I made two rookie mistakes during my Victoria reading.
First, I sat in the chair I'd been specifically warned off of. It was a slouchy leather armchair. It appealed to me because it looked comfortable and ALSO was right at the front, so I'd be able to get photos of the readers. (Oh, the ephemera...)
It was the kind of chair that absorbs you. That keeps you from EVER getting up.
I sipped my tea while listening to Peter Midgley break out of his Congress acquisitions funk to read a poem. And I refrained from heckling him, which is about all that anyone can expect from me, in terms of behaviour. (I'm an inspired heckler...)
And then Yvonne Blomer, host of Planet Earth Poetry and Palimpsest pressmate, got up and introduced me. (She's a dab hand with a mic stand, that one...)
It was me and then three Malahat-ian readers: recent contributor/fictioneer Cody Klippenstein and board members Iain Higgins and Eric Miller.
And I lurched out of the chair. LURCHED!
My second rookie mistake was being somewhat under-rehearsed. Everything in How to Make a Collage is brand brand new, so I didn't yet have the poems half-memorized, as is my wont. And the sun was setting into the cafe. And I was tired after three days at Congress, all the exuberant shrubbery everywhere, the fact that there are no screens on the windows just getting to me.
But I'd eaten some magnificent seafood during those three days. And
Congress is all about ideas and human conversation. And Susan Sanford
Blades was kind enough to sell my books at the Malahat books table.
And it was so much fun. And I do so love reading, which is why I'd organized this mini-tour in the first place. So I launched in, reading poems from Hump and from How to Make a Collage. I read a poem for my aunt Sue, who lives in Victoria now, and who had snuck my cousin Chris into the event. I hadn't seen him in fifteen years. And I read for M, who was somewhere on the road between Winnipeg and Revelstoke, car-camping with the girl.
So I read for the people there, ones I knew and the ones I didn't, and felt that they were listening to me, that they were engaged with the poems, and then it was over.