liminal states

I love Vancouver. It is an edge city, a liminal world, clinging precariously to the rim of the Pacific, the last stop before you hit Hokkaido. Today it rained. It always rains, and the weather is sullen, glum and defiant. But when you see the lush rainforest vegetation, and dripping moss, and the size of the old growth trees in Stanley Park, you realize just how pathetic pathetic fallacy really is. The trees don't care about our notions of sullen. Glum is good. Rain makes things with roots grow taller.

This blog is another liminal world. A quiet place to retreat after a day of publicity, not quite public but not entirely private either. A transition zone. I like it here. I feel like I can say things that can’t be said in other places.

The reading last night at Women In Print was wonderful. What a fantastic bookstore! Thank you, Louise and Carole, for hosting such a great group of smart readers, and for the delicious birthday cake! It was a perfect way to start the tour.

We headed south toward the border this morning. Suffered the usual paroxysms of irony and gut-twisting guilt in the line-up at the Peace Arch crossing. What is it about the sight of these terse, humorless INS men that triggers the recall of every crime or misdemeanor you’ve ever contemplated committing? Today we got an officer who was quite literary. He asked why we wanted to come to the U.S. of A.. I told him I was an author on book tour. He asked me what my book was about. I told him it was about a farm in Idaho. He asked me what genre it was. I said, “Mainstream Women’s Fiction.” He shook his head. “Not for me,” he said, and waved us into America.

Of course, Mainstream Women’s Fiction isn’t really a genre. It’s the marketing category into which Viking has slotted my book. Still, it was the first time in my life that I could say, with full confidence and authority, that I was mainstream anything. What a feeling. I’ll have to remember that.

Then, on the way down I-5 in the pounding rain, heading toward Bellingham, a large double-hopper farm truck pulled on to the highway. After a few moments, we started noticing that stuff was falling from the truck and bouncing off the asphalt in front of us. At first we thought they were apple cores, partly eaten fruit, which the driver was chucking out the window, but there were too many for that to make sense. And then we realized that they weren’t apples at all. The truck was strewing our path with potatoes.

When you read “All Over Creation,” you will know why this felt like a sign from the universe. God throwing spuds. The Big Guy tossing tubers.