Atwood Gives Bitter, Sweet the Nod

“Aren’t you the author of Bitter, Sweet?”

I turn around; a strange feeling comes over me, as I come face to face with Margaret Atwood. She’s a tiny woman, with a spark in her eyes, and a faint look of amusement on her face.

“Yes, I am,” I say feeling shy. I keep my words to a minimum. I don’t want to come off sounding like a gushing fool. But look at that, I never in a million years thought I’d be recognized by Margaret Atwood. I wanted to die!!!!!!

“You’re book is lovely, simply lovely,” she adds.

Nice piece of fiction that was, huh? Okay, so it was nice to daydream for a few seconds, and as Margaret Atwood said last evening, fiction writers do make up lies…. Still, it was kind of fun to pretend even if I giggled all the way through writing it.

Now for the real story.

Tuesday evening was the Champagne and Sunset with Margaret Atwood event at the Best Western. We arrived early and went into the conference room to look around.

All these books, written by Margaret Atwood; pretty impressive I’d say. This didn’t include all of her published works, mind you. I noticed a few titles were not present.

Yes, there was champagne, and the “maritime snacks” that were promised did not disappoint B or I–bacon wrapped scallops, salmon and cream cheese, quiche, to name a few. I was in heaven.

Before the event began, we stood in awe as we noticed Margaret circulating the room. She stopped right beside us, and said hello. I of course took the opportunity to tell her about the our kids having given us the tickets as a gift—like she’d remember that story the next day, but hey, you only get one shot, right?

One gentleman asked her how old she was when she wrote her first novel. She politely replied six or seven, and that it was a novel about an ant.
“There were a lot of plot problems,” she said, with a small grin. You’ve got to love her sense of humour.

Later, she took the podium, delighted us with some wonderful stories about how her father and mother met, and who all in Nova Scotia is related to her. Nope, I’m afraid no Best’s in that family tree. We were also treated to a reading before it was time to have our books signed.

The line was long. We didn’t make our way to the back of the line immediately, but stayed on the sidelines as I was hoping to get some more photos. At one point she motioned for someone, anyone, in our direction to come over, and no one made a move. I had no idea what she wanted but thought I’m going to find out. Turned out, two women wanted their photo taken with Margaret, and she wanted someone to snap the picture. Hey, that was the least I could do.

Finally, it was my turn. B was determined to get some clear shots. All evening I was having difficulty finding the right setting on my camera. Many of the shots I took in the dim light didn’t turn out. So he asked if she minded if he took some photos of the two of us. He snapped three to make sure he’d at least get one good one.

Upon reflection, I’m thinking I should have asked for her email address so that I could send her a copy. Do you think she would have fallen for that one? Nah, probably not.

So that’s it. A great evening with lots of pictures that definitely won’t get deleted off the camera before I have time to make copies.

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  1. I totally believed your story. There was no reason to doubt it.
    What books did you end up getting signed?

    • LOL! I wish!! The book was, “The Year of the Flood,” and was included in the price of the ticket. So I guess it was good all the way around, for the author, the South Shore Library, and the audience.

  2. Oh Laura, Thank you for inviting us along on your wonderful time with Ms. Atwood! Because of this post I had a grand time, too!

  3. You had me going in the beginning! Lol!

    It sounds like the whole experience was just incredible. :-) Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. That’s a great experience to have and keep as a memory. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You had me, hook, line and sinker! Glad you enjoyed your evening.

  6. Melanie

     /  August 24, 2011

    Great pic! :D I’m so glad you had a good time.

  7. I had a similar conversation with Margaret Lawrence… after she died. Could have fooled me.

    I believed every word, Laura!

  8. What a wonderful event. Thanks for sharing it with us. I totally believed the beginning of your post. I am sure, if Ms Atwood had read Bitter, Sweet ,she would have said the very same thing! Perhaps you could send her a copy.

    • It was really wonderful. We felt quite pampered before the main event even began. Awww,such sweet words about Bitter, Sweet, Darlene. :)

  9. Madison Woods

     /  August 25, 2011

    Oh, I was so getting ready to say something nice about how awesome it was that you were recognized by Atwood! But in the end it was an excellent post…maybe not quite so nice as the one you dreamed up, but still good ;)

    • I’m afraid the only way I’d be recognized by Atwood is in my dreams, so figured I might as well go for it…;) At least as fiction writers we can create the scenes we’s like to have happened… Where would we be without our dreams?

  10. Awww! That was so mean! I believed you and was feeling a wee bit envious! haha
    Congrats on having such an exciting opportunity, Laura. I’m sure even being that close to her — for real — will rub off on you and be further inspiration for your already wonderful writing. :)

    • Sorry for fooling you, Lynn. I do have a weird sense of humour by times. This post was truly fun to write, but it’s difficult to convey in a blog post just how awesome she really is. :)….

  11. Fun! The best thing that’s happened to me as a writer was getting two emails back from Stephen King. He signed them “Your friend, Stephen”. Swoon! It takes so little to make us happy…I hope I remember that if I’m ever in the position where a fan is reaching out to me.

    • Oh two emails from Stephen King. I should think you swooned, and now he’s “your friend.” How cool is that? And you’re right, Holli, fans do notice and care about these little things that take little time or effort on the part of the author. After all where would a writer be without fans?

  12. Author

     /  August 25, 2011

    Great post! It was a lovely gift to get, and you know, I don’t think the first scenario should have been so far off. Maybe when she Googles herself (surely she must!) she’ll come across this entry and think, I should read Bitter, Sweet! :)

    • Author

       /  August 25, 2011

      Signed Miss Julie ;)

      • Glad you enjoyed it, Miss Julie. If you ever get the chance to see her you should definitely go. It’s a great experience.

        So you think Margaret Atwood Googles herself? Well, I hope she drops a comment if she comes across this blog post… Maybe she’ll be my next guest blogger…LOL!!

  13. Such a great picture – two elegant writer ladies!

  14. Charmaine Zwicker

     /  August 25, 2011

    What a lovely reading in that tiny work of fiction you’ve just ‘published’ to your blog. Again, here you are, drawing your readers in with a believable tale of delight! I hope she stumbles upon it and is inspired to read your novel. :)

    • Thanks so much, Charmaine. Nice to have you visit my blog again. :) If I actually thought she’d see the post I’m sure I wouldn’t have written such a fictitious account..Now you have me

  15. syr ruus

     /  August 25, 2011

    Great photo of my two favourite writers.

  16. Libby Noseworthy-Boss

     /  August 26, 2011

    Well, I finally found time to hunt for your blog. It’s delightful… as is your book.! I am Libby, the crazy woman who stood behind you and your husband as we waited for our ‘facetime’ with Margaret Atwood. After finding out who you were… I then followed you out to your car to purchase your book (which you very sweetly signed) before I let you escape. Yes, the evening with “Maggie’ was every bit as wonderful as you described… and I love how you set the scene and animated the evening. I am not a writer, but I am a closet painter. Meeting you on the same evening as the Margaret Atwood event has been inspiring.. and perhaps I’ll go back into that little ‘studio’ of mine and keep trying.

    • I’m so glad you found my blog, Libby , and thanks so much for leaving a comment. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about having a published book is meeting new people such as yourself. I like your sense of humour!

      Please don’t stay a “closet painter,” or a closet anything. Going against who we really are is not a natural state of being. We should always make the time to honour to “gifts” that have been given to us, and express ourselves without being self-conscious about it.. This is the way writers, and painters develope their talent. This is what makes greatness!!

  17. So cool!
    what a great opportunity!


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