Saturday, March 22, 2014

Orlando Author Meet and Greet Event on March 29 & 30

I am off to Savannah on March 25 for a 3-day conference then I am heading off to Orlando to visit my cousin Eddy and his wife Hashina. While I am there, I have 3 author events scheduled:
  • March 29 from 10-11am: Author Meet and Greet at the Caribbean Supercenter at 5111 W Colonial Drive, Orlando
  • March 29 from 2-4pm: Author reading and signing - By invitation only at my cousin's home
  • March 30 from 2-3pm: Author Meet and Greet at the Caribbean Supercenter at 5111 W Colonial Drive, Orlando
I've invited some family I have in Orlando so it'll be a good time to catch up with them, update my family tree information and connect with a couple of friends as well. I'm looking forward to a few warm days as well since the winter that never wants to end is still here (tonight it's a low of -19C). Even us hardy Winnipegers are tired of this winter of snow, frozen pipes, water main breaks everywhere and pot holes to size of small craters. The city is beginning to look like a city in a developing country that's been neglected for decades. 
On a hopeful note, spring's equinox will be here on Thursday. Yeah!! It's almost spring. Not the end of winter but the beginning of spring - on the calendar. And that's what I am sticking to!! I was going to say "Come Hell or High Water" but if we get a quick thaw, it will be very high water that feels like hell.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Vernal Equinox 2014

Welcome to the first day of spring in Winnipeg. I left for work at 7:20 this morning and upon exiting the garage, I was immediately greeted with hoar frost blanketing the trees and shrubs. Spring can be a messy time with melting piles of grey snow everywhere but hoar frost has a way of making me smile no matter what kind of foul mood I might be in from the long winter that seems never to want to end.

Front of my house today
Then there was the thick, dense fog which I love because it feels me feel like I could just get out of my car and let it wrap itself around me as if I am in a cocoon. But fog is elusive - like the wind; you know it's there but you can't touch it. I did the next best thing, I took a picture so I could keep it in my memory. Alas the denseness was fleeting; by the time I arrived at work, most of it had dissipated.

 First day of spring

Nevertheless, it was a welcome start to spring.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Successful Book Launch at McNally Robinson

It's been a busy day already! This morning it was an interview at CBC and this afternoon was my official book launch at +McNally Robinson Booksellers. Since this is my first, I was a bit worried that I would only have 5 people show up - Robin, and Sharm and her family. But there must have been about 40 people in total. Nice surprise!
Some of the people included Mom, Jim F, Brent K, Arlene P, Irene F-H, Chantal S, Mary E, Stan C and Hugh L. I was glad to see a lot of familiar faces so that dispelled any nervousness I may have felt. Robin did a brief introduction and he had the crowd chuckling. He talked about how he was told that if he married me when I was so young, he'd be able to mould me into the kind of woman he wanted. He said that he was confident that he did not mould me; instead I was the one who did the moulding.  

 Robin doing his intro
 Robin doing his intro

Sandra - doing my reading

 Sandra - explaining the meaning of the blue lotus
I picked out and read four or five diary entries (passages) from different parts of the book starting with one of the first entries from 1963. After the readings, there were some questions from the audience, some of whom were people who heard the CBC interview this morning and attended.
One of the questions that keeps coming up is the concept of an arranged marriage. It seems to fascinate people. Another one was about the names I used in the book and whether some of the incidents are fiction. I explained at the beginning of the book that all the incidents took place but some names were changed - especially those for which I did not write about the person favourably. I also said that although the book is written in the form of a diary, they were not my diary entries (as I did not write in an autoethnographic style) and I did not at any time refer to my diaries for any content. Everything I wrote was from memory.
I was also asked how long it took to write: about one month. It took much longer to publish - many months in fact.  I was also asked about my understanding of culture. When you are raised as a Christian by a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, you learn to accept people in ways that you might not ordinarily have to.
I stayed around and chatted with a few people and then it was over. By the time I returned home feeling like a minor celebrity from two big events today (yes these are big events for me!), I felt quite good about the reading. I have high hopes that readers will engage with some of the themes I wrote about and in fact, several people have said that they can relate to many of the stories. Some of them are quite poignant, some sad and some funny. That's what I hoped for.
Now, off to babysit my grandbabies tonight.

CBC Interview

I had my interview this morning with Terry MacLeod of +CBC's Weekend Morning Show on 89.3 FM . Robin and I woke up very early to go to the radio/tv station for 7:20am. The interview was at 7:50am and lasted for about 7-8 minutes but a lot was covered during those few minutes and I thought it went well overall.

Terry was quite personable. He came out and greeted us before the interview and given that he had already read some of the book, he mentioned a few things - one about my high school teacher.

This is my second interview so I would hardly call myself a pro but I was not at all nervous about speaking. All those times in front of the TV camera when I was teaching by streaming video really came in handy. Dave G, where ever you are, I have to give you credit for making things seem so easy back in 2002 when I started streaming. Those were the good old days (well, with Dave's help).

I'm happy to be given the opportunity to talk about the book and I hope I can get a few (many) more. If you have one to suggest, please do so.