So, I’m back in Australia after nearly 3 weeks away in Hawaii and Vancouver. I managed to do three readings. Not sure when I’ll be able to post up photos from the events but we’ll see!
Sechelt (on the sunshine coast, a ferry ride north of Vancouver) was a good opportunity to visit my dear friend Keith and his family, and Frances at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre helped me host an intimate gathering. It was a beautiful setting, and a relaxed sunny Sunday afternoon – so a good space and audience to read many poems from Bowling Pin Fire – it was probably the most poems I’ve ever read at one reading!
I took part in a World Poetry event at the Vancouver Public Library as part of Asian Heritage Month. It was a good to meet Todd Wong in person, who’d graciously arranged for me to take part, and catch up (and trade poetry books) with Fiona Tinwei Lam. The event was very strange indeed. An interesting and eclectic range of poets but the announcements for future events, and introductions and thank yous for each writer took more time than the poems themselves…
Finally, my Vancouver launch was at Little Sisters Bookstore, and it was an honour to read at a place that has been such a positive force, a connective glue, a meeting place and cultural centre for the lesbian and gay community in Vancouver – they and manager Janine Fuller have been great supporters of my writing over the years, and I’m truly grateful. My mom and brother came out for it, and various friends from all parts of my life including high school, university and Australia. It was very different than reading in front of Australian audiences – as not only did Canadian friends and family relate to the specific landscape and culture of the poems set in Canada, but they often recognised the stories on which the poems were based!
Reflecting on my readings, they were much smaller than the events for my first books. This reflects a number of factors – further distance between me and Canada, bonds of friendship and acquaintanceship weakening, and that I didn’t have the same sort of energy to encourage everyone to come. Perhaps also that it was a poetry book, which doesn’t draw as many as fiction (or gay erotica)…And at the same time, it feels that both friends and strangers are cocooning. It’s harder for people to come out to events with children and family commitments. Friends don’t bring along their friends (as we might have in younger days) because they’re not sure themselves of whether they can come. Couples often send one part of the couple as their representative.
I had a prominent listing in the local gay newspaper – and thought that previous buyers of my books might have come along – but a friend tells me that less and less people are reading (or closely reading) the gay newspaper (as is happening in Sydney as well) – and perhaps they are cocooning as well!
It’s good to back in Sydney. I have one more small reading in a few months coming up, but I think my active promotion of Bowling Pin Fire has come to a close now – I’ve announced and reannounced to friends, posted reviews on my website and facebook, sent off review copies in Australia, and organised all of these events. It is time, I feel, to turn my attention to a new project. Whatever that may be.