Yes, yes. The books finally did make it. Funny, though, how your whole life passes before you when you’re in a life-or-death struggle. Or on the phone with That Guy From FedEx.

I played it cool, of course. I packed all the things necessary for a successful launch–that is, beer and cupcakes.

IMG_1022Oh wait, you say. What about books? Don’t you need books to launch, you know, a book? Oh, details, details, say I. That Guy From FedEx said that I mightprobablycouldhave them delivered to Ad Astra…providing they got through customs.

So, the drive down was filled with bonhommie and stops at Quiznos. The view was sterling:

IMG_1023Yes, that’s Derek K√ľnsken on the left, driving, and Matt Moore on the right. The rain is just starting at this point. By the time we hit Toronto, it was epic. Derek was, like, completely unfazed.

But by then, I had other things to worry about.

Namely, that FedEx doesn’t actually deliver stuff. All the trucks had left for the day, says That Guy. I remained really, really stoic. Not a tear was shed, or a harsh word delivered (I too can not-deliver things).

Derek and Matt were quite amused that FedEx is the delivery company that doesn’t deliver. Some sample taglines FedEx has used over the years:

  • When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
  • Our most important package is yours.
  • Relax, it’s FedEx
  • We live to deliver.

Yeah, that last one’s a bit of a kicker, eh? Anyway, Derek gamely offers to drive to the non-delivering FedEx ground hub, and Matt says he’s not got anything better to do, so we pick up the books:

IMG_1025And I give the nice young fella a cupcake for his troubles. I’m feeling generous by this point. Note that Matt in this picture has found a child’s car seat.

And off we go! After only one minor wrong turn, we make our way back to Ad Astra where I promptly immerse myself in all things wonderful and weird and fantastic. I had such a good weekend.

Favourite bits included:

The readings! I often forget what a treat a good read can be. As we talked about in the Adastramobile, hearing a story is quite a different experience from reading it. I heard Kate Heartfield read the excellent “Their Dead, So Near”, which had appeared in Lackington’s, as well as “For Sale By Owner”. I had read the first piece in Lackington’s and it was really wonderful to hear it, imagining the graveyard all over again. Also, Marie Bilodeau’s great “Kevlar Canoe” was wonderfully rousing (despite Marie probably not feeling 100% — she was felled by deathly food poisoning and/or tummy bug later in the day). My fellow adastramobile traveller, Matt Moore read “The Leaving” (another I had read prior) as well as the fantastic “Touch the Sky, They Say”.

I loved this story so much, it was the one that I described to my daughter when I got home and she asked me how everything had gone. Nope, I didn’t talk about the knitted sonic screwdrivers, or the nifty mountie pins (thanks Jim-Pat!), or the famous writers swanning about. This. Quiet, short, chilling but ultimately life-affirming. Terrific stuff.

Funny, how I have to drive all the way to Toronto to hear a story from the guy I’d been sharing the vehicle with.

Oh, yes. There was a launch as well. Thanks to kind Liz and Hayden Trenholm and Bundoran Press, I was with good company, both at the seller’s table and at an honest-to-God launch. I read! For the first time, from Deadroads. Which turned out beautifully, and more on that for another post. But many, many thanks to Linda Poitvin for making me feel like I could.

IMG_1032

Oh, and I have another favourite bit, and that is connecting with Derek Newman-Stille and Chadwick Ginther. Honestly, I was about to head to my room after a late dinner accompanied by a side of pounding headache, when they sat down beside me at the hotel restaurant and kept me so entertained I forgot all about headache/bed.

I came back with so very many books. I’m dying to read all of them.

One last indelible memory, though, is hurtling along the highway home, and we’re all pretty exhausted. Derek feels that a good dose of what I think was Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos is obviously in order. Matt, high on UConn’s stealthy approach to basketball greatness, is probably happy to have anything that shuts up my incessant chatter. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know physics from shit. I honestly felt that I’d entered some other dimension. A good one, mind you. Somehow I’d ended up in an outtake from True Detective, riding in the backseat with Rust and Marty, the meaning of life and nothingness floating on the airwaves along with us.