A friend and colleague stopped me in the school office to say, “Hey, I have something for you.”
Me being me, I immediately asked, “Is it chocolate? I really need chocolate this week.”
“It’s better than chocolate,” she promised, as she dug around in the bulky bag of marking and other teacher stuff every English teacher hauls home at night. I was intrigued: what could possibly be better than chocolate?
And then she held up a copy of one of my favourite books of all time: In the Skin of a Lion. It’s by Michael Ondaatje (on-dot-chee), one of the greatest modern Canadian writers. He also wrote The English Patient and was a finalist for this year’s Giller Prize. In 2000, he tied to win the Giller. Ondaatje is a very big deal. He’s the kind of Canadian novelist I dream of becoming. Beyond writing stunning prose, he’s also a remarkable poet, which is something I’ll never be.
A new copy of my favourite book by an incredible author was a truly excellent way to start a Wednesday. Then my friend opened the cover.
The book was freaking signed. To me. By name. For real.
My friend went to hear Michael Ondaatje speak last night. I flapped my arms like a demented chicken when I found out he was in town –yes, really– but it was far too late for me to attend. Knowing Lion is my favourite piece of Mr. Ondaatje’s career, she took a copy and asked him to sign it for me.
I realize this might just be the geekiest thing you’ve heard today. I’m okay with that. I have my first book with an original author’s signature. You can give me my wedgie now.
What a thoughtful gesture, which certainly made my day in the middle of a very mucky month.
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