Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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13. Readings are Hard on Wallflowers, Part I

The reason that I am writing about bathroom renos here is that in the midst of preparing for my first reading some guys came over and tore out my bathroom. I was nervous about the reading. I was also covered in a fine layer of plaster dust.

A guy was sawing ceramic titles on my front porch. He stopped, looking at the pounds of snow falling straight down out of the sky. Then he lit a smoke. He had an eyebrow piercing. I imagined him dancing somewhere large and cavernous at 4 am.

He had been working on my bathroom for three days. Where it used to be was a hole, sans toilet, sink or bathtub. I was washing, ETC., at friends’ houses, which was sub-optimal, as the business types say.

Reno Man struggled to keep his peace, but on day three he snapped. “You have no TV.” He says this with certainty and disbelief. He was shocked. The fact that I had no bathroom apparently made no impact on him. That seemed normal. And I did have a TV, tucked away in the study under a pile of books that I watched movies on occasionally.

So houses without bathrooms seemed normal to Reno Man, houses without TVs, not so much. Normal is what we are accustomed to and what I was not accustomed to was being the centre of attention. By the time I arrived at HarbourFront I was, frankly, beside myself. A very kind author who was also reading gave me excellent advice when I told her that it was my first time. “When you get up there,” she said, “remember why you wrote it.” I did and when I started to read my accent came back and I read it like I meant it, because I remembered why I wrote it – I wanted people to know what it was like to grow up in a community that was slowly emptying out.

That night after the reading I washed my hair in the kitchen sink and had a sponge bath, thinking I really didn’t need a TV, but I did need a bathtub.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Beverley Stone

Beverley Stone grew up in outport Newfoundland before moving to Toronto to attend Osgoode Hall Law School. Her first novel, No Beautiful Shore, is published by Cormorant Books (2008).

Go to Beverley Stone’s Author Page