August 2, 2016 11:35:22
Posted By DMB
I can’t use most of the internet so I’ve never read a blog and now I’m doing one (I don’t use twitter, facebook, or even a cellphone for that matter). Not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing I’m free to do whatever I want. It’s fun except it’s a bit like talking to yourself in an empty room.
A great day today! My publisher called me to tell me that the second, revised and expanded, edition of The Pope’s Bookbinder with a new chapter on the Hemingway heist and an index (our biggest lapse in the first edition), came from the printer and it’s in the store now. Reggie Turner, a friend of Oscar Wilde’s and reported to be wittier than even Wilde (hard to imagine that one) – a minor figure in the 90s and early 20th century literary world – wrote several novels which are near impossible to find. Although they have been sought after by people like me for over thirty years – unsuccessfully. Turner famously said, “It’s my second editions that are rare,” meaning, of course, that there never were any. It’s a shame some publisher doesn’t prove Reggie wrong. By all accounts, slight as they might have been as literature they demonstrated the famous wit.
Today, I went out twice with my new oxygen machine, once to the store, then later up to our local pub with a friend for the first beer in a month. And an hour of watching all the beautiful young people courting and enjoying the glorious day. It was very pleasurable and I’ve learned a few more tricks and got some more confidence with the new machine.
And that’s only the beginning.
I have had my first venture out using four hours of oxygen with great success. In fact, some how, I don’t understand how, I spent five hours at the store did too much work and arrived home with the oxygen right on empty. Every incident like this teaches new things and gives more confidence. Soon I’ll be scouting again and your good books won’t be safe.
Last week Paul Whitney, a new friend, retired Chief Librarian of the Vancouver Public Library and now a bookman and scout at large, was in Toronto for meetings and I had to tell him that I couldn’t be in my store to greet him due to my medical complications. Friday afternoon having a beer with a friend in my corner pub – and with thousands of pubs in Toronto to choose from - who should walk in but Paul Whitney. So, Mason, apparently too ill to open his store for a collector, is found drinking in a pub with a woman, not his wife. My reputation continues to plummet.
On June 16, 1904: James Joyce met a chambermaid called Nora Barnacle and took her for a walk through Dublin. Some years later, Leopold Bloom took a fictional walk also through Dublin. Many years later, also on June 16th, I got married for the first time. I’d like to say it was a literary homage but it was pure coincidence.
At least I always remembered, and didn’t get in trouble by not responding with the proper degree of gratitude and adulation.