Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Notes From the Winnipeg Writers Festival

Winnipeg. It doesnt seem to matter
where I fly, I always end up in
the grubby, mouldy Gate B18 of
Pearson's Terminal 3.
Crammed and stale with nothing but
a Tim Horton's donut to eat. Where do
you have to fly in order to sit in
the lounges with fancy coffees,
sandwiches and highballs that lie
just on the other side of that
plexiglass wall? Cairo? Zanzibar?
The writers are staying in a hotel
that wasnt built when the festival
booked it. I have brought
my trunks, as I've regretted leaving hotel
pools unused. But this new hotel has
no pool. There is a bold mirror in the
bathroom that enlarges the pores in
your nose. It tells you where every
follicle in your face lives. I scamper
down to the hospitality suite,
and the children's writers are heaving
down the white wine. Theyre always
the first to the liquor (it must
be hard on them). A writer from BC
thinks my shirt is atrocious. He wants
to sign the back of it. His autograph
is worth something, he says. After
the readings it's pouring out and a man
in a new suit says yes, bring the
car around. We pile into a van,
perhaps nine of us, and end up
at a cowboy bar with trucker slogans
that proudly state that, if you saw it,
a truck brought it. The man in the suit
keeps shoving over ounces of whiskey.
I am dancing now, to the Rolling Stones,
crackling from speakers that bristle with
static, as if they will blow out any
second and rupture my ears. I hit the
hay at four in the morning and have scheduled
(it seemed reasonable at the time)
an 8:30 interview. My flight leaves
in two hours. It's pancakes and
weak coffee at the pancake house
and I am being asked serious
questions. It's only when I'm on the plane
I remember my trunks. My trunks are
dry, unused, hanging from the enlarging
mirror in the new hotel in Winnipeg. I close my
eyes and think, My god I have had one fabulous


Post a Comment

<< Home