Well, yesterday I was inducted to the Sackville Arts Wall. It was a nice little ceremony, and even though thunderstorms were predicted, the weather contented itself with daylong drizzle. I now have a plaque on the wall at the main downtown intersection. The Arts Wall was started in Sackville three years ago, and each year a jury selects three or four inductees from various branches of the arts. The two other writers on the wall are Sir Charles G.D. Roberts and Douglas Lochhead, so I’m in good company. The other inductees this year were artist Glenn Adams (interestingly, my radio show used to follow his on CHMA), and Pauline Harborne, a music teacher who has influenced generations of students in this very musical town.
After the unveiling of the plaques, we all trundled off for the indoor portion of the event, which involved speeches and a celebration of the art. Before that though, I met a couple of very small children, whose parents brought them over to meet me. “This is K.V.” they said, and the children beamed shyly. “Pippin and the Bones is our favourite book.” That was so nice to hear. It’s mostly family and friends who turn out to stand in the drizzle for things like this, but when Pippin-fans make the effort, it adds an extra degree of, well, honour to it. It reminds that the stories really do matter.
We saw slides of Glenn’s work, and listened to some of Mrs. Harborne’s most recent batch of students, including my friends the four Torrances. For my bit of art, Dr. Deborah Wills of Mount Allison read a brief excerpt from Blackdog. It may have startled people a bit, if they were expecting Pippin, or even Torrie. (Mind you, there’s a fair bit of peril and fighting in Torrie, though not so much, as someone said of the reading, Beowulf-scale violence, dragons notwithstanding.) When they asked me to find a short bit of something for her to read, I thought, time to get people talking about the new book, time to let them know it’s for adults. (And, I should point out, by then all the little ones had gone home, sitting and listening to speeches not being the pre-schooler’s idea of a good way to spend a Saturday morning. No nightmares were induced by my scene of battle and mayhem.) I found it very interesting, very exciting, to hear someone else read my stuff aloud. It let me hear it as something new. “Oooh,” I thought. “Hey, this is good.”
Anyway, that was the Arts Wall. If you’d like to read a little sample of Blackdog, there’s one up on my website now, here. It’s not the bit that was read at the event (in which Otokas kills about fourteen enemies in the six or seven minutes it takes to read aloud), but it’s a nice pivotal scene from the book, introducing one of the main heroes, Holla-Sayan. Blackdog comes out from Pyr in September 2011, but it’s already available to pre-order at most bookstores.