behind the scenes of the tour

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jun 09 2012

I am back from my first book tour. One of the things I cannot stop thinking about is: how many people were involved in making this tour possible and a success. I want to dedicate this post to acknowledging them.

First, I would like to thank Mother Tongue Publishing and Mona Fertig for hosting, coordinating, for the beautiful posters, and for spreading the word, literally and literary. Also for tweeting during the tour. Thank you to The League of Canadian Poets and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support with funding.

I left on June 1st on a rainy Vancouver morning to drive to Kamloops in time for the 4pm reading event at The Art We Are Cafe. Alongside the reading there were a few open mics. One of the people at open mic worked at the cafe. Thank you to Jason Hewlett for the phone interview and the write up in the June 1st Kamloops Daily News.

Thank you to Sylvia Olson (Central Rep for the Federation of BC Writers) not only for organizing the event in Kamloops, but also for putting me in touch with the FBCW Area Reps in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. Thank you Sylvia for inviting me to stay in your home. Here is waking up to the magpies in the yard.

Next stop was Vernon. June 2nd reading was at the historic Mackie Lake House. We made it almost in time after I stopped at Cat Majors’ place to drop my stuff off and hurried off to the event.
We arrived to tea served in china cups. To open doors and warm welcomes. To a sun dappled garden and an old, old house.

Christine Kashuba (Mackie Lake House Manager) had everything set up and ready for us. After the reading she even gave an impromptu tease tour of the house. Thank you, Christine.

The reading took place on the patio. The lake and the breeze and the rustling leaves were perfect contributions to the mood and the poems. Need I say, it was an animated reading.

The audience contributed with their energy, attentive ears and questions. I thought I heard one of the ghosts come home while we were there. Or maybe they were going out. Hard to tell with ghosts.

That night my address was between the bees and the full moon.

Between the grasses and the apple trees. Between dirt hill and childhood memories. Between the sacred and the honey. The early morning muse and the late afternoon tea. Between the poetry lines and the receipts. Between the laughter and the drum. Between the elders and the garden of four directions.

Thank you Cat and Jamie. I had a lovely time with you in your colourful home. We covered so much ground over eggs, asparagus, and toast. Thank you Mona for putting me in touch with Cat and their little paradise.

The third reading was also in Vernon, this time at the Gallery Vertigo.

Set up. People arriving.

Thank you Kevin for hosting, and MC-ing and helping set up and support this reading.

Third day in a row I was beginning to feel a bit of the exhaustion. But there I am, reading.

Thank you to all the people who stepped up to the open mic.

The gallery is such an intimate space we did not need a mic for the reading or the open mic.
Thank you Markella (who is in the above photo with me) for coming to both readings and spreading the word. Also for your passion and your writing. Markella is also the FBCW Area Rep for Vernon.

Signing some books. Thank you to all who bought the weight of dew and the book if It. They love it when they fall in your hands.

At the end of the night on our way out Kevin invited us to write on his car (instead of ride in his car). This is his poetic vehicle.

I wrote a line from one of my poems that he remembered from the reading. “look, see the way rain teaches asphalt of its depressions…”

I spent the night, and a very productive morning, at Diane Rhenisch’s house, who I finally had the pleasure to meet. I have known Harold for quite a few years. It was great to chat with Diane over a glass of wine and a chocolate treat.
Thank you, Diane, for your hospitality in your beautiful home. In the quiet moments of the morning while re-reading Jan Zwicky’s Wittgenstein Elegies over coffee, one of those fast running birds around the yard flew into the living room window with a loud thump. I was awake for the rest of the day. It worked better than coffee. The bird flew away, hopefully unharmed. I meant to ask: What are these birds? I wanted a name for them.

Day 4. In Kelowna I met Shannon Linden who was kind to host me at her house for the night. Shannon is a journalist, author, and educator. She is also the FBCW area rep for Kelowna and she is the one who helped book the venue and spread the word and put me in touch with Fern Teleglow (Kelowna Branch Head Librarian). Thank you Shannon for all that and for inviting me into your beautiful home. Everywhere I looked there was something to nourish the spirit.

Fern assisted us with booking and setting up the space as well. Thanks goes to the library for providing the space. Poet Nancy Holmes also did a fabulous job spreading the word. Thank you Nancy for being our MC for the night. It was a delight to read alongside Portia Priegert, who joined me as a guest reader that night. Thank you Portia for your exploration of place, for the valleys and the bowls and the shells. And to all the people who found time in their busy day to come out that night, thank you. Including Shannon’s daughter (who is 15 and a writer as well) and including the youngest person in the audience who was 10. She is also a writer and I was so happy to meet her and see her go home with the little book of It.

