Autumn events

I’m looking forward to a couple of festival appearances this fall:

Word on the Street (Toronto), Sunday September 25th, 11am. I’ll be part of a panel called, “Toronto as Muse: Books Inspired by the City We Love”. Click here for more info about this fabulous event.

Vancouver International Writers’ Festival, Saturday October 22, 2pm and 8pm. I’ll be  on two different panels. Check out the fest’s full schedule here.

If you’re in either of these cities, I hope to see you there!

A human mistake

Each year, there are a number of tragic news stories about “hot car deaths”–too many really. A few friends sent me this one, about Elena Petrizzi, who recently died after being forgotten in her father’s car, and so I thought I’d comment on it.

It was a similar story that first inspired Ismail’s character in my novel, Six Metres of Pavement. I wondered how a father in this situation could manage to go on with his life after making the absolute worst mistake a person can make.

Through my continued reading on the subject, I came to understand that such a mistake is a truly human one, a mistake caused often by sleep deprivation, distraction, schedule changes. None of us would ever want to see ourselves making such a fatal error, but any of us could. I don’t think the majority of these cases are of a criminal nature, or that parents should be charged with manslaughter, as Lucio Petrizzi was. My heart goes out to he and his family as they recover from this heartbeak.

Leaving Del Rio

It’s been dry for seven months. On the way in from Del Rio International Airport, my father told us that the local church congregations have been saying rain prayers all spring.

Dad, my step-mother and younger siblings moved here almost ten years ago. Del Rio is his long-awaited escape from Southern Ontario winters, a Texas border town just 3 miles from Mexico. I’ve visited a number of times over the years; its low-key charm and arid climate make it a good vacation spot and writing retreat for me.

I toured Stealing Nasreen through here three years ago and am back with Six Metres of Pavement for a couple of readings, a book signing and a creative writing workshop. Each event has been attended by welcoming, interested readers, people who asked lots of questions about writing process, and the characters and setting in Six Metres of Pavement. They wanted to know about Toronto, Ismail’s mistake, Celia’s agonias. Del Rio is a frontier town with an artist’s heart.

It’s now a week later, and my partner and I wait at the airport. There are only two outbound flights a day, and ours has been grounded due to a thunderstorm with hail the “size of golf balls”. The airport staff have made us coffee, and changed the channel in the waiting room to Disney to entertain the children. They got the rain they prayed for after all.

Dad at Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Del Rio