Behind the Scenes: Kobo’s Going Going Gone Contest #9: The Leap
Part 1: The e-mail, Part 2: The Call, Part 3: The Reading, Part 4: The Waiting, Part 5: The Text, Part 6: The “GO” Call, Part 7: The Writing & Invitation, Part 8: The Party.
Today is the final day of Kobo’s Going Gone Gone Contest. So, y’know, if you could use $5000 and a Kobo Aura H2O, go for it. I’ll provide one last clue and a secret code here and one gigantic one in my newsletter that goes out later today.
But first, the conclusion to my behind the scenes posts! Da-da-da DUM!
August 26th, 2014
Since I’d travelled from Eastern to Southern Ontario for Kobo’s End of Summer Party, I wanted to thank Kobo’s senior people personally for choosing me for their soon-to-launched-but-presently-top-secret promotion.
One of the other writers asked me why I was doing this. “What would you say to him, ‘Nice device’?” He thought I was going to rave about the Kobo Aura H2O, which would be understandable, but…
“I just wanted to say thank you for choosing me,” I said, which sounds kind of ridiculous when I couldn’t even explain that I had a classified deal. It’s like saying, “Look! I’m engaged to the invisible man! Isn’t he gorgeous?” and everyone’s like, “Where? Where?”
Robyn came by, and I mentioned that I’d like to meet some people.
“Oh, Taka?” she said, and introduced me to the CEO, Takahito Aiki. I thanked him, and he handled it very gracefully.
The President had been carted off for photos post-speech, but once the spotlight died down, I noticed Rob Sawyer, the science fiction author/networker extraordinaire, who was the life of the party at World Fantasy 2000. I said, “Rob, you know everyone. Can you introduce me to the President?”
“Sure. We’ll just have to find him.”
Michael Tamblyn cheerfully greeted Rob, who introduced me. I shook the President’s hand and told him I appreciated his speech about Kobo as a David vs. Goliath, and that it was amazing that they’d chosen to highlight a relatively unknown writer like me, a David surrounded by New York Times-bestselling Goliaths.
“I like the way you network,” said my new friend Diane, afterward. “Some people are very single-minded about it, but you have a nice, natural way of approaching people.”
“Aw, thanks,” I said. It’s only recently that I’ve realized that most people aren’t offended and may, in fact, be charmed when you approach them nicely. Mark Lefebvre recently posted on KWL that I’ve “never been shy about getting to know other industry folks…in a professional and friendly manner.” Speaking of networking, here’s your daily clue. Have you noticed my latest Facebook friend? If you don’t know her already, check her out using the code HOPEGONE. If you still have no clue, sign up for my newsletter and all will be revealed.
I looked across the pool. “Now I’d like to talk to the girl with the purple hair.”
Erika Szabo was on her phone, but I introduced myself anyway. She said, “I’m a YouTuber.” She did tech blogging before, but now she makes her living vlogging on old school video games, maybe looking at moving into dance (she does pole, yoga, and Parkour), with a backup in retail. She was a self-taught journalist for six years, but she wanted to do something different, y’know? She likes to try different things.
I can’t tell you how different that is from my family, which is more like: 1. Work on something safe until the day you drop dead. 2. Invest wisely. 3. Never spend money. So of course, I thought this was very cool. Then we took off to the CNE, which is only $6 after 5 p.m.!
Everything was enormous at the CNE.
My son Max loves the Williamstown Fair. This was a fair, too, but everything was bigger. Even the food signs looked a story tall, not just displaying but screaming EAT THIS! PLAY THIS! Come here! Do it now!
I was glad I hadn’t brought Max, because he would have tried to play every game, eat every food, and generally make himself dizzy and sick (but satisfied).
One big thing was zip lining. I’ve done it in Costa Rica. I didn’t think it was that big a deal. It’s very safe, and you get to look at the wildlife. To be completely honest, my favourite part was when one of the zip line guys looked me up and down and said to Matt, “Is that your wife? Uh huh.” So when people were lip lining over the CNE, and Erika said, “That must cost $50,” I wasn’t too impressed.
But when we checked over the cost, and it was $20.
What a way to cap off the night. and my whole experience, really, plunging into the unknown, fingers crossed for the best.
“We’re closing. You have nine minutes to buy your ticket,” they said.
“Okay. You in?” I asked Erika.
“I’m totally in.”
So we plunked down our money and lined up for about 45 minutes, but it went fast because we made a new friend, Laura, an ariel circus performer who was having her vacation at the CNE. Finishing off the night with zip lining. As one does.
I didn’t think too much about the actual zip lining until we started climbing the tower. Costa Rica wasn’t this high—just above the tree line—and the trees make it look less high. As it was, I was climbing and climbing flights of stairs, and my heart rate accelerated. I was trying not to think about that short story about a woman who’s climbing the stairs to a tower in the darkness, counting every step (600, 601…), but when she goes down, there are more steps than going up (602, 603…). Plus my feet hurt in my flats.
When I got to the top, a cheery Aussie/Kiwi guy checked my equipment, and I said, “How high are we?”
“About fourteen stories. Are you scared?” He thought it was a joke. He’d commented on how another girl was shaking.
“It seems like not that steep an incline,” I said, trying to look at it logically. It wasn’t like a 90 degree drop to the bottom. Maybe 30 degree drop to give you a ride, but you still ended up at another tower.
“It’s not.” It was probably baby steps for him.
The problem was, no trees, nothing to break your fall. Just lights. We were higher than the Ferris wheels. And stepping off into darkness.
I said, “I assume it’s safe. How many accidents have you had here?”
“Great. Could you just check my equipment?”
“That’s what I’m here for.” He said everything was fine. And I had realized myself, at nearly the last minute, that my shoes might fall off. For some reason, no one had thought to tape my flats on. I was not inclined to walk down 14 flights to get taped up and then climb up another 14 flights again, but thank goodness, someone had tape. They taped my flats so tight, they hurt, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t want to have to walk back to my apartment barefoot, plus bean someone on the head with my shoe.
The women ahead of us were so scared, they argued over how to count to three. They climbed down the stairs and sat on them instead of jumping off. And apparantly one of them spit or drooled as she took off. But they did it, screaming.
Erika and I agreed to just go.
I have to admit, when I walked down four stairs that ended in darkness, I thought it was madness, sailing into the darkness in a ball gown. Was this how Cinderella ended up in the 21st century?
But I’d paid my twenty bucks. And if I’ve paid my money, I want my money’s worth.
“Ready?” Erika said.
We lifted our feet and—wheee!
For me, since the equipment felt secure, I felt serene, just flying along with the lights of the rides and the tents below me.
I felt fine, but I did hold on to the tower when I got off. The person had to ask me to take a step closer so that she could unhook me.
But I was glad I did it.
Every day is a risk.
Like Erika says, DO IT. Go for it. Take the leap.