I’ve had a few days doing author-type things. I was in Ottawa at the Ottawa Writers’ Festival for a few days, and last night I was at a book club meeting in Combermere. All very enjoyable, seeing old friends, meeting new ones.

A conversation at the book check-out counter at the Festival was delightfully confusing:

SHE: That will be $10.30. Oh! [Seeing my Festival name tag.] You’re Sandra Gulland. I’ve read all your books.

ME, taking the book: Thank you, that’s wonderful. [Handing her a $20.] I have 30 [as in cents].

SHE: Oh, I’ve not read 30.

ME, realizing what she meant, and overwhelmed at the thought of 30 books to my credit: I’ll never make it to 30.

SHE, laughing and giving me my change: That what all 24-year-olds say, “I’ll never make it to 30.”


I take the book—Mortifications: Writers’ Stories of their Public Shame, the perfect companion for a writer on tour, BTW—and back away, dazzled by the notion of being a 24-year-old with 30 books to my credit. If only!