Having spent a lot of time going to readings and talks, it was strange to be on the other side, looking out at the audience rather than being in the audience. As I stood there at Book Warehouse Main Street in Vancouver preparing to read, I remembered a couple of things heard and overheard in Seattle before I left for this event.

Random guy in Cal Anderson Park, talking to his friends: “When you go in there, you’re nervous, right? So what I do is slowly scan the crowd…then they get nervous.”

Poet Cedar Sigo, at the Sorrento Hotel for the APRIL festival: “A nervous breakdown and a good reading are closely related.”

I didn’t put either of those things into practice that night (not intentionally, anyway), but any form of nervousness I might’ve felt was drowned out by a lot of love—from my parents and aunts who made it up to Vancouver from eastern Washington; from my friend Yukmila who flew out from Washington, D.C.; from UBC Creative Writing co-chairs Annabel Lyon and Linda Svendsen, as well as so many friends and allies who helped with the book; my agent, Dean Cooke, who flew all the way out from Toronto; from the lovely, gracious folks at Book Warehouse.

There was also the incredible Minelle Mahtani, host of the 98.3 Roundhouse Radio show Sense of Place, which I was on the following morning. She surprised me during the interview with a clip she’d recorded of my dad talking about my writing.

All came together to make a wonderful book launch, despite the rain clouds that gathered outside the door after a bright, sunny day. And the rain did eventually come. But it didn’t bother us. We made our own light.