I named it the Great Pacific Northwest Book Tour and I’ve been on the road just over a week, driving from home in San Diego north on the Interstate first to Oakland for an overnight with my daughter, Amy, before I headed north again for Ashland, Oregon where I had my first book event at Bloomsbury’s Books, and where I got to hang out with my friend Midge Raymond. Midge just shared the good news that her novel, My Last Continent, has been picked up by Scribner! Hooray for Midge. (Midge and her husband, John Yunker run Ashland Creek Press, a small press that publishes gorgeous books with an ecological sensibility.)
The event at Bloomsbury’s was terrific fun with a lively audience in a great setting. I was thrilled to discover that on a shelf just behind the podium in the upstairs loft at the bookstore, a copy of A Writer’s Book of Days, almost like it had my back and I read from Wild Women, Wild Voices and talked about writing from our Authentic Wildness, and we all did a couple of writing explorations from the book.
I’m writing this blog at the second stop on the GPNWBT, Portland, where I’m staying with my friend Dian Greenwood who’s also got a book in the works. Tuesday evening, May 12, the Wild Women, Wild Voices and I will be at Annie Bloom’s Books and I’m so looking forward to seeing some Portland friends and writers there, including Laura Stanfill who’s such a great supporter. Laura also runs a small press, Forest Avenue Press. More gorgeous books: “page-turning literary fiction.”
After Portland, I’m headed to Seattle where I’ll be at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, just north of the city. Another Indie bookstore that supports writers and readers and that keeps the lights burning for people like us. I am so grateful to all the men and women who keep the light burning and who are keeping the faith in neighborhood bookstores. Support them, folks. They’re on our side.
I’ll be back home in San Diego mid-May, then come July, I’ll head out again. This time for the East Coast for another branch of the tour.
So why does a writer go on a book tour? Well, to make noise about her newest book, and to sell a few, she hopes. But for me, it’s more than that. I love to meet and interact with readers and writers from different parts of the country, and to discover their worlds. We writers sit in our rooms, or at a cafe, or maybe the library, alone with our words, our notebooks or laptops, our imaginations and characters and stories. We do our work and we send it out to— we don’t always know where. What we want to know is: Did it connect with anyone? Did anyone hear my voice? care about my story, my characters? what I believe in and want to say? For me, one of the most basic of human needs is this connection with another and for writers going on the road is often the only way to find it.
That’s why I packed way too many clothes (and not the right ones for cool and rainy Portland), why I’m driving up and down the west coast of the US: to connect with others, to say Hi, I’m Judy Reeves. I care about writing and stories. Who are you and what do you care about?