Jack Absolute Moves West

Onto Denver, where Nicole Sullivan has had the great idea of combining booze and books at Bookbar in the funky Tennyson area of town – and then inviting me to stop there on my Books and Brews tour. It was also Father’s Day, and I had an all male audience of Dads, which made a bit of a change, and allowed me to read a different, appropriate butch section from the novel: Jack’s escape from the Yankees by concealing himself in a beer barrel. Then the delightful Nicole and her fun employee Patrick took me for great Mexican food. My God, I have eaten well on this tour!

Next day was Portland, where I write this now. For those who don’t know they have this excellent bookstore, Powell’s, which occupies a whole block downtown, a veritable book city. I read though in one of their suburban outlets, at Beaverton, to a small but enthusiastic crowd. One man declared that he felt he’d never again go to other author readings or ‘dronings’, as he put it after attending mine. ‘The bar’s too high now,’ he said. I do love to read my stuff aloud and chat about its genesis, the development, how I work.  And since I don’t act much these days, the Thesp in me relishes a good performance.

The other plus of even a small group is that you get to meet the booksellers. Here Peter, who was deputizing, was most captivated and proceeded to order more copies from my backlist and place me, face out in the special ‘adventure’ section of the store. So even though the crowds have been on the small side, I always think like I used to as an actor playing a small audience on a midweek matinee: there might be one person out there for whom this is the treat of their week. It might make all the difference to them. They deserve the best show I can give. And maybe they’ll buy another ticket – or book – next week.

Seattle tomorrow then home. But when I get to Vancouver I have to go straight downtown to a costume fitting – yes, I am acting again, in a TV mystery. Fun! I might also squeeze in a fight rehearsal for the Shakespeare’s Rebel launch before catching a float plane to Salt Spring because, really… I’m obviously not busy enough!

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