The best thing about being from nowhwere is being from everywhere.
I lived in thirteen different houses by the time I moved away from my happy, nomadic family at age eighteen (only to have them move right along after me a few months later). That counts as growing up everywhere doesn’t it?
When I made my first solo move, the place I went was Edmonton, Alberta. Don’t know Edmonton? It’s a metropolitan area of about a million people at 54 degrees latitude. If anyone’s thinking, “That must be a pretty great city for people to put up with living that far north,” they’re right. I went there to get an education at the University of Alberta. I met my husband on Whyte Avenue, earned my degree, published my first guest column in the Edmonton Journal, and my two eldest children were born in Edmonton. I was there for eight years — longer than I’ve lived in any city. My Edmonton days were happy but not glamorous. Most of the time, I lived in Strathcona walk-up apartments like this:
The Apollo Apartments, just off Whyte Avenue
Even this place was only affordable because I worked as the resident manager and cleaning-lady. I don’t live inside the city limits anymore but if the weather is good, I can get to them in under an hour. Edmonton is still one of my many hometowns — part of the everywhere I’m from. In fact, several of the chapters of the book I wrote are set in city — University of Alberta campus, the High Level Bridge, Cloverbar Waster Transfer Station — all Edmonton.
This coming Tuesday night, I’m bringing my book home to Edmonton.
A few weeks ago, my novel was nicely reviewed by Edmonton Journal book columnist (and fellow newly debuted local author) Michael Hingston. He called it, “A surprising, thoughtful and captivating debut that uses death to illuminate all that’s at stake in life itself.”
The good local review sets the stage for my author reading hosted by Edmonton’s indie bookstore mainstay, Audreys Books. (No, there isn’t supposed to be an apostrophe in the name. It refers to more than one Audrey and is grammatically above reproach.) Audreys is a place little girls slogging away at their Arts degrees, and young-mother-cleaning-ladies writing indignant guest columns keep in their minds as the setting for scenes from the futures they want for themselves. The store is a landing-pad for Edmonton writers in traditional, book-length publishing. I am beyond happy to be appearing there.
And since my publicist, Sarah, is a total animal, I’m getting right up in Edmonton’s face about my homecoming. I’m doing a radio interview with talk radio station 630 CHED on Monday, Sept 23, at around 7:20am. The morning of the reading itself, Tuesday Sept 24, I’ll be interviewed outside the safe, blind box of radio on television with the CTV Edmonton Morning show. I’ll be on for just a few minutes at around 8:40am. So crazy! And if I botch it, remember that we must never speak of this again.