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On Tour

April 22, 2008

Tonight We Put Meg Tilly in Her Place
Posted by David Jones

Well, it only took us two nights to figure it out: There are four of us on the Kootenay Leg of these tours and when we hold a reading, someone has to go first and someone has to go last.

The good thing about going first is this: Everyone’s always a little nervous at these things, and if you go first you get your reading out of the way quickly and then you can just relax and listen to the other authors. The good thing about going last, on the other hand, is that your reading is freshest in the minds of the audience when it’s all done, and so people often ask better questions about your book. Also, you get some time to gauge the audience and decide what material to present.

But what you don’t want to do is follow some Oscar-nominated, Golden-Globe winning actress strung out on Gobstoppers reading from her book because . . . well, let’s face it, you’re bound to sound kind of lame by comparison. This isn’t just a reading I’m talking about, it’s a performance. And by the way, if you think for one second that I’m implying Meg’s reading is some kind of compensation for weak material, think again. Porcupine is beautifully written and superbly plotted. I know because I started it before I even embarked on this tour and it’s a terrific read—even when read using only the voices available in my head. Well, come to think of it, that’s a disturbing number of voices but maybe that subject is best left for another blog entry.

The point is, I think I’ve heard her read from Porcupine maybe four times, now, and each time I find myself tearing up a little more. It’s especially hard not to look like a crybaby when people in the audience start bawling.

Nonetheless, something had to be done, and so tonight we put Ms. Tilly in her place: We made her read last for our appearance at the Nelson Public Library, because nobody wants to be the anticlimax.

Not that touring with her hasn’t been fun, as she does everything she can to deflect attention from herself in the most generous way, but if I am ever fortunate enough to go on this tour again, do you know who I want be booked with?

Stephen Hawking. You heard me. Sure, he’s a pretty good writer, but him I think I could outperform. Not to brag, but my voice is just way more expressive than his and I believe I can even read faster than he can, if push comes to shove.

Afterwards, I could challenge him to a foot race if I really wanted to feel good about myself.

David Jones reporting from Nelson, B.C.

By the way, bonus reason for having Hawking along? I’ll bet he could explain the cosmic significance of my hotel room being a perfect cube.

Filed under: Kootenays Leg 2008 | 3 Comments | Permalink


Gail Lane
Apr 23, 2008 at 09:38 AM

You should be ashamed of yourself - picking on Steven Hawking.  What would mum say?!
You’re a very funny guy - I’m sure that your tour mates are enjoying your sense of humour.  I wish I could think of something clever and witty but I think it would pale by comparison…
Keeping up the blogging - it’s fun to follow you along on your journey.
Love, Gail

Apr 23, 2008 at 04:51 PM

Hey, David, I can relate! On the Northern tour, Kari-Lynn Winters and Nan Gregory read first (alternating order) so that those who turned up with small children could then leave gracefully before Mary Novik read her splendid and spicy Conceit and I read from my essays about history and place. Well, it was wonderful to hear Kari-Lynn and Nan—both are superb performers and their books are poignant and funny and beautifully written—but I realized that it was always a let-down for audiences to hear my….well, quiet work as a follow-up! Mary at least had sex and desire in hers! Maybe we can go together when SH goes on tour???

Mary Novik
Apr 25, 2008 at 02:33 PM

Theresa is being modest, as usual. Within moments of her beginning to read from Phantom Limb, audiences would be transfixed, soaking up the nuances in her spellbinding narratives. I know because I was sitting there, watching their faces and sucking my magic zinc lozenge, wondering what the heck I would do to follow such a fabulous act.

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