Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vancouver Adventure!

I've had some adventures.

There are several of you who read my blog that have shared adventures with me: Those of you who are still alive, and still have your eyes, or can still make sense of letters put together in some semblance of order.

There are some of you who probably don't believe all the adventures I've had. (I'm having.) Which is the way it should be. I'm a FICTION writer--I'd feel bad if everyone believed every story I tell.

But here's an adventure with living witnesses, people that I still know where they are, and THAT they are:

Vancouver--last weekend.

Now, I remember spending an entire summer rafting every day. I almost drowned three times, was bit by a black lab, nearly fell off the cliff I had to scale--at least twice, and then had to jump off the same cliff back into the river to make it to the raft that was departing from where my friends had last seen me take the plunge, struggle to swim against the Snake River's current, and drift around a corner, headed toward a set of rapids called Rattlesnake with only my lifejacket to hold my head above water. (that was one trip down-river.)

Adventurous. Fairly typical, though, for my life in my twenties.

I drove a 1969 Mustang. I traveled a lot. I was always stuck somewhere. (and that was before cell phones.)

I wouldn't think that an overnight trip four hours away, in someone else's car, for a thrilling business trip would be any sort of comparable adventure.

Thing is, I wouldn't THINK a lot of things.

I wouldn't think that I'd feel like such a superstar after that long, long overnight trip was over, either. But I certainly do.

So there's this magazine that has graciously bought quite a bit of my writing. You may have read me write about about them.... :) Every Day Fiction launched their anthology, The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008, this past Saturday. I have four stories in it, and I was very excited to attend their launch party.

My then online aquaintance, fellow writer appearing in the anthology, and now friend, K.C. Ball, lives in Seattle. I met her there, and she drove us to Vancouver.

First she drove us to Blaine, Washington. It's the border town. There her SUV began making the familiar screeching sound of a burning belt. When we limped to the Blaine Mini Mart, we found the belt and what looked like the alternator, smoking and screaming at us.

So we went inside to see just how screwed we were.

The lady behind the counter was very helpful, but was also pretty sure that since it was Saturday, we were fairly screwed. Her mother, however, a nice little old lady standing in the aisle said she thought not.

She took us to the local mechanic who happened to be at his new shop just because he was moving into it. Now, K.C. will tell you that this little old lady--who's 83--is named Maureen. I wrote down Marlene. I hope I'm the right one, because that's what I wrote in the copy of the anthology that K.C. and I signed and gave to her. Marlene/Maureen was kind enough to take us the 30 miles south to Bellingham to rent a car, too, after Rich the mechanic assured us that he'd take care of us and call when the car was ready. Rich is a good dude--he did just what he said he would. And he wants to sell my t-shirts in his store.

So Marlene/Maureen took us to pick up her son, (John?) who is recovering from recently being buried alive in a construction accident. He broke every rib on one side of his body, along with three parts of his spine and his femur pushing his face out of the dirt. But he's alive. He's a card-carrying pot smoker who'd worked in the same little dinky towns in Colorado that I did. Anyone else here ever heard of Parachute or Rifle? Not many of you, I'm sure.

We rented a little white car, and were back on our way at just the time we'd expected to arrive in Vancouver.

So we called our fellow writer and friend, Gay Degani, who was planning to eat lunch with us, and told her we'd be there about an hour later than we thought.

Then we hit the border.

Now, you know I cut my hair, right? I'm clean cut. All-American, even, as long as I keep my mouth closed.

I used to get pulled aside at the airport--"Excuse me sir, could you step out of line, please?" But not lately. Not with my hairstyle and all.

Apparently I'm still very suspicious to the Canadian border guards. We were told by a very serious woman to pull over our car and go inside the guard station. Where we were asked VERY personal questions by another serious guard. Then we sat with suspected terrorists and drug smugglers--seriously, one got arrested right beside us--for nearly an hour. They searched our car. Finally they gave us our passports, stamped a piece of paper and said, "Thanks, you two, welcome to Canada, have a nice day."

So we called Gay and let her know we were skipping lunch, and that we'd probably make it to the hotel just in time for the event, which began at 4PM. And how right we were. We made it to the hotel at 3:40. We'd expected to arrive at 12:30, I'd even set up an early check-in.

It turned out that my room was next to Gay and her husband Tim's. I gathered her, K.C. met us, and we whisked off to the bookstore. We were ten minutes late.

I didn't eat all day. I had one rootbeer.

The event was excellent. And they fed me coffee.

I'd fallen in love with Every Day Fiction a long time ago anyway. But meeting the staff in person made them so much more my favorites. Jordan, Camille, and Steven made my first book signing and reading a thrilling, fun, comfortable event.

They are amazing.

I'm seriously enamored. And so happy for the way they treated us while we were there, and for all they did to make the event so excellent.

Jordan is gracious and humble, though he's an amazing writer who just placed VERY HIGH in the Writers of the Future Contest--he won it!--which is a really big deal. Camille planned everything, as it seems she does, with grace. It was lovely. Steven is an excellent dude. He runs the website most excellently, was friendly, cool, and a total stud.

It was a fabulous time.

Launch party, dinner, drinks. FANS! (I signed books!!) What more could a writer ask for?

It was nothing less than an excellent adventure.

And the way home was mellow. Except the blizzard.....

I didn't take nearly enough photos--it was seriously crazy. But here's what I did manage:

Gay and K.C. outside the bookstore when we arrived.

This is a shot of seriously important heads.

Every Day Fiction! Jordan, Camille and Steven. I LOVE these people.

This is Andy LeBlanc on the left. He is one of the funniest people I've met. (and you all know how funny YOU are!) Peter Tupper is on the right.

A view from my room. I had a pretty good set of views.

Here's me.


Adventure. Thank you Every Day Fiction!!

Thanks for reading!


Blogger Gay Degani said...

What a great account and your pix are far superior to mine, but I'll try and get some to you. Most of mine were blurred. I guess I was excited.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Shameless said...

haha! That's why I have so few!

11:11 AM  
Blogger K.C. Ball said...

Her names WAS Marlene! Silly me. Her son's name was Bob.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

It sounds like a crazy but great trip! I wish I could have been at the launch. Maybe next year!

10:38 AM  
Anonymous M 'freekin' Sherlock said...


11:21 AM  
Blogger Shameless said...

It was great great fun. I hope to see all of you next year. I hope I get a story in the next antho!

5:44 PM  

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