A Stop at Brock

I was delighted to be a keynote speaker at Brock’s Annual Two Days of Canada conference. I gave the full 90-minute show, punctuated by my ripping off a malfunctioning lapel mic and shouting my way through whenever I strayed from the mic behind the podium. There is a rule that no mic works immediately when you’re setting up, or consistently, when you are set up. So adaptability is not just a virtue, but a necessity. But a stage show with the performer tethered behind a podium is a reduced version of the real thing.

I was kindly looked after by my faculty hosts, Scott and Marian, and stunned by a case of extraordinary academic memory retention. One fine man kindly remembered a talk on Hugh MacLennan that I gave nineteen years ago!
A high point for me came from the name of the room where I performed: Pond Inlet. There I was, recreating a polar bear attack in a room (almost as far south as Niagara Falls) entitled Pond Inlet, with the room’s nameplate using English, French, and Inuktitut.

Signing books afterwards allowed me to chat with Shelley Martin, of the Brock bookstore, who is a veteran who has worked with most of the authors in my book. My book signing is getting better. When in doubt, I  write “Best wishes.” The encouraging slogan “Good reading!” can sound awfully close to boasting, a description rather than an exhortation.

— Douglas Gibson

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