When I first set out on this writing lark, I had a vision in my head of handing a copy of the finished book to each of the women. A number of these women were elderly and some had health issues that might bring their last day forward a little sooner. Those that knew me well laughed when I joked “You can’t die yet, I need you until I finish the book!”
So when I received the three large boxes of books from the warehouse that I had specifically ordered, the first thing I did was plan my delivery schedule.
Well, actually the first thing I did was cut open the boxes, take out the book, make sure the cover was on right-way up (joke) and savour that moment. My book. My first proper book! At last I could feel the paper chosen for the cover and the interior, see how the illustrations and photos translated on the page, weigh the heft of it, and smell that brand new book smell all us bibliophiles love and hate so much.
Then I sat down with my phone and started to make my calls. I had to cover about 1200 km to get 20 books delivered in 4 days, and wouldn’t have time for much dilly-dallying. I figured out what route would be the most efficient based on when the women would be home when. I cancelled my appointments, threw some clothes and my husband in the car and took off the very next day.
First delivery was to my own mother, to whom the book is dedicated (also to my grandmother) where I did spend some time going through it with her, enjoying the comments and laughs and tears. Yes, there were tears, but thankfully they were of the happy variety. Another delivery to West Vancouver on our way to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.
It rained on our way up to Port McNeill, where the first 4 books went. We stayed overnight in Telegraph Cove, where 1 book was delivered and I was thrilled to see it already ensconced for sale in the general store and the Whale Interpretive Centre.
Campbell River was next. I delivery took a little longer than expected, and the other one was o pressed for time we have to meet in a layby on the highway! This woman I had not seen since I was about 20!
Parksville and a great visit over dinner, than overnight nearby before hitting the road to Chemainus and a delivery to a woman in the book that I had never even met. That’s what I love about this project – all these old and new connections. My husband took photos of every delivery as a record, and witnessed the responses from women he had heard about and learned about for years now, but was also finally meeting some of them for the first time.
It was a beautiful hot morning as we drove down the Malahat, and delivered a book to Camosun College, where the recipient works and could meet in a teaching break. Over to the other side of Saanich, where I could squeeze in the next delivery between an end of work day and a dinner date.
Another lovely visit over dinner in Sidney, and an overnight in a lovely old Bed and Breakfast, so that we could get back on the road and catch the ferry to Mayne Island. With a set time between arrival and departure ferries, we had time to relax, be treated to lunch, and enjoy this gorgeous place in full summer-mode. Too soon it was time to head back to Vancouver and a drop off to my aunt, the oldest living women in the book. My last face-to-face delivery was during a quick work break, in the parking lot across the lane, an urban drop-off that contrasted to all the island locales.
Three more books had to be shipped to women who live in other provinces, so I know there is at least one copy of my book in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
My sister had given me a bottle of my favourite champagne months before, saying it was to celebrate the publication of my book. With the deliveries done, the hugs and thank yous and connections made, there was not questions that this was the perfect time to savour both the book’s release and the champagne itself. Dream realized, it’s on with reality.