May 2, 2022
Hello world of friends!
English author Neil Gaiman apparently once said:
“… a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it has a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”
This past week I’ve had the pleasure of spending many hours at a couple of incredible independent Vancouver bookstores… mostly thanks to you and your pre-orders of “Return to Solitude.” So… THANK YOU to everyone who did so… I’m typing this with my left hand because my right is in a bucket of ice. I’m honoured.
Last week I spent the day at Massy Books signing the mail orders with love and appreciation. Massy is a 100% Indigenous-owned business located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It’s a beautiful shop and a must-visit when in Vancouver.
As I went through your orders, I recognized names and friends from the various stages of life… the (too many) years I spent on the road in the Smugglers and the fan(s) we met… the CBC Radio 3 community… North By Northwest listeners from CBC Radio 1… far flung then-and-now Desolation Sound neighbours… old family friends… and folks who signed up to this rickety mailing list last month and last century. Books are now on their way to places like Brandon and Bakersfield; Toronto and Tokyo; Dawson City and Denver. Hope you dig it!
When you receive your book… if you feel so inclined to post a pic from wherever you are, please use the hashtag #returntosolitude so I can see it too!
Saturday April 30th was “Return To Solitude”‘s official release date as well as Independent Bookstore Day. I spent that afternoon at the amazing 32 Books and Gallery in the quaint mountain village of Edgemont on the North Shore. For over a decade they have been North and West Vancouver’s last-standing, only independent bookstore. A community hub for sure.
This was a “table signing”, which I usually loathe, but Deb McVittie and the entire staff at 32 Books have been massive supporters since Day 1…
The reason I have grown to fear these “signing” type situations is because you sit at a table with a pen in front of a stack of books and just kinda hope people approach. Like a lemonade stand without a cute kid.
I’ve always preferred doing an ‘event’ (like a gig) where I get to go on stage and tell stories / joke around / have music. I’ve done these signing situations before where I’ve sat at that table for hours and literally the only reason people approach me is to ask where the washroom is.
[I’ve shared these soul-crushing stories with my ol’ pal Chris Murphy from Sloan, and he admitted that he assumed my new book “Return to Solitude” was about one of my book signings. (BABOOM!)]
I’m happy to report that the table signing for Independent Bookstore Day was *not* soul-crushing– it was in fact a great experience (thanks again, 32 Books). I had a bunch of amazing interactions, conversations, beer (thanks Bill Crow), and cookies, and the only person who asked me where the washroom was was my son.
If you’d like to know what “Return to Solitude” is all about, this is a pretty good review / interview / overview recently published in the Squamish Chief.
Next up is my first set of “Grant Lawrence and Friends: Stories and Songs” shows in over two years! If you live in and around the Salish Sea, I hope to see you at one of these gigs. I’ll be masked when I’m not on stage, signed books will be available, and each show has absolutely amazing musical guests, so you don’t have to listen to me all night.
Wed May 4, Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney BC
Thu May 5, Victoria Events Centre, Victoria BC
Fri May 6, Kay Meek Theatre, West Vancouver BC
Sat May 7, Brackendale Art Gallery, Squamish BC
Tue May 24, Tidemark Theatre, Campbell River BC
Wed May 25, Patricia Theatre, Powell River BC
Thu May 26, Heritage Playhouse, Gibsons BC
Thu June 16, Maury Young Theatre, Whistler BC
Fri June 17, the Effie, Kamloops, BC
Fri June 24, Community Hall, Pender Island BC
Ticket to all shows here.
If you would like to put on one of these shows in your town / island / barn / dairy farm / brewery / haunted hotel please get in touch! More shows are coming up on Galiano, Mayne, and Gambier Islands.
And hey… Mother’s Day is around the corner, and my lovely wife Jill Barber is releasing a very moving, beautiful song called “My Mother’s Hand”. Check it out and share it with your mom… or a mother in your life. Jill will be gracing the stage at the West Van show listed above.
Happy Mother’s Day, Happy May, Happy Life, and hope to see you on the road soon.