Next week I start out on a small flurry of readings from A Crack in the Wall and as always, each one will have me cogitating over the point of it all. I decided some time ago that there is little to be gained from reading in cities where I have no contacts, no faithful friends or family to join the bookstore manager and the unfortunate customer who gets trapped at the back of the store with no way out except past the lonely author. But really, why bother reading to people who will buy the book anyway? The sheer pleasure of giving voice to story, that’s the point for me. A book in hand is a lovely thing, a gift. Reviews, emails, the old neighbour I bumped into at the grocery store yesterday who said she’s been meaning to phone and talk with me about one of the stories in my book, one of her favourites, those are the rewards. But as a writer for whom short fiction is all about storytelling, it doesn’t get any better than reading aloud. Nothing better than hearing laughter, or silence so intent the words seem to hang in the air waiting for the next sentence. My words, my voice, my audience – the people I’ve been writing to through the whole agonizing process of getting a book into print.

So! Off to Regina, to Lethbridge, to Banff, and then back in Calgary on Oct 10 to read with a stellar young poet, Adrienne Gruber. Now that’s even better – the chance to mix prose and poetry and share the joy of it all with a friend.

Join me if you can.  Let me read you a story.