On the corner of Roeland Street on the edge of the inner city of Cape Town, is a beautiful bookshop – two doors up from Truth Coffee (another incredible place, worthy of mention at another time) and three doors up from Mavericks (not worthy of mention at any time- for several reasons, not least because of that aeroplane that drapes its advertising banner across our beautiful skies weekly, over our schools and children).
But it is the BOOK LOUNGE I want to write about because that was where I found myself on Tuesday evening just before 6pm. Once through the little steel gate and glass-panelled door, you almost wish that no-one else is there because you want to experience the books. You want to look at each one slowly and smell it and examine its cover and you want to sit in the comfy worn leather chair in the corner and explore it’s insides. At least, that’s how I feel. Fortunately though, there were a number people with me at the BOOK LOUNGE on Tuesday. They dribbled in slowly, looked around expectantly, picked up a book or two and then sought me out eventually. Yes…me. They had come to attend my book launch of my book, FROM COURTROOMS TO CUPCAKES. And there are even some pictures to prove it.
So now, I have to tell you a little about it…
Of course, Rosemary was tasked with the interviewing bit once again and looking glam and beautiful had the audience interested and entertained with her light-hearted, confident style so that took care of that. Though I usually have a lot to say on most occasions (my students are constantly putting their hands up and telling me the lecture’s over) I feel as though most of what I have to say is in the book, so this was a little harder for me. But I got through it and we chatted while and I only realised that the BOOK LOUNGE was pretty full and who had actually come to the launch, once I could relax with a sip of wine and engage with the audience. And I am infinitely grateful to all who came (some for the second time) …so thank you. Thank you.
Even more than all this though was my surprise when MERVYN SLOMAN of the BOOK LOUNGE gave a brief introduction to Rosemary and decided to talk briefly about the book. Mervyn, who is the owner of the BOOK LOUNGE and reads tons and tons of books and interviews many, many famous authors (you will find him chatting to DEON MEYER about his new book next week) stood up and said that though most people feel that they have a book in them, this is not true. Only some truly have a book in them and I was one of those people. (We all laughed when he said that actually now it was out). And then he went on to explain the two types of memoirs: those written by people who do strange and wondrous things like climb seven mountains with no shoes or naked and that these are all wonderful and interesting, and then there were those like mine: a personal story. And mine (at this point I nearly fell off the chair) was a memoir which was truly well written and funny too. ‘Effortless’ is the word I recall though at this point my hearing might have been obscured because I was trying really hard not to show my real emotion. For those who were there, you may have witnessed this.
So there it is. I launched my book at the BOOK LOUNGE. Along with all other incredible, wonderful writers. Like Edwin Cameron a few months ago (I sat cramped on the stairs, absorbing every detail) Lauren Beukes, Deon Meyer and tons more.
And the next morning I popped into a friend’s house for a birthday tea and there on the kitchen counter, was my book, FROM COURTROOMS to CUPCAKES, lying next to the cheese scones. And as I started chatting to the mums, I realised that they were talking about the book and I overheard one saying thanks to the other for having passed it on and could she now give it to a friend of hers for her book club. And then I was introduced as the AUTHOR (gosh, is that me?) and we chatted about another author who had recently launched too and how funny it was that we were both mums in the southern suburbs. Ordinary people in the southern suburbs. They were quite pleased for the fact that they all knew the author and were quite proud that they could admit as much.
As I walked out the door an hour or so later, I was suddenly aware of the fact that I too, was quite proud that I knew the AUTHOR. And quite intimately too.
Thank you again Mervyn. ‘Indefinitely indebted’ is how I put it on that FACEBOOK thing the next morning.