I am away from home, and at present, sitting in a Tim Horton’s coffee shop for a simple, fast-food breakfast while waiting for the nearby Chapters book store to be ready for my book-signing event. This is my third such event in Calgary in three days.
Friday I drove from my home in Saskatchewan, to Calgary. I left in darkness as it was a five and a half hour drive across the prairies to reach the first Chapters bookstore. I stopped a few times, once for gas and coffee, and once to get a photo of the rising sun.
Once in the store at the beginning of the final long week-end of the summer, I sold sixteen books. I exceeded my expectations and that of the store itself which predicted somewhere between five and ten books might be sold because it was a warm, sunny day and few shoppers were expected. Once the event ended, I drove to a room I had rented in a private home. Yesterday, I went to a second store with a sale of fourteen books during a day with significantly less customer traffic.
No internet at the house meant that I maintained a curious silence that was filled with listening to music, a bit of writing on the third novel, and finally trying to catch up on sleep. Tonight I drive on to Red Deer where I will stay with my son and his family. Tomorrow I drive to Edmonton for the final book-signing event for the long week-end, returning to stay at my son’s for the week. Somewhere along the way, I will find my way back here.
The whole idea of a book-selling road trip has a certain appeal – meeting new people, listening to their stories of books they are writing and hoping to publish, talking about my own books, engaging with others … for me, as an introvert, this is a challenge that surprisingly becomes fulfilling. But needless to say, after four or five hours, I am totally drained of energy, too tired to enjoy any kind of socialising. No one in the stores would ever guess that I am an introvert. Introversion isn’t marked by one’s behaviour and presence, but by the flow of libidinal energy – draining one’s inner batteries and recharging them.
Of course, this makes for me being tired after an event and not good company. As a result, I do these trips solo with my wife staying home to keep busy with home and work life rather than have her sit on the sidelines while I sell books, then again sitting on the sidelines because of my being too tired for anything else. Being separated isn’t a preferred state of affairs for either of us. But, it is the best scenario we can manage. At least we know and understand the needs of the other and thus accept the time apart with grace.