Then I did something totally out of character. In spite of all the unknowns I purchased a ticket. To understand exactly what I had committed to you need to know that she was going to be speaking at a church in downtown Vancouver. Not the outskirts of Vancouver, not even in the part of the city right before you cross one of the bridges that take you into the downtown core. The function was going to be where the traffic is the worst, the parking is almost non-existent, and where it would take me at least two and a half hours to get to.
About a week after I bought my ticket my sister-in-law Lynn phoned and told me she had finally started reading "that author" I had told her to try, and that she was loving the books. Well, that author was Louise Penny, and I know a gift horse when I see one. In a matter of minutes I had talked Lynn into going with me.
We decided I would drive to her home in White Rock, and then she would drive the rest of the way since the church was very close to where she used to work and she knows the area better than me. I have to say, it was very nice to be a passenger and not the driver for a change. I also have to say it's good I have nerves of steel, because my sister-in-law drives like a bat out of hell.
Due to the bat out of hell scenario we arrived at the church a full half hour before the event was due to start.
I was shocked when we entered the church and saw it was already two thirds full. Clearly I am not the only Louise Penny fan. I took this picture soon after we arrived. More and more people kept pouring in the doors, and by the time she started speaking there were over 700 people in attendance. (My apologies to the anonymous man whose rear end is featured in this picture.)
I wish you could have been there with me. She was funny and humble and fascinating and entertaining and I didn't want her to stop talking. I wasn't the only one either. She was scheduled to speak for thirty minutes, then take questions. At the forty minute mark she suddenly checked her watch and looked shocked at the time. She said she better leave it there and move on to the questions, and as soon as the words were out of her mouth the most amazing thing happened. I think it was this audience's equivalent of an encore call. There was a collective groan from all 700 people in attendance. She looked shocked again, then pleased, then kind of shrugged her shoulders and kept on talking for a bit longer.
She talked about Grace Notes in her life, and how so many grace notes went into her getting her first book, Still Life, published. Then after it was published her agent committed her to writing two more in the series and she was filled with fear because she didn't know how she had done the first book, and didn't know if she could do it again. Wow, could I ever identify with that feeling. Her therapist told her that she was letting "her critic" write the book, and instead she needed to let her creative soul write the first draft.
Then she answered questions from the audience. Being a complete coward, of course I didn't raise my hand. But many others did, and both the questions and the answers were very thoughtful. Now here's the part I should be hanging my head in shame over. After the Q&A, it was announced she would be signing books at the front, and they asked those of us who wanted a book signed to please line up in the middle aisle. This is where all those hikes up and down Teapot Hill paid off. In spite of being in the back of the church, I ended up at almost the front of the book signing line. In my defence I will say I didn't push or harm anyone on my way there. I just moved very, very fast. I felt this was totally justified since it was already almost 9:00 and I had a two and a half hour drive home.
This doesn't have anything to do with the rest of this post, other than it has what could be considered a grace note in it. Karsten texted me this picture yesterday of their family at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.
Here's their grace note. On the trail to the lake they encountered a grizzly bear. It was coming towards them with its nose to the ground, apparently oblivious to their presence. Karsten finally made some noise and it moved off the trail so they could pass. I have run into black bears many times, but never a grizzly. And I count that as one of my grace notes.