Sunday, January 22, 2012


I had mild post-partum depression after one of my kids, so possibly I shouldn't call this that.

A million years ago, I worked for an advertising agency. It was in the late 80s when money flowed like water, and events were splashy. I remember my job interview where when I agreed I'd like a cup of coffee, I was asked if I took bleach. It went on from there.

One of my favourite people at the agency is still a friend today. It's to Allan I get my idea that planes work by mirrors -- he had clients in the aerospace industry -- and also my idea that after a big event, one is entitled to a wee bit of post-partum depression. Whether one is male or female.

I didn't have a post-Christmas letdown, because I was heading off to Florida. I didn't have a post-holiday letdown because I was launching a company. So, I think it's only fair that I'm operating at half-speed this weekend: making food, doing laundry, reading, doing necessary work but not a speck more. And not a lot of Public Appearances.

Thursday night was the big night. It snowed all day long with whiteouts that caused multiple accidents. Someone called to ask if the event was still on. It was. Two lovely women drove for many hours to be there, and to meet with me ahead of time -- if they could do it, the rest of us could. Several people referred to the event as a "meeting" which made me a little nervous: were they expecting a program? Would I be forced to reprise my karaoke to entertain them?

My own plan was that this would be a networking night with almost no program, an opportunity for writers and fledgling writers to meet their own tribe. I told a story on Thursday night about this: how years ago, I had gone to the Fergus Highland Games and wandered between the booths, all marked McPherson, Mackenzie, McDonald, MacDonald, and felt like a mutt without a pedigree. "Who is ma clan?" I said, aloud and then, wiser, under my breath. I found my clan when I began to meet other writers and to really talk shop. (A friend once asked me what I was doing, writing-wise. "I'm trying to decide how a guy would react the day after he slept with one of his co-workers." I replied, honestly. She gulped, sorry she'd asked. Good friend. Different clan.)

I was providing tickets for refreshments on Thursday night -- your ticket would get you a bambino-sized gelata, a cupcake or a cup of special hot chocolate. I had door prizes. Beyond that, I had what I hoped was a good idea and a friendly smile.

And they came. Despite the weather and two other fine cultural events within a one-kilometre radius, they came. Despite the fact that I only knew about half of them, they came. They came and they ate gelata and they talked to me about their projects and then they talked with one another. They built connections and relationships, made plans for future meetings and writers groups. They shared struggles and joys, trade secrets and best practices.

The very best compliment of the evening came when I overheard someone ask one of the editors who works with me whether Storywell, my fledgling company, was a not-for-profit. I piped in that it was an attempted-for-profit company, but the reason I felt so delighted was that it assured me that my good idea was one that served people well. Some of what I'm doing will generate income, but some of it will also serve the writing community and the reading community.

I went home wuffed out, as my dog would say, but really excited for what comes next. I sat on the couch in what my friend called my "sexy librarian outfit" and smiled, too tired to do anything else but dream.