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Mary Gentry Writes

On Launching “Quite Contrary”

For the past month, I have been immersed in my book project and launching “Quite Contrary.” It has been a lot of fun and a lot of work.  Becoming “Mary the Marketing Maven” was not on my ‘to do’ list, but then, who knew?

The three book events in October were wildly successful in every way.  Friends and family showed up, as well as former clients, students, and babysitters. Eleanor, our granddaughter, made it to two events and surely bolstered sales. The final event was at Olympia’s Orca Books, where Mimi demonstrated how she creates her linoleum block prints and I read a few selections from “Quite Contrary,” answered questions, and talked about the magic of storytelling.

Most folks have purchased multiple copies, some presenting me with a list of friends they intend to give the book to. Others have come back for more after reading the book. For many folks, it is the perfect little “stocking stuffer.”

The single most gratifying aspect has been the heartfelt and humorous comments. Readers have accused me of following them around and eavesdropping on their conversations. I heard comments like “I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I nodded.”  All of which made me smile.

Still, all said, it was wonderful to meet Fred in Las Vegas last week for a few days of poking around in the desert, first Death Valley, then the Saline Valley, Black Rock Desert and High Rock Desert.  I have never been on rougher road in my life – a little like riding for hours in a rock tumbler.

That vast nothingness – which, upon closer inspection, adds up to an impressive display of somethingness – was the perfect antidote to the weeks of self-absorption preceding it. I wasn’t really fed up with the book project, but I was definitely sick of ‘me.

There is something powerfully curative about the desert, its seemingly infinite expanse and stillness.  In the Saline Valley, I saw more stars in the night sky than I knew existed.  The quiet was profound. In the last 10 years, Fred and I have been to southern Africa four times. When asked about the attraction, my answer always includes the vast landscape and the palpable silence.  Of course, in Africa, the animals are amazing and iconic but the real draw for me is the hugeness and the quiet – lots of animal noises, but nothing really ‘civilized.’

In a week’s time, I am off to Boise, Idaho, for a wonderful time with college friends and a private book party hosted by three of my sorority sisters, friends who have been loyal and enthusiastic well beyond what I deserve. The following week my dear friend Jane Gregory, or Lady Jane, as I have always called her, is throwing a party for me in Nanaimo, BC. We’re calling it my “international book launch. ”

I will be sure to report on upcoming events.  In the meantime, keep reading and buying books!


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