After the reading a few of us went to a pub/bar where the conversations and the laughter continued and Nancy treated us to some delicious Red Rooster 2010 pinot blonc white wine and a Mediterranean feast.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Vikki Drummond who came to the reading and joined us for a drink. I found out that this painting hanging on a wall in Shannon’s house was painted by Vikki. Then I checked Vikki’s website and all of a sudden I saw a sensibility that the book of It likes very much. We will see what emerges from these mutual inspirations.

Finally, when I thought I could not do another reading we were at Day 5 and I was on my way to Penticton.
Michelle Barker poet ,writer, editor, mother of 4 and who knows what other super powers, ( also FBCW area rep) was quite helpful in locating venues and being my Penticton contact, and for putting me in touch with Aggie Stevens. I was delighted to hear Michelle read her poems at open mic.

The only thing I regret on this tour is that I spaced out on our plan to meet for lunch at The Bench. It is so, so rare that I would miss an appointment or date with someone. (It is more common that I might be late, but never a no-show). So the feeling that got me is not one I get often. It feels like being sick to your stomach. Knowing someone was waiting for you and you did not show up. Michelle, you and I will make up for this in the near future. My apologies, again.

Hooked on Books bookstore had a warm set up and a warm welcome for us. Judy took photos which I hope to get one of these days and post here. Her husband was the MC. There was also coffee and tea and banana bread, which Michelle had made. Again, thank you to all of you who bought books and support our independent bookstores.
Aggie Stevens, thank you for opening your home to me. For feeding me delicious food you just whip up in no time. It was great to hang out with you after the reading while we watched the evening hills dim and darken over wine and over one conversation after another. That night I slept just up the hill from Red Rooster and Misconduct Winery listening to the wind in the trees. I have been traveling the wine route for a while.

Without all of you I do not know how this tour would have been possible. And it would definitely have been less enjoyable.
( ( ( ( THANK YOU ) ) ) )

On June 6th I had to head home as expediently as possible to be on time to hand in my son’s mentorship project before the end of school that day. I drove through two kinds of snow. Cold snow in the hills between Penticton and Merritt (twice). Then later drove through cotton wood snow.

Friday June 7th was the celebration of the mentors who gave their time to mentor students in their respective interest area. My son did 2D and 3D graphic design with his mentor Matt Marshall (see photo, Matt is on the right, while my son is delivering his thank you speech). That was the project we needed to hand in urgently (for the display) on my speedy return. Thank you Teresa Milden for co-ordinating these mentorships every year.

And so this week ended with another day of one thank you after another. 80 some students each thanked their mentors. And, of course, there was cake, if not wine.

13 Responses to “behind the scenes of the tour”

  1. Ann Blackwell Says:

    Daniela, thank you for sharing all that information about your book tour. It let me feel a little bit of what it must be like. I am so delighted for you. I know it was fatiguing, but also exhilarating. What a grand way to celebrate your beautiful poetry, and to be celebrated as a wonderful poet! Congratulations.

  2. Michelle Barker Says:

    Daniela, so lovely to see these photos and read about your tour. Your reading in Penticton was magical. Your words came alive that night. You are an inspiration to us all.

  3. Daniela Elza Says:

    Thank you Ann.
    Thank you, Michelle. The best reward is to hear I have inspired another.





  6. Sylvia Olson Says:

    It was a pleasure to play a part in your first book tour. You are an amazing poet and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your experience with the rest of us.

  7. Daniela Elza Says:

    Thank you, Sylvia. Hope *play* is the key word here. :-)

    Hey, Liverpool Pete, you’ve gone all caps since the last time I saw you. Yes, we should take care of our little bookstores where people know us by name. Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  8. Shannon Linden Says:

    What a lovely blog post, Daniela! It was such a pleasure to host you and to get to know you and your work! Thank you for making mention of so many people and supporting their work as well. Looking forward to seeing you again.

  9. Vikki Drummond Says:

    How kind of you to put my art on your blog!!! We must be in each other’s thoughts. I know your words from The Weight of Dew are forever flitting in and out of my mind’s eye.
    I think we need to keep in touch!
    Life is juicy,

  10. Daniela Elza Says:

    Thank you Shannon, and Vikki, It was a delight meeting you both. Your enthusiasm and commitment to your art is contagious. Yes, we should keep in touch.

  11. Rob Taylor Says:

    Sounds like it was a wonderful experience. I’m glad to see it went so well!

  12. Strange Places » of rejections, acceptances and other celebrations Says:

    […] stop here? I seem to be working my way back to the beginning of the year. I should mention my book tour in June (click on the link if you have missed reading an account of it) and the publication of the weight […]

  13. Strange Places » 2012 in review::welcome 2013 Says:

    […] who helped organize and put me up for the night. What a celebration! Here you can read my post on behind the scenes of the tour. Thank you League of Canadian Poets for the help with funding. I went to my second convocation […]