Raymond and I may have moved to a rural area lacking in some big-city services – notably easy access to zippy-fast internet – but one thing it is definitely not lacking in is the quality of its local public libraries. We have been tremendously impressed by the Tweed Public Library and the Madoc Public Library. Both of them are hives of activity, true community centres: big, bright spaces with a good selection of books, DVDs and magazines, a bank of computers that people can use free of charge (which from time to time helps make up for that internet situation I mentioned), special programs for kids, and spaces where special events can be held.
Speaking of which… ahem. Gulp. I have been invited to be the speaker at one such event. I am both honoured and terrified.
The Friends of the Tweed Library, a group that raises awareness and support (including the financial kind) for that facility, has for the past few years had a writers series, evening events at which authors speak at the Tweed library about their work and the writing life, and answer questions from the audience. It’s a fantastic way to stimulate interest in and discussion about books and writers, and to bring people from the community into that excellent facility. (And donations for the library are happily accepted.) Also: refreshments are served!
The list of previous speakers is an impressive one: Terry Fallis, Jim Christy, Merilyn Simonds, Wayne Grady, Michael Winter, Linda Spalding, Michael Ondaatje … yes, the guy who wrote The English Patient.
And now there’s me. Perhaps you can see why I’m both honoured and terrified. That is: What an honour to be among such names! And at the same time: What am I doing there?
Because, you see, my only claim to literary fame (at least so far) is this blog, which is what I’ve been asked to speak about.
And so I shall. And I hope you’ll come, if you’re able! Because one of the main things that I have to say about Meanwhile, at the Manse is that in many ways it is a group effort. Yes, I’m the one who writes the entries each evening (except Sundays; hey, I’m a minister’s daughter and Sunday is my day of rest). But so much of the inspiration for what I write, the ideas for things to write about, sometimes photos or other content that I can post and discuss, come from you, the readers. When you make a comment at the end of one of my posts, or email me, or share something interesting when we meet in a local shop, or at church, or on the street, you give me ideas and stimulate the conversation. As I said (tongue in cheek) in one recent post, I feel like I’m the unofficial head reporter at the Queensborough news bureau, but it’s the people in Queensborough, or who have a past connection with and/or a newfound or ongoing interest in it, who come up with a lot of the stories reported here.
What I would really like from this upcoming evening (aside from me not embarrassing myself utterly) is to meet and converse with you folks who read Meanwhile, at the Manse – and to answer any questions you may have. Some of you I have already met in person, but others I have not, even though I consider you friends thanks to the time you spend here and the thoughts and stories you sometimes share.
Oh yes, and one more thing: usually at events like this the writer reads an excerpt or two from his or her work. People: what should I read? Are there any posts that stick in your mind, that you thought were particularly apropos, or interesting? Me, I’m rather attached to my missives on the Rock Acres Peace Festival, but that’s probably just because of my fond memories of that crazy 1971 event and also the rather enormous amount of work and research I put into those posts. Any other ideas? I’d love to hear from you. In other words: Help!
So yes, two weeks from tonight, Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m., there I’ll be at the Tweed Public Library (23 Metcalf St.), talking about this blog, and blogs in general, and Queensborough, and the Manse (and Raymond, of course), and local history – and most importantly of all, community.
(And there will be refreshments. Did I mention that?)
I hope you’ll come!