Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying writer-friend Erin Thomas (who happens to be, shall we say, directionally challenged?) on a Toronto bookstore tour a.k.a. schmooze-fest to promote her workshops and latest publication, Haze. (Book launch to be held at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, ON, 2-4pm, Sunday, April 22.)
We assessed our list of potential stops and trusty Husband dropped us off at Type Books, located at 883 Queen Street West. The moment we opened the door, the atmosphere reached out and welcomed us like a warm hug. A lovely young woman hung giant raindrops in the front window from the sky-high ceiling. We wandered, enjoying the displays, until we reached the children’s section at the back.
After finding and purchasing treasure, Erin spoke with the young woman who politely offered the name and contact information of the bookstore’s owner. It was something, but I suspected it wasn’t quite the response Erin had hoped to get. We headed outside to jump onto a streetcar. Erin casually mentioned she had been on a streetcar before—once. My insides smiled.
Meet my dear friend, Suburban Mouse.
We jumped off close to Ben McNally Books at 366 Bay Street. This is an equally appealing bookstore as Type Books, although different. The building felt steeped in history with its rich wood and grand ceilings. Another writer-friend, Richard Ungar, is having a book launch here on Thursday, April 26, 6-8pm for his new novel, Time Snatchers. Erin found more treasure in the children's nook and spoke with the ladies at the front. Again the response was polite but non-committal.
Time for lunch—a delightful break of catching up, gossip and wondering aloud how guilt could consume two souls like ours for daring to speak the truth. But that’s another story…
We got into Erin’s car. Driving in the Big City makes Erin nervous. I directed her toward our third and final destination, a second location of Type Books at 427 Spadina Road. As we passed the shortest light standard in Toronto, I pointed out this fact.
“How do you know these things”, Suburban Mouse asked. City Mouse responded, “Trusty Husband.” Erin just smiled and shook her head.
Again, this store was different—bright, cheery and welcoming. The fabulous owner and a helper sat at the front desk ogling a new acquisition. I had a good feeling and lost myself in a dream, imagining my first book launch... After locating yet more treasure, Erin pulled out her information. The bookstore owner’s eyes brightened as she commented that the type of book Erin has just released is exactly what her customers are looking for. Success! Erin stood three inches taller. I felt so proud!
Enjoying the moment, Erin pulled out of the parking lot to take me home. I pointed out the turn up ahead. Erin’s discomfort navigating the traffic was obvious as she turned the steering wheel. I swore she was holding her breath. On the side street she exhaled and said, “Thelma and Louise we ain’t, but we did manage a left-hand turn without incident.”
Thank goodness. And we didn’t get lost once.