Thursday, July 26, 2001


In the harbour outside my window tugboats are chugging. The water is blue, the sky is bluer, and I ought to be thinking about breakfast and not typing this.

Apparently Doug-the-harper-collins-rep's "rural canadians" line seems to have touched a nerve, or several.

He's kind of from Victoria (although he's now in Vancouver), and drove me around yesterday showing it off more proud of a place than anyone I remember in ages, while pointing out that, really, I should come back here and sign some more. Or just come back here. And bring my family.

I think he was just trying to prepare me for the worst should the room be half-empty and not (as it was) filled to capacity. I suspect he was also rather nervous, having heard from a number of sources about the problems with Virgin Vancouver signing.

But he need not have worried. It was enormously pleasant. The only moment that hurt was the guy who wanted to give me a disk with his stories on, and I had to tell him I wouldn't read them and send back a critique. ("But they're very short." "That's not really the point. There's about a thousand pages of stuff that people have given me to read waiting at home. Even that won't all get read now, let alone replied to, because I physically don't have time.")

Things I am not going to miss about touring:

1) Having rushed lunches at 2.00pm (having done something through lunchtime) followed by dinners at 5:30pm because once I've finished eating I have a reading and signing to do.

2) Getting neither the lunch or the dinner described in (1) and trying to survive on what you can actually get from room service at midnight.

3) Flying. Airports. Planes. (Except I liked the seaplane trip from Vancouver to Victoria and back.) Cars. Trains.

4) Trying to hear people's names correctly and spell them right in noisy rooms. Trying to sign through the blue after-image of a flash photo.

5) the slow deterioration of my handwriting. At the start of the tour people didn't have to look at whatever message I had inscribed in their books and ask "what does this say?" or occasionally "what language is that in?"

6) Being tired.

7) My signing hand hurting. My signing wrist hurting. My signing arm hurting.

8) Hotels.

And to keep it even, things I'll miss:

1) The people.

2) Good sushi. (Last night's pre-signing sushi was lovely. Another reason to come back to Victoria.)

3) Seeing friends.

4) having a real excuse for not having written you an e-mail, script, movie, novel etc.

5) Knowing exactly what I was doing for six weeks, pretty much minute by minute. Now it's back into the unknown...