Posts by Chris:
I don’t know how this happened, but last Saturday my mug graced the front page of the Montreal Gazette’s culture section. It was nuts.
I knew the interview was coming. I had met with Gazette reporter Ian McGillis at my apartment on Monday evening. On Wednesday night, photographer Allen McInnis came over to take a picture and shoot the video. But I had no idea I’d be waking up to two #$@&%*! pages.
Ian did a great job with the article. At this point it’s important for me to get the book into the hands of people who don’t know me. This Gazette article will help do that. All over the city – from suburban homes in the West Island to packed coffee shops in the Mile End – people were reading the profile and discovering the book. I was thrilled.
I hope this means that more Montreal bookstores will carry copies of the book. Last Tuesday I stopped by Indigo downtown to see if my book was on the shelf. It wasn’t. So I looked it up on their self-serve computers. It said there were two copies in the store.
I suppose I looked puzzled because a very nice older woman who worked there stopped me and asked if I needed any help. I pointed to the screen. “I wrote that book,” I told her.
“Really?” she beamed. “Would you like to sign some copies?”
“Yes, I would,” I said. “Except, I can’t seem to find it.”
The woman went to the terminal and clicked around. “Oh,” she said. “It just came in. It’s probably in the back. Do you want me to go check?” She took off for a while and came back several minutes later apologetic. Apparently the books were on a pallet somewhere waiting to be unpacked. I thanked her and told her I would come by later.
But only two copies?
Montreal is my hometown. It’s prevalent in my book. I don’t need a display or anything, but I’d like to think that stores would carry more than just two books by one of their city’s writers. Hopefully this Gazette article will change that.
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Last Wednesday, The Globe and Mail published an essay I wrote for their Facts & Arguments page. It posed the question “How do you write about sex when you know your parents are going to read it?”
Self-censorship was something I struggled with from time to time while writing Pluto. The book is about relationships so there was going to be some sex in there. I just needed to make sure that my desire to not have my parents change the way they saw me did not interfere with telling the truth of the story.
This is how I dealt with it. Read the essay here.
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Not enough days have passed for me to get my head fully around what happened last Thursday.
I launched my first book in Montreal. It was a day I had been waiting for, imagining, most of my life. And it was great.
I had this idea that I wanted to do something big for my book launch – something unique and different from all the cookie-cutter ones I’ve been to over the years: no plastic cups of wine, dry crackers, obscured sightlines, or long readings. I wanted my launch to be more like a party, a celebration of the fourteen years it took to write the book and an acknowledgment of all my friends and colleagues who’ve supported me.
I knew I’d be throwing it in a bar and so I chose a venue in the Village – Cabaret Mado. It was big enough to fit the amount of people I wanted to invite. It was also ground level, close to the metro, and located in the neighbourhood my main character Will hangs out in.
Since Will is a geography teacher I thought it would be fun to recreate his high school classroom in the bar. My dad helped me find the props. He works at my old high school, so he was able to locate a portable chalkboard, a projector, and a bunch of student desks and chairs. My friend Craig loaned me his teacher’s desk.
Greg and I picked up everything that afternoon and brought it to the bar. Cabaret Mado has a nice large stage they use for their drag shows. That’s where we placed the set. My friend Craig had also designed visuals based on the book, which we projected on a white screen at the back.
Also, a good friend gave me a generous donation so I was able to offer a free cocktail to the first 100 people. I gave it the name “Strictly Plutonic” after a suggestion I received on Facebook. In reality, the cocktail was a yummy pomegranate martini.
People started arriving around 5:45 pm. I took my spot at the teacher’s desk to sign the books and the line did not stop. I signed for almost two and a half hours straight, stopping only to make some announcements: my friend Peter gave me a wonderful introduction, and then I did a short reading and made my thank you speech.
I chronicled the day on Storify, if you’re curious to see more.
I really felt the love last Thursday (I think there must have been close to 200 people in the room). As I said during my speech, I felt like I was George Bailey at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life” – seeing a steady stream of familiar faces coming up to congratulate me. It was amazing. I only wish I got to spend more time with everyone.
Together we launched Pluto into the great unknown. I think we gave it a wonderful send off.
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This is it. Today’s the day. How many years in the making? How many quiet, lonely nights did I toil away to get to this point?
It was all worth it.
The venue is confirmed, the drinks ordered, the outfit picked, the excerpt selected, and the speech written (well, kind of). It’s a beautiful morning. The sun is brightening up the courtyard behind my place. The apartment is quiet, except for my cat trying to have a morning conversation with the birds outside.
Thus begins the day I’ve been waiting for most of my life.
I’m going to do my best to document it all. To shoot, to film, to Tweet and post throughout the day.
To participate, follow #pluto.
See you at Cabaret Mado (1115 Ste. Catherine East) tonight from 6 to 8 PM.
Interviews started this week. The first one I did was with City TV’s Breakfast Television on Monday morning. It was to promote my book, but also the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival which is taking place this week (I have an event today at 7 pm).
I thought I did a pretty good job (at least I came across as relaxed). One thing I need to learn NOT to do is inject needless qualifiers in my speech – things like “basically” and “kind of”. I never realize how much I say them until I hear a recording of myself. It’s such a passive way of talking. If only I could press CTRL-F to find and remove them from my everyday speech.
You can watch the interview here.
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