I love living in a little place where I’ve lived for a long time.
Last week, I finally felt ready, took a deep breath, and ordered 200 copies of Shifting Currents. Since they’re printed in the US, it was much cheaper and easier to have them shipped to a UPS depot in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and bring them across the border myself. It’s just ten minutes farther than downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, when the border is quick.
They arrived late yesterday afternoon, just in time for me to rush over and pick them up. Of course, the border wasn’t quick. It’s Thanksgiving weekend here and for some unfathomable reason quite a lot of Canadians seemed to want to drive into the US to express their thanks. It took me 45 minutes to cross the border, and I rushed into the package depot just before it closed.
Standing in front of me was a young woman with her Canadian passport in hand, so—just to be friendly—I asked if she’d just crossed the border, and wasn’t the lineup awful? She nodded.
“So, are you here to pick up your book?” she said.
I expect my jaw dropped. I’m quite sure I had never seen this woman before in my life. Obviously the word is out. I’ve really been counting on fame and fortune, but it seems to be happening more quickly than I’d hoped. That’s good. At my age, you want these things to happen in time to enjoy them.
The woman laughed at my confusion. It turns out she works with the person who is organizing my book launch and reading at the library (for locals, October 26, 7 pm, in case you missed that detail.) So much for fame and fortune.
I picked up my 7 heavy boxes of books and headed back across the border. There was no lineup. Huh.
The guy at the kiosk asked for my passport, then looked at the boxes piled up in the back of the car. “What are you bringing in?”
“Books? What kind of books.”
“These.” I handed him a copy.
“Yes,” I said. It was never my intention to sneak them across the border, but I wasn’t quite sure what the procedure would be. I could hardly claim personal use.
He was turning the book over in his hands. “Oh! This is the barn behind your house!”
You see? I really am becoming famous. And I now see that one of the problems with becoming a celebrity is that everybody knows you, and you don’t know anyone…
“Um…do I know you?” I’m going to have to work on my response. This sounds amateurish.
“Sort of,” he said. “I’m friends with Robin.”
Let down again. He went on to tell me how he’d seen my daughter-in-law and my grandson at a hockey game just last week and how my grandson is so very tall (which I know—handsome, too). Fortunately, there was no one lining up behind me to get into Canada.
Then, “I don’t know what to do with these books. Technically, it’s a commercial import.”
Dear God, what does that mean? I have to become a business?
“But…but” I stammered.
He nodded and called his supervisor, then sent me into the non-commercial side of the building where some discussion ensued. It seems that not being a business is a complicated thing when you want to sell stuff—but I decided, wisely I think, not to launch into a description of Embajadoras Press and the authors’ cooperative publishing venture (emabjadoraspress.com) which really, in a money-making way, isn’t a business. In the end I paid the required taxes and headed home, books in tow.
Shifting Currents will be available in local bookstores after October 26, and through Amazon when I figure out how that works…soon, I hope.