On Saturday, May 5, I travelled east of Toronto to Whitby, to speak at a well-attended local Ontario Writers’ Conference. The setting was the Deer Creek Golf Club.
I was there to give a lunch-time talk to the 175 people at the conference, and was wearing my “Publisher’s Uniform.” (As a publisher I always instructed my authors that on the promotion trail they should look like their book cover photo, wearing the same clothes, hairstyle/beard, and so on. So when I’m appearing as “author” I wear the blue blazer, grey flannels, white button-down shirt, and striped tie that the unflattering Tony Jenkins caught on the book jacket.)
As you would expect, this was a much more formal outfit than that worn by the dozens of golfers who were enjoying the Deer Creek sunshine.
When I left the conference to roam around the tees before the lunch, my outfit led to a misunderstanding. I was silently standing there, watching people teeing off (in the interested manner of someone who grew up playing golf), when on two occasions, members eager to start the round mistook this well-dressed authority figure as the Official Starter. They were polite Asian Canadians, and they came up to me, bowed, and presented me with their official Starter’s Card.
I explained that I was just a spectator, and withdrew before there were any more misunderstandings. But the possibilities for mischief (“Sure, go ahead. I’m sure you’ll miss the players just in front . . . they’re further off than they look”) have stayed with me.
There may even be the start of a murder mystery plot. And a title . . . Drive, He Said.
I enjoyed your talk at the Ontario Writers’ Conference. I’m sure the devil sitting on your shoulder by the first tee was having a hard time sending you back to the conference.
I wrote this on my blog about you: “Guest speaker, publisher and editor Douglas Gibson entertained with Stories of the Storytellers. In a long publishing industry career Gibson hobnobbed and duked out editing decisions with some of Canada’s best-known authors. From a collage of author caricatures, audience members yelled out favourite names, triggering Gibson to tell amusing insider stories that reflected on the author as only an insider relationship and trust would allow. Gibson was the man in the room (and the fly on the wall).”
This is very fine. I’m delighted that you liked my material from Stories About Storytellers. I find that writers especially enjoy the switch of the smartypants publisher into a hardworking author, who has trouble writing the book, then has to grind it out on the promotion tour. Your “fly on the wall” analogy is very good, and your use of “trust’ very perceptive..