Archives for February 2015
I’m on tour throughout 2015 to launch my third memoir, Coming Ashore, which covers my life from ages 20-25. When I was on tour for my first memoir nearly 10 years ago, I wrote an article for the Toronto Star as a thank you and tribute to my readers; the sentiment is just as real today as I cross the continent to meet as many of you as I can.
An excerpt from my article, entitled The Glory of the Book Tour:
“When I wrote Too Close to the Falls, a childhood memoir about my life from 4 to 14, I was thrilled that it made it to the best seller’s list. One of the best parts of the experience was the book tour itself.
Writing is a solitary activity. I was hunkered down on my third floor month after month pressing little keys and then one day I pressed print. Suddenly I was sent around the world to actually see the effect of my words. It is a magical moment to see a group of people you have never met respond to your writing with laughter or tears. It is a moment of shared intimacy like no other.
You know, you can sit in your room and write books if you want and never see anyone who reads them other than your small circle of friends. It’s easy to write for them. The joy of the book tour is in getting out and there and meeting people who are unlike you. The magic happens in realizing we all have enough common experience to share an emotional moment brought alive by a simple printed word. That, for an author, is a moving experience. Whenever I sit in my study thinking I have nothing to say, I think of all the people out there who thought I did.
When you write a book and someone buys it for what seems to me to be a hefty sum and then invests many hours of their precious time reading it, they deserve to meet you if they want to. They are the ones who are providing your living and, for a few weeks a year, they deserve some thanks.”
I’ve been taking Garageband lessons from the folks at Apple so I can bring Coming Ashore to you live from my writing studio. I’ve recorded the podcasts in segments, so you can listen to me read my escapades aloud, one chapter at a time. You can listen here.
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”
– Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
Review by Bob Douglas, Critics At Large.ca
This apt epigraph opens Catherine Gildiner’s first volume, Too Close to the Falls (ECW Press, 1999), of a memoirs’ trilogy that was followed by After The Falls: Coming of Age in the Sixties (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2009) and Coming Ashore (ECW 2014). Anecdotally, some readers have indicated that they prefer the first volume and I think I understand why. It has laugh-out-loud humour and describes, in the style befitting a young precocious Cathy McClure (her maiden name), life during the conservative 1950s in small-town Lewistown, New York, and a childhood that, though chock-a-block with incredible escapades, was a happy, secure one, albeit in some ways unconventional. (Cathy, for example, has no memory of ever having eaten a dinner at home since her mother did not want to cook.) Perhaps most importantly, each of the thirteen chapters recounts a pivotal event or relationship that reverberates in the subsequent volumes, a pattern I noticed because I read the third volume first and read backward to the first. Arguably, After the Falls has a less sassy, more sombre tone than Too Close as she describes her activism in the civil rights movement after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and explores more fully her relationship with her parents. Nonetheless, that and the concluding volume, that narrates her time in Oxford, Cleveland and Toronto from 1968 until 1974, acquire greater depth and continue to demonstrate her strengths. She is a gifted story-teller who vividly evokes the cultural texture of the eras of her memoirs. She also reveals her humour, her vulnerabilities and above all her humanity, alongside a penchant for finding herself in bizarre and almost improbable circumstances.
Read the rest of the review here at CriticsAtLarge.ca
January 14, 2015 by Lynda Davis
Coming Ashore is the third book in Catherine Gildiner’s autobiographical trilogy.
Coming Ashore is the third installment in Catherine Gildiner’s autobiographical series and anyone who requires three volumes to cover her life up to age twenty-five has obviously lived a more interesting life than mine. Boomer Broads will love her books. I guarantee it. The first book, a best seller, Too Close to The Falls covers her life as a young girl growing up in the fifties in Lewiston, New York. As the precocious daughter and only child of a pharmacist father and a mother who never cooked a meal, Cathy McClure as she was known then, lived a rather unconventional lifestyle as a pint-sized drug dealer. Actually, she rode around in the delivery vehicle with her father’s illiterate driver acting as his reader and partner while they delivered prescriptions in the Lewiston and Buffalo area.
The second book, After The Falls which was also a best seller covers her teenage years marked by the beginning of her involvement in political activism. As a teenager she kept company with such interesting characters as members of the Black Panthers and her romantic relationship with a married man, whom she didn’t know at the time was married. We’ve all been there.