Just so you know, the Saint John Free Public Library event last night was a blast (too bad for all of you who missed the chartered buses out of Boston, New York and Toronto). When I arrived at the door a couple of hours early to check things out, there was a SOLD OUT ribbon across the poster. I was told they could have sold an extra 50 tickets. I have never been party to a SOLD OUT event in my life.
There was food and wine and beer. The beer was a special one-of-a-kind whiskey pale ale invented by Big Tide Brewing Company brewmeister Wendy Papadopoulos for the occasion — it was called Three Pages to the Wind (I am certain now that this is the reason for the SOLD OUT sign). I naturally started out the evening resolutely insisting that I could not drink because I was going to have to drive back to Fredericton through the moose-haunted dark highways of New Brunswick after. But then someone said the magic words “whiskey pale ale” once too often and I am afraid I succumbed.
Then the Saint John String Quartet started to play and I discovered the truly zen experience of sitting in a library with books all around and a glass of whiskey pale ale in my hand and four lovely people playing stringed instruments for me (I dunno, everyone else seemed to be talking). They played for 45 minutes which, you know, required a second whiskey pale ale and then Wendy Papadopoulos got up and gave an entertaining talk on how she came to invent Three Pages to the Wind (which was, really, so entertaining — the woman is a genius — that I could have listened to it again as there was still beer left).
And THEN I was called up to read from Savage Love, which, was a little frightening because there were three steps up to the lectern and I wasn’t sure by then that I could navigate them. I was told after that I performed creditably and several nice people bought books to make me feel better. Later there was some helpful confusion (no doubt due to the prevalence of whiskey pale ale); I was given clear instructions on how to navigate (I have used the word “navigate” twice — the whole idea of navigation had become problematic for me at this stage) out of the city though somehow I got lost driving out of the parking garage and took ages to find my way back onto the moose-infested highway (I think I was using some sort of echolocation technique at the end).
Of all my reading experiences lately this was the best — what I remember of it. And the words “whiskey pale ale” are forever burned into my brain.