15 October 2005

Do you know the way to Hipperson's Hardware?

It's all becoming such a blur. All this travelling from place to place. I think it was yesterday I arrived in Nelson, a town I'd only passed through once before, last spring, when I discovered -- upon noticing Hipperson Hardware -- that it was the setting for a favourite David McFadden poem: Secrets of the Universe.

Really nice afternoon with Linda and Fred Crosfield just outside Castlegar. Linda is one of the four women behind the Kootenay School of Writing, here in Nelson, where Tom Wayman started it up so many years ago. She's a poet, and a maker of pretty excellent handmade books. Ted turns wood, or spins wood, or however he put it. He has a huge studio on their amazing property where he makes wooden bowls, trays, beer-keg handles, whatever. Great craftsman, very funny guy. Told me the different between arts and crafts: "With art, you can only piss on it; with crafts, you can piss into it."

We had some supernaturally good borscht from a tiny place in Castlegar, and then they drove me to Nelson, where it was soon time for dinner at Eileen Delahanty Pearkes' place, another beautiful home, and dinner with a family, and a much less religious saying of grace than I experienced way back last week in Yellowknife at the Dennises'. Eileen is the another member of the KSW quartet.

The evening reading at Nelson Municipal Library went well, if a little modestly attended. I guess about a dozen people showed up; I read, answered questions, sold half a dozen books. Really nice, as always, to read to a completely new audience, though I had the feeling I hadn't made the best selections. Anyway, they seemed happy enough with me.

A night at Mike's Place followed, where a Spokane couple befriend me sitting at the bar. Aaron, hearing that I was a writer, said that Toni had read him the first couple of pages of an Anne Rice novel: "Man, that was weird. All those adjectives!" And he splapped me hard on the back, as he would do so many more times that evening. And he's a big, big guy. Apparently Spokane is only 3 hours from here; and he told me that Missoula is a mere 5 or so. Had I known that, I mighta tried to meet up with debby florence & family while I was here. Next time....

This morning's Boot Camp at the library was great: 8 people; 4 hours. And I tried out some exercises I hadn't inflicted before, and they wrote very good stuff, and they enjoyed it. Felt good that my final event on the Western Tour was successful. And I made some money too, so that doesn't hurt.

Gonna go for a walk along the waterfront in a bit, and I picked up a ticket to see Cuff The Duke at a bar called Fluid tonight. My last night in Nelson. I am now officially eager to get home. See Dana, check my mail, get ready for next weekend, which'll be a busy one.

I wonder if the folks in Hipperson's Hardware know that their place is the subject of a poem by Canada's best.

Over and out.


Before heading out to Fluid, I attended Eileen's book launch at a nifty space called the Oxygen Lounge or Room or something, off a back alley behind, yes, Hipperson's Hardware. She and her co-author have put together this incredibly detailed, scientific, but also personal book about the plants and topography and rivers of the Kootenays, or at least their part of it. The place was packed and celebratory. I was so happy to be able to attend an actual local book launch while I was in town. And Eileen, in her opening remarks, spotted me and said very nice things about my visit -- at my reading the night before, I had urged those in attendance to do freebie poetry leaflets for their own readings, like I do, for free distribution... and Eileen had done just that. In fact, I noticed it immediately when I walked in, and scooped up a copy.

Over and over and over and out.


At October 16, 2005 2:10 am , Blogger Weldon Gardner Hunter said...

David McFadden wrote a poem (I think it's in "Five Star Planet") where he mentions reading Basho (or is it Issa?) at the Victoria Public Library. I've always wanted to find that exact book, just so I could say, "Hey, this is THE book in that poem!" Isn't that weird of me?

At October 17, 2005 2:20 am , Anonymous rox. said...

hey stu, don't look now but they're writing poems about you...


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