To simply say that the recent (Nov 14) launch of my new book “Starting to Frame” was a huge success would be doing a disservice to all the planning and emotions that lay behind it.
Following advice that I received, I decided that this would be an “out of the ordinary” launch. In keeping with the subject matter of my memoir, it would adopt a 1950s/60s British theme. People would be encouraged to wear period clothing (some did), British snacks and drinks would be available, music from the era to fill out the ambiance, a Union Jack if we could find one (we did – it graced my father-in-law’s casket, as he was a WW2 vet). Social media, printed invitations placed around coffee shops and libraries, personal and email contacting with all the various groups in which I’m involved, a press release in local newspapers and a radio interview. Special guests were invited – a lot of “heavy lifting” to promote the event. Plus all the work that my wife put in baking close to 150 Cornish pasties.
A week before the date, the long term weather forecast took an ominous turn. Snow and high winds, first winter storm. Are you kidding? For the next week, I was glued to the Environment Canada web site. Early on, it looked like it wasn’t going to be so bad. Then, 2 days before the occasion, it bounced back again – high winds and up to 10 cm of snow. I was a wreck. How does one cancel an event such as this? The events coordinator and I decided to make a final decision based on the 11 a.m. forecast on “Launch day.” The forecast-ed wind speed had gone down, as had the amount of snow. We decided to go ahead.
Around 100 people braved the nasty weather and road conditions; beyond my wildest expectations. The atmosphere was relaxed and supportive. After short speeches from the province’s Poet Laureate, an author and content editor of my book, then the ED of the PEI Canadian Mental Health Assocn., I read from my book, then took out my cornet, the same one that I used 50 years ago to play in a traditional jazz band while I was a university student. I joined my son, who is an accomplished keyboard player, for a couple of numbers. I didn’t care that many of the notes were hit and miss, nor do I think did the audience. I was so relieved that my book launch was going ahead and that it was well attended that my musical talents, or lack thereof, seemed irrelevant. I sold out of my first shipment of books during and shortly after the event. Thanks to everyone who came and special thanks to Kele Redmond, David Gordon, Alison Gordon, Jaime Mann and Christine Gordon Manley who played key roles in pulling this off. Also, thanks to Diane Morrow, Jane Ledwell, and Reid Burke for their speeches.