Friday, January 08, 2010

In media res

Oddly enough, I've done two TV interviews in two weeks.

The first was in my role as Events Coordinator at Aqua Books when City TV came calling, two days after McNally Robinson booksellers announced they were closing two of four of their stores...and bookstore owner Kelly Hughes was out of town.

Horrors! Kelly is such a dab hand at dealing with the media that I've never had to worry about speaking for the bookstore before.

Problem is, I've only worked at Aqua for two years...and I've been a part of this community for nearly fifteen.

Being part of the community over this span meant being thrilled when I got asked to read at McNally's, meant many hours browsing and buying books in the various stores, meant eating in the restaurant.

(More after the turn...)

My favourite McNally's memory is actually partially a Prairie Fire memory. I got a job as Administrative Assistant at the venerable lit mag one summer when I was still at the U of Wpg, and one of my duties was to help prepare for launch parties.

PF was launching their Carol Shields issue at the Osborne Village McNally's store and, since Shields had graciously agreed to be in attendance, Managing Editor Andris Taskans and the rest of the staff wanted to do something, well, gracious, in return.

No one had a car and so anything elaborate was out of the question, but I was promptly sent out into the day with a wad of cash and told to get flowers.

Which I did, at Safeway, because there wasn't another florist within walking distance. Which somehow didn't feel very gracious, as I marched back to the bookstore, but as soon as the flowers were in a vase, we all felt somehow that we'd marked the occasion.

...which is a long digression when all I was attempting to say was how difficult it was speaking as a representative of the bookstore and not just as a writer, mourning the difficulties McNally's seems to be in. Which is what the news story was about.

Anyways, I seemed to do okay in the interview, even if I didn't admit to great concern over Aqua's prospects based on McNally's difficulties. As the reporter would have obviously preferred, since she asked variants of the same leading question over and over.

The next week, we were asked to participate in another "McNally's Aftershock" story - this one about the growth of e-books with Global TV.

(If you've been following the McNally's story, their financial difficulty has been variously attributed to their expansion into the Toronto market during a recession and and the growth of e-books - i.e. the DEATH of paper-and-glue books.)

Since Kelly had returned from his travels, I thought I was off the hook. Until Kelly appeared and said that the reporter wanted to get the perspective of "a local author."

Which meant me.

I said semi-coherent things about e-books and real books and how we read different kinds of books. How poetry doesn't yet work on e-readers. I even used visual aids, pulling down a romance and also Gillian Wigmore's Soft Geography.

And then, after we were done, I showed them the cover for my book on the computer behind the counter, mostly because I was excited about having a cover to show people.

They got excited about that. And that's what they wound up using.

(Relatively) fun!


Anonymous said...

wow! I'm so honoured to have been your visual aid! Imagine that it's me you reach for to illustrate a thought. Thanks, A! Yer a beauty!


Ariel Gordon said...

Anytime, Gilly! How goes that novel of yours, by the way?