A week or so ago Rachelle and I had a garage sale.
One of the components of this event was that I was signing copies of my bestselling book A Van Full of Girls. In case the book has somehow escaped your attention, here are a few press clippings:
“ I thought it was fine, but it could stand for less swearing. Swearing doesn’t prove what a big man you are.”
—Barb Murray, Canadian mother
“Although I could not invest in Michael’s book project, I was struck by how courageous he was to put his thoughts down like that and then, in spite of the risk of public embarrassment and the terribly long odds of any sort of success, seek publication. So brave. We need more people with Michael’s spirit in Canada.”
—Arlene Dickinson, star of the CBC hit TV show Dragon’s Den
“ It’s just lie after lie after lie.”
—Doug Ford, Canadian businessman and politician
I have to say, and I’m giving you the straight-up truth here, the book really is a fucking game-changer.
You should buy it.
At any rate, while we were selling off our things, Margaret Atwood, who lives in the same area, happened upon us. I conducted a somewhat adversarial interview with her a few months ago for a magazine called The Knuckler, ( http://michaelmurray.ca/atwood-interview ) and as this took place via phone I was unsure if she knew who I was, but when she saw me at my little A Van Full of Girls kiosk, she approached.
Margaret Atwood: I’ve been surveying all your trinkets here, such a contrast amidst the grandeur of the neighbourhood. So sweet, so hopeful.
Margaret Atwood: It’s like an archeological dig. Sifting through the debris you can see the arc of a life, the enthusiasm and ambition that inevitably crumbles into failure, and then finally the recognition of that failure and the selling off of all that had symbolized your hope.
Me: I’ll let you have the Six Million Dollar Man thermos for a buck.
Margaret Atwood: I don’t think so.
Me: Your loss.
Margaret Atwood: You seem to have an awful lot of unfinished self-help books for sale. Why is that?
Me: I don’t know, why is the Handmaiden’s Tale so much more popular as a TV show not written by you, than as a book written by you?
Margaret Atwood: Handmaid’s Tale, it’s Handmaid’s Tale.
Me: Oh. Sorry.
Margaret Atwood: This book, A Van Full of Girls? Are you the author?
Me: Yes. You should buy a copy. Support the arts.
Margaret Atwood: So tell me, how does self-publishing work these days?
Me: My book wasn’t self-published.
Margaret Atwood: Really!? How extraordinary. Typically you don’t seen an established author out on a front lawn selling his book from a knapsack. And look, you have so many copies! You must have at least 40!
Me: You know what? I also have an awful lot of Margaret Atwood books for sale over there, but people just don’t seem interested. One woman picked up a copy of Lady Oracle, showed it to her friend and said, “Barf.”
Margaret Atwood: (Gives withering look)
Me: (Imitates withering look)
Margaret Atwood left shortly after this exchange, but not before telling me that I should keep all the self-help books I was trying to sell, and buying, for reasons we can only imagine, a used The Very Best of Chris de Burgh LP.