To Market, To Market

May 6, 2024

The weeks and months flew by and it is market time again. Several years and maybe ten books ago, I started regularly having a table at my local farmer’s market. I now fill it proudly with thirteen titles and hope to add two more before the season ends. ( The ANNEthology and Such a Winter’s Day) I rise early on Saturday mornings and join the other vendors at the Kingston Farmer’s market from 8:00 until 1:00. The seasonal market opens in May and runs until the end of October. I started out in the vendor’s hall but for the last few years I have been set up inside what used to be (before Covid ) a packed dining room serving hundreds of breakfasts every week. I have made such good friends in that place and so appreciate being beside Linda who I call my service vendor. I now look across at Shelley and Judy, two lovely sea glass ladies who have become such good friends to me. They are part of the reason I keep coming back. From the start, I knew books by a local author would never be the main attraction of this popular farmer’s market. I knew I would never put a SOLD OUT sign on my table. But from the start I believed that every new reader mattered and soon was convinced that showing up was well worth the effort. Usually when I have a brand new book my sales exceed the average but some days the sales are in the single digits. I never have had a no sale day but I’ve come close. I start out every Saturday with a bit of doubt and question my decision to open myself to the rejection of shoppers walking by . Every week there is what we call the 9:30 pick up when the crowd increases. My first sale helps to quell my pessimism and once I sell enough books to cover the cost of my table I relax a bit. During this time I usually spend some money ;always getting a breakfast sandwich from Rise and Shine and a coffee from Joe to Go. My Saturday market time has it’s routine, it’s challenges and it’s rewards but above all every Saturday I am blessed with the lovely chance of connecting with friends, neighbours, family , former students and I get to meet new people. I get lots of hugs now that we are not all hiding behind fear and masks. I get to see new babies and kids of the kids I taught and grandkids of friends and family. I usually get to see my sister in law Louisa, friends like Jim , Elenor and Nada. I get to meet new readers and have so many loyal readers show up to get another book or talk about one they read. I have one women who comes to buy books for her friend from Ireland who bought my first two books many years ago and always gets her the new one. This week she told me her friend Georgie would be here in June and I look forward to seeing her. What I really love is that every week I get at least one deep, meaningful interaction with someone. Some weeks I cry with others and share the joys and sorrows of this life. This past Saturday was no exception. Sales came slowly and at one point I was sure I might be looking at a no sale day. Things picked up and I had return readers and new readers purchase books . Toward the end of the morning I had a young woman and her partner come up to my table. My first book The Year Mrs. Montague Cried caught her eye as her high school English teacher had used the book in class and it had left a lasting impression on her. Now the hard part sometimes for me is to let myself open up and engage. Sometimes it seems so much easier to keep the discussion unemotional and protect my vulnerability. The beauty is though that every time I let my guard down I receive the real gift of seeing the vulnerability in the person I’m talking to. Sometimes when this happens it is as if the rest of the room, the people filing by, and a heap of other distractions disappear and truth and compassion take center stage. The person in front of me lets their guard down as well. This beautiful young lady walked away with four books which is wonderful but more importantly than that was the connection we were gifted just by both of us showing up.

The sign in the photograph was from the launch of my first book The Year Mrs. Montague Cried in 2011.


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