A Confession (Plus Upcoming Readings)

Ayelet Book Launch 145
Photo by Nikki Mills

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been completely straight with you these past few months. Some huge, life-changing things were happening (aside from the publication of my first book) that I neglected to mention here. The reason for this omission is that I’m superstitious  (or as I wrote in my National Post essay: I’m a knock-on-wood-mantra-chanting-afraid-of-the-evil-eye type). I know it’s silly. In fact, it’s ridiculous. It’s also extremely tiring to keep knocking on wood and spitting and blurting mantras and trying not to jinx things. But I can’t help it. It’s not entirely my fault: in Israel (and in most of the middle east) we don’t have baby showers; who in their right mind would want to celebrate a baby’s birth before it arrives safely? Israelis also look funny at North Americans who paint nurseries, hang art, and build cribs adorned with mobiles all in advance. That’s just asking for trouble. “So what’s the protocol regarding the buying of strollers and cribs and such?” I asked an Israeli friend, a reasonable thinking man and a father of three. He answered seriously, “It’s okay to buy them in advance. But then you keep them in the box, out of sight, until the baby comes.” When my mom and my sister heard that we’ve received a bunch of used baby clothes and that Sean was washing and folding them and placing them in the closet they both cried, “No! You must wait! Do that after!” My compromise (my cleverly plotted way of confusing the evil eye) was to not take any part in this process, and let Sean handle it. I hardly even looked at the clothes. As a result, when the baby came (you must have figured out by now that I had a baby?) I had no idea what was in the closet. Sean had to walk me through it: thank god for his exceptional organizational skills.

So this may explain why, when I found out I was pregnant, I decided to not to blog about my big news. At least for the first three months. Then, I decided to continue being mum about it for just a little longer. Then I figured I might as well wait until the baby arrives. Don’t take it personally. I didn’t tell anyone on Facebook or Twitter either (an unusual behaviour at a time when people post ultra sound photos and belly shots on social media regularly). Not unlike Jessica Sarah Parker on the fifth season of Sex and the City, I spent the last nine months posting photos of myself that didn’t give away my bump (it helped that I didn’t really look pregnant until pretty late, so even at seven months, I could post a full-body frontal photo of me and no one suspected a thing). When we finally came out and announced the birth, I had friends who hadn’t seen me in a while react in shock: “You were pregnant?”Others learned about the pregnancy when they showed up at my book launch and saw me. Eight months pregnant. Surprise!

I know. I’m weird like that.

So yes: my book and my baby were born a month apart. And yes, it was kind of crazy. And wonderful. And intense. And magical. And all kind of other adjectives that are a faded version of what it was really like. Looking back, I think I had a vague feeling that it may happen that way. I even had a prophetic moment nine months ago: I was already pregnant but didn’t know it when I told a friend (whom I was sharing wine and oysters with…) that with my luck I’d be a whale at my book launch. “Oh, but you’ll be a beautiful whale,” she said.

228131_129250693816530_4995046_aI have my first reading since baby on Wednesday, June 5th, at the Pivot Reading Series (at the Press Club in Toronto). I’m excited but also a little nervous about logistics: do I wear the baby? Breastfeed in the back while the others read (I’d love to stay for the whole show but clearly baby is calling the shots here)? What if she cries? Fusses? Was it too soon to book a reading? Am I crazy to attempt it at this point?

And there are already more exciting events scheduled, like A Literary Picnic at Trinity Bellowoods Park as a part of the fabulous Luminato Festival on June 22nd, and a trip to Vancouver Writers’ Festival in the fall (Baby’s first flight!) that I am extremely excited about. It’s been a dream of mine to read at this festival since the first time I attended it. And it would be great to travel with the family back to Vancouver, introduce the little one to our friends and family over on the coast.

Oh, and now that I’m no longer pregnant, I figured it’s time to post some of the photos I couldn’t before. From The Book Lover’s Ball (seven months pregnant in a rented gown from Rent Frock Repeat) from my launch (eight months pregnant), and from Spur Festival (one week before my due date and assisted by crutches since I took to tripping over the last few weeks of my pregnancy). Or you can scroll down to see them below. Good times!