Saturday, November 14, 2020

Be Kind to Gentle Authors

Tomorrow is the Pugwash Farmers' Market Outdoor CHRISTMAS Market: Sunday, November 15, 11 am to 3 pm.
It was supposed to go today but today is cool and damp; tomorrow won't be wet but it will be cold. I'll be wearing my thermal long underwear to block that north wind gusting through Pugwash from the Northumberland Strait! 
It's funny -- and fortunate -- how farmers' markets have been able to survive and thrive during this time of pandemic lockdown, slowdown, and restrictions. Far too often, we don't take these "homemade" and "handmade" vendors seriously, but they offer good food and good products in a safe environment. 

I'll be there with my cookbook -- and I'm afraid tomorrow is the day I'll sell out. There was a big demand for books yesterday, for some reason, so I have a limited supply for the market. I was so concerned about having too many books left over that I got caught short; I re-ordered last night but that shipment won't come for two weeks. 
I've become a mini-Amazon (without the billions): I'll be taking orders and telling customers "Ships in one to two weeks!" There are worse problems to have! 

A gentleman called yesterday to see if he could drop by the house and buy a copy for his wife's birthday. "We really enjoyed your Field Notes," he told me. I assured him this collection of stories and recipes were simply more of that kind of writing. 

Another woman messaged me on Tuesday night to say she was reading Field Notes for the first time and those stories were exactly what she needs right now, "given our current world". 

And yesterday, Jean Mills, whose latest young adult novel is set in Pugwash, posted on Instagram -- on World Kindness Day -- that "Writing YA fiction means always competing with the bestseller titles of gritty, sassy, edgy teen experience. But I hope readers (and librarians and influencers and book bloggers) know that there's a place for gentler, subtler, kinder stories too." 

We need feel-good stories; we need to read books that make us unclench our jaws, and even smile, books that help us de-hunch our shoulders and breathe in deeply, perhaps even belly laugh, books that we think about while walking and look up to the sky with a sigh of contentment, an exhaled "Yes" that we wish that story hadn't ended. 

As I told the Grade 1-2 class I was in the other day, the world needs more puppies, not more zombies!

What's more interesting, however, that I spent two days with a writing friend at her home in Cape Breton, and came away more resolved than ever that my days as a professional writer -- a freelance writer, an author publishing books -- are over. Yet it seems every time I commit to giving up publishing (to focus on teaching, and my death & bereavement studies), someone comes along and tells me they love my writing and that I must keep doing it. 

That's results in a different kind of looking up at the sky and sighing, let me tell you. 

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