April 29, 2013

Ottawa, Walrus Talks, Blue Met, photo shoot...and after.

I wanted to start this post with talking about how great a time I had at the Ottawa International Writers Festival, but reading over my last post, I see I already did that!  But really, though, the lovely time just continued through the reading, the post-reading fun in the hospitality suite, my delicious breakfast in my room the next morning...even the nice chat with the volunteer who drove me to train station.  I was sad not to be able to stay longer to visit friends and attend even more of the festival!

In terms of the event itself, I thought it was stellar. Shyam Selvadurai read from his novel, and now I can't wait to de-smokify my hardcover copy and start reading.  And Cathy Buchanan gave an amazing PowerPoint presentation showing the background on the inspiration and real historical details in her novel.  She also very kindly gave me her own copy of The Painted Girls, as she'd heard about my fire.  I couldn't bring myself to turn it down because I'd been in the middle of reading it and was forced to put aside due to smokiness. But I was so excited and distracted by everything going on that I forgot to get her to sign it...doh!! But the bright side is that when I do get my books taken care of, I'll be able to pay it forward by giving one copy of this wonderful book to somebody else.

The festival venue...
(just down the street from my old high school!)

There were lots of familiar faces at the reading, including high school friends and friends' moms, and my writing instructor from Carleton (Rick Taylor)!

With Cathy Buchanan and Shyam Selvadurai 
at the Ottawa Writersfest

I got back to Montreal on Saturday afternoon, one hour before soundcheck for the Walrus Talks event, where I met so many smart people, including fellow writer-types Pasha Malla and Vincent Lam.  I really enjoyed all the talks, especially Rachel Giese's on adoption, and Will Straw's on French and English.  Jonathan Goldstein's was (as you might expect!) hilarious.  And although I have been anxious about my own talk for weeks, I think it went over just fine.  A number of people came up to me to speak to me about it afterwards...and only some of them were family members...so I'm really pleased.  (And even more pleased it is behind me.)

Later on, I gave a reading at Blue Met with other local writers (all happy new discoveries for me, as I hadn't read any of them before: Peter Kirby, Rae Spoon, and Barry Webster).  I wish my own reading had been a little more energized, but I was running on empty at that point.  When I got home just before nine that night, I was so happy to change into warm, comfy clothes and finally eat a real meal (nothing by canapes since breakfast) and watch SNL (a repeat, but we hadn't caught it the first time around, and it was hilarious). 

And Sunday was the photo shoot for Bare it for Books!  I slept in, made coffee, then walked down the street to the nail place for a mani-pedi --- an indulgence I spend lots of time thinking about but actually haven't done since my wedding.  (Strategically, it probably would have been a better thing to do before my two-day whirlwind of events, but I just couldn't find the time.) Then Dallas Curow came over and did my makeup (reading Dallas' makeup tutorials is one of my favourite ways to relax on the internet these days) before doing her genius photographer thing until we had some promising shots. Compared to apartment fires and public talks, the shoot was a breeze (and, ahem, breezy). Thanks so much, Dallas... you are amazing! 

A selfie before I took off the makeup. (Eyelashes!)

The rest of the day was equally perfect: a quick supper, an impromptu movie (Silver Linings Playbook), a Sens win, and watching music videos online. 

I feel almost ready to face the week...and work, and taxes, and the smoky apartment again. 


Amanda said...


It's so lovely to read about the excitement happening around Bone and Bread, and your visits to festivals, and all of these exciting writerly goings-on. It's particularly wonderful to read about them when we know it's been a chaotic few weeks for you, to say the least! Your enthusiasm, smile, and go-gettishness are a continued source of inspiration. Reading your blog puts a smile on my face every day, so thank you so much for that.

(And thanks again, as well, for that lovely photo shoot! ;)

Amanda xo

saleema said...

Oh, thanks so much, Amanda!!

(Re: the photo shoot, thanks again for asking me! It really turned out to be a lot of fun.)