ou’ve been working too hard. You haven’t had much sleep. You’ve been doing readings and radio interviews and television shows all week, trying to sound like you know something about what you’re talking about. But now you’re among friends. You’ve had a couple of drinks.
is packed with some of the best and brightest writers and poets and journalists that you know, which suddenly makes things even more nervous-making. As you head up to the stage and everybody’s cheering you on, your old pal Alex
hands you a bottle of Jameson’s, one of those two-thirds-size ones. You grab it.
It fits perfectly in the breast pocket of your leather jacket, which means you don't have to worry about how to balance a plastic water bottle on the little sheet-music stand of a podium up there, plus you can be a bit of a ham, reaching into your jacket for the bottle now and then, when your mouth gets dry.
And so you draw from it this way, every few pages. And you think, this is so much better than water. Then you find yourself reaching for it every few paragraphs, and you’re thinking, oh, this really is a proper whiskey. Then every few sentences.
In today’s Vancouver Sun, Stephen Hume
wrote his column about my new book
, and he was inordinately kind. It’s not on-line for free, so here’s just an inkling to show just how generous Stephen was: “I don’t have the space here to do full justice to Glavin’s poignant personal odyssey from his verdant Irish valley to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, from the jungles of Central America to windswept islands in the North Atlantic, from the Central Asia of Genghis Khan to a remarkable village in the Himalayas; you’ll have to discover that for yourself. But I will say that for all the ominous portents, he’s no apocalyptic environmental Jeremiah fired with misanthropic zeal. He’s an optimist. He has faith in humanity. He sees glimmers of hope already coalescing in the gathering storm. What to do? Take the helm, Glavin says.”
And in this month’s Vancouver Review, which just came in the mail, John Vaillant
is every bit as generous: “The result is what I imagine you’d get if David Quammen and Joseph Campbell had teamed up to write a Blue Guide (guide bleu) to the Apocalypse. . . in so doing, it inspires a fierce hope – the kind that makes you want to throw open the window and call the world in.”
Which is exactly what I was hoping the book might do.
Meantime, I don’t think I slurred my words much last night, at least not for the first half. I do remember that when I was finished reading there was much clapping and back-slapping. But I can’t remember much about what happened after.
So thanks, to everyone who was there.