Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!
I have been remiss. I have not told you about the book launch I attended in mid-September. Apologies. Life has been rather… busy (and just a little stressful) at the moment, so I have been unable to find the time to write as much as I would like.
In mid-September, my friend Máire Fisher launched her second novel ‘The Enumerations‘ in Johannesburg at Love Books in Melville. The book contains one transgender/non-binary character and in her meticulous research of all her characters, Máire contacted Priscilla’s Services to ensure she could get some of the details of her character right. I was happy to help as best I could, and I can only hope I did her justice. I was very impressed with this level of attention to detail and of course the empathy with which she approached the character. Evidence, for me at least, that the notion that ‘only trans people can write about trans people’ is flawed.
Unfortunately, the timing of the launch was difficult. A 6-30 pm start time, midweek does not make for an ideal time for most crossdressers and other part-time transgender people. It simply does not leave enough time to leave work (on time) change, prettify and get to the venue on time. Therefore, I was (I think) the only transgender person at the launch.
I had my fair share of challenges. I had a midday meeting that I had to attend for work, which I did. I then came back home (I work from home) and knocked off early (having ‘worked in’ additional time earlier in the week to get ahead on all my projects). My spouse left to fetch the girls from school and give me some time to get ready. She was out for a few minutes and I was in the bath when our electric fence triggered. So, I jumped out of the bath, wrapped a towel around my as yet unwashed body and raced outside to sort out the alarm. Having done that, I tried contacting the security company to explain it was a false alarm. No luck. So, I got back in the bath. A few minutes later I heard the security guard walking around outside and naked me engaged in a conversation with him through the bathroom window. Fun!
Undeterred I soon finished up and got dressed. With no time for photographs I raced out of the house as quickly as I could and called my spouse to say the coast is clear. (My kids do not know about the ‘other me’ because I fear for what society may say and do to them if the secret ever got out.) It was now late afternoon and I had a few hours to kill before the book launch. What to do?
I decided to go to Amuse Cafe for an early dinner. I called ahead and the ever helpful and accommodating Dirck confirmed that the kitchen was open. I arrived and had a lovely cold drink and an Amuse Burger (on special at Amuse in October, hint, hint). It was scrummy. I finished off with a coffee, paid my bill and headed to the launch.
I was relieved to bump into my very special friend Anna in the parking lot. We had a bit of a chat on the way to the book shop. Here I met Máire (our first face to face meeting) and in typical Daniella fashion made the awful faux pas of mispronouncing Máire’s name. Oh well…
We met a few other avid readers (the audience was overwhelmingly female) and had a few interesting conversations with new people. I felt welcomed and accepted the whole time. It was wonderful.
Máire soon started speaking and we were lucky to get some amazing insights into her approach to her work. The level of detail she went into researching all her characters amazed me. No wonder her work carries such an air of authenticity with it.
After the formal part of the launch was over I met Máire’s husband and son. It was a bit awkward at first when a very tall man said ‘hello Daniella’ to me and I had literally no idea who this person was. Turns out I was a minor celebrity in the Fisher household for a few weeks (blush). I suppose everyone has a few minutes of fame in their lives. Everyone was wonderful towards me and apart from a little (totally ‘normal’ for me) social anxiety I felt very happy.
After the launch Anna and I adjourned to a coffee shop in Melville. We had a very good slice of cake over a cup of coffee and a long chat. It was a school night so all too early we left and drove home.
I sadly have not finished reading either The Enumerations or Birdseye (Máire’s first novel) that I purchased at the launch. I am in the fortunate position of having been gifted a multitude of books recently and I am busy working my way through them. However, what I have read augers very well and as soon as I get to them, I am sure I will be able to give you all a ‘proper’ book review. (Public service announcement, I am a lousy reviewer.)