestly say that although the weather isn't so great right now, it would have made it a bit sunnier knowing that my favourite author was coming to Alberta!

4:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Henriette said...

This is a very old entry, and you may never get this comment, but if you do: I am so sorry for your loss and THANK YOU for posting this story. I lost my first baby, too, and the pain is still raw, even though I have two beautiful, healthy children now. But the reason the story of your abbreviated book tour hit such a nerve is because I recently miscarried what would have been my third child, and it happened during a business trip thousands of miles from home. Thank you for putting it all into words with such eloquence: the cold floors and unfamiliar doctors and the clucking noises they make as they glance at each other before telling you what's wrong. Reading your story made me cry but it also helped me heal a little bit.

3:00 p.m.  
Blogger Jaclyn Moriarty said...

Henriette, what a sad and generous comment. I am so sorry that you have lost another baby, and far from home too. And I am so grateful to you for posting this. with love, Jaclyn

3:25 p.m.  
Anonymous Henriette said...

Dear Jaclyn,
The pain never fully fades, does it? Living with those memories must be as tough for you as it is for me, but having a child as brilliantly alive as yours (and mine) makes it all feel lighter. Please do continue this blog and especially post more letters to Charlie. Your first made me laugh out loud!

3:06 p.m.  

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