30 years ago, I wrote a book. It is called We Could Stay Here All Night. It is a collection of short stories I wrote at graduate school in British Columbia. It was my thesis. It was quietly representative of my life but wasn’t non-fiction, more fiction. There is always a line of truth in my writing and my people always know where that line is drawn.
So I launched the book at a Westmount bookstore one Spring night. It was entirely nerve wracking but I was surrounded by friends and family. My soon to be ex-husband even showed up. From across the coast. Go figure. My new best friend named Cathie turned up too. I didn’t know her very well then. We’d met at a play group where our two boys (now in their 20s) bonded over Lego and a play slide.
That night at the bookstore, she wandered in to the launch with a huge bouquet of flowers, then promptly handed them to my sister Susan. To be fair, Susan and I do look alike. Or we did. She’s now blonde. I’m still a brunette. I grabbed the flowers back. They were for me. But Cathie and me have been besties ever since and been through a lot. A lotta lot.
If truth be told, I had just moved back from Oxford, England to Montreal with 2 small children to live in my parent’s basement. My life was a train wreck. I’d left my husband in England and moved back on a red eye with two children. My plane mate was an Australian and we drank wine together. Way too much wine. My youngest son was 2-ish and still small enough to get in one of those sky cots you get in the bank seats. He slept there, his little legs hanging out of the basket for the six hour flight. My older son had a game boy in the seat rest, I love you British Airways.
I hadn’t worked in a few years choosing instead to look after the boys. But there I was moving into my parents’ basement with two small boys, no job, no money. Just a stellar time in my life. So brilliant. My finest moment.
Then Raincoast books out of Vancouver wants to publish my little book of stories. I actually got to travel across the country and do readings in book stores and bars. I got to sleep in creepy motels like a grown up and visit family and friends. I was not JK Rowling by any stretch but it was awesome. In Nanaimo, British Columbia, the middle of absolutely nowhere, my ex-husband’s best friend shows up in a strange little bar for my book reading. The crowd was all male loggers and I’m reading a story about getting my period for the first time.
Hi Chris, I said, nice to see you again.