Events · I Am That Woman · On Writing · Publishing

Book Launch Reflection

Today marks one week post-book launch. A week ago today, I was speaking to students with John B Lee at Vincent Massey Secondary School. We were reading poetry and talking about our writing process, and hopefully, sharing information in an inspiring way to help motivate at least one student to choose a writing life if that’s what his/her heart desires.

I *LOVE* guest speaking. I *LOVE* talking about writing with anyone. At any time. Same goes for talking about books (and movies too). So putting myself in a classroom in front of people who want (hopefully most of them want to be there!) to hear me talk and share, well that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  And it feels right in a ‘this-is-what-I-was-born-to-do’ kinda way. You know that feeling? It was a gift to be able to talk ‘writing’ with John and four different English classes at the high school. And it made my brain get ‘ready’ for the night’s festivities when I’d be on a different stage, in front of a different crowd.

Here’s John and I in the classroom…I’m blinking – not sleeping. Sheesh.

I was nervous to speak in the classes. Like, elephants-in-my-belly nervous. I always get nervous before a speaking engagement, class or workshop I’m teaching, or reading I’m doing. And here’s my take on nerves: they’re a healthy, physical translation of ‘caring’. (So long as they don’t become debilitating…which has happened to me before.) If I’m nervous it means I care about what I’m about to do. And I certainly care about the writing life, my writing life. I think it’s important to care about what you’re essentially ‘promoting’ as a way of life and being, right? That may sound obvious, but it’s worth writing. (And I’m a writer, so technically it’s my job to write this down. Merp.)

After speaking in the schools, we had some ‘free’ time. I was able to go home, get changed, hug the kids and the hubby (which was soooo important and helpful!), and take one last breath before the book launch. Indeed, this breath was to whisk away those lingering ‘no one will show up’ and ‘who are you to be doing this’ negative thoughts that were so maliciously trying to sabotage my energy. Gah. The voices, they be strong sire. I blew them out with one big breath and promised myself to trust my body and mouth for the rest of the night.

The elephants in my belly turned into a herd of hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex. Before I stepped into Villains Bistro, my stomach pretty much fell down my legs and rolled off my feet into the snow. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t drink. And that was fine. I entered into the ‘calm-before-the-storm’ phase of my process, and set about delegating and organizing and setting up the space. I arrived to a handful of plucky volunteers and a bouquet of gorgeous roses from the team I work with at Suede Productions. My heart was full.

Just like that, the place started to fill up. Slowly but surely, friends, family and new people who decided to take a chance on a triple-book-launch Black Moss Press event began to saunter in, take a seat or grab a drink. Oooooo! It was so exciting!

Marty Gervais, the publisher of Black Moss Press, arrived with John B Lee and April Bulmer, the writers also launching their books. The band, Karen Morand & Bosco arrived to set up and do a sound check. When I looked at my watch it was 7:00pm. Showtime!

I gathered John and April to the stage. I stood at the podium, looked out at the crowd, and I was about to speak when FEEDBACK! Ha! After a bit of finagling, we got the mic working properly and the show began!

Yes, I was nervous. Yes, my heart was in my ears and throat. Yes, my legs felt wobbly. But *I*WAS*HOME*. Put me on a stage to host an event or read or talk about writing – and I’m so very happy to be there! I don’t know why except to say that I’m quite certain my soul was fated this way. Beneath all the nerves and within all the negative voices – is a peaceful ‘knowing’ that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And I felt this peacefulness as I looked into the crowd…

…and saw my mother and aunt and my best friend…and so many others who’ve shared my love for writing and passion for sharing the written word…well, it was overwhelmingly inspirational!

One of the things I wanted to do was invite people to write their own poetry throughout the night, read it or let me read it, and then they’d get a raffle prize. I wasn’t sure if this would actually work – but then someone raised her hand and she let me read her poem. And after that the seal was broken! The people wrote poetry! In the heat of the moment in the thick of inspiration – the people wrote poetry! And it was divine! We gave away all our raffle prizes and there were still more poems to read…*IT WAS AMAZING.

I always say, the world needs more poetry and this book launch proved that including poetry into our lives is truly a brave and inspiring act.

Here are some photos taken by several people (listed below) of the magical event:

Setting up…

Lovely volunteers handing out pencils and notepads for people to write poetry on/with!

The owner and bartender at Villains!

Marty Gervais, publisher of Black Moss Press, says a few words…

April Bulmer reads from ‘Women of the Cloth’…


John B Lee reads poetry…

Your host…

Oh it was a grand time!

Then the band took the stage as John,  April and I signed books…

And in the end…

Mama took off her heels…

And we all ate chocolate (THANK YOU DOROTHY!)…

And I couldn’t be more grateful or happy!!

We are three thrilled poets!!

We did it! Thank you again to everyone who came out to support *poetry* and Black Moss Press and local literary events. Thanks to Villains Bistro, Karen Morand & Bosco, Danah Beaulieu at Art-Indeed, Tracey S. at White Feather Holistic, Suede Productions, the Editing & Publishing Practicum students who volunteered, Marty Gervais, John B Lee, April Bulmer, The Windsor Star, CBC radio’s The Bridge, DigiPrint, Christopher Lawrence Menard, photographers Jason Rankin, Amy Gleeson and Asil Moussa, and my true love Nick…who continues to love and support me unconditionally even when I write about our sex life. Ain’t he grand?!!



7 thoughts on “Book Launch Reflection

  1. It was a magical night, Vanessa! So much good energy, thanks in large part to your awesome Em C-ing abilities. Your spirit swept down from the stage and all through the room inspiring people to write poetry here, there, and everywhere. You were in your element, and we were all blessed because of it!


  2. I’m so happy for you to have experienced this, and to still be experiencing it! Thank you for writing a piece that expresses the moment so beautifully! You rock my socks 🙂

    ~ Tracey


  3. The first of many, many book launches/readings in your future. So happy to have been there to see you shine, and hear you soar.


  4. It was such a great night, and you were fantastic. What amazing energy in the room.

    How cool that you spoke at Massey, too. That’s my old high school. I hope you had a great experience there!


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