Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Canadian Author's Association - Vancouver Chapter

Another of those Canadian Authors Association meetings. This time Nancy Flight, Associate Publisher of Greystone Books was the speaker. She’s some sort of Madonna on the speaker circuit, vivacious blond, articulate, intelligent, and a standing room only following. I was lucky to get a piece of floor. The Alliance for the Arts Building was packed. Out on Howe street , scalpers were selling tickets for the alleyway. People in the hall were craning necks to catch a glimpse of an author. Anthony Dalton, the new CAA president, tantalized them by walking across the floor. He’s the very image of a Canadian author, tweedy with twinkling eyes. A Dalton specifically for sure, but very Pierre Berton , Robertson Davies, William Gibson, Steven Leacock mongrelise otherwise.
Bob Mackay read a gripping cavalry passage from his new WWI historical fiction. Benice Lever, editor in residence, offered to practice her gentle sadism, the zen of editing for a modest fee. Adventurous Mumford was there. Jean Kay, whose poetry was all over the newspapers , talked about moving the meeting to the YWCA. I can just see it, “floating room only” in the pool. This things getting popular.
Nancy said books sold in depressions. The D&M Publishing Corporation was expanding. They’d just bought New Society out of Gabriola Island and were looking to add another to the Douglas and McIntyre and Greystone names. All the writers were there tonight taking notes on how to become David Suzuki or write a proposal.
Nancy said Greystone often came up with in house ideas and sought writers. Their latest writer, Julie Angus, author of “Rowboat in a Hurricane” was the first woman to row mainland to mainland across the Atlantic through several hurricanes. Personally I’d have passed on that idea!
Looking about though all the writers were there tonight . Some very keen, asking questions others taking notes, all very attentive. Whose your audience, she asked? The few looking like they’d lived a dissipated writer’s life but now had to write obviously thought that a very novel idea. Doystoyevski was in the corner frowning about gambling debts while Hemingway had to pay for single malt whiskey somehow.
I was happy I’d bought Ben Nuttall-Smith’s book, The Chameleon Sings and had to think about this idea of a proposal. K.A Hume was the type to think her book through. She’s organized that way. But how was I going to come up with a table of contents when I was writing books on sexuality and alcoholism. Nancy Flight told us publishers also wanted us to know whether it was fiction or non fiction. Who knows with alcoholism and sexuality? It helps that I’m an authority and apparently publishers appreciate enthusiasm in writers. At least I had the right topics even if my thesis was a little steamy and foggy.
Nothing like hearing Ben and Bob had both completed writing books since I talked to them last month. Maniacs. Don’t they have any distractions in their lives. I’m tempted to send them over my books, tv , dvd and mp3 players,google, refridgerator, bed, couch, and friends to slow them down a bit. Inspirational is one thing. There’s a lot of inspiration at these Canadian Author’s Association meetings. But Ben and Bob are obviously fanatics. If they had my cat for a weekend they’d be lucky to write a haiku. But all power to them. I told Ben he deserved a vacation in Mexico. I’m back to working on a proposal.

No comments: