Author! Author!

October 19, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

This town is a lucky town. Nancy Frater and her late business partner, Ellen Clare, opened an independent bookstore, BookLore, here in Orangeville in 1989. They opened in the “Credit Creek Village,” a strip of shops at 121 First Street. It is their original location, and there the store has stayed all these years.

In 2013, BookLore was awarded the Best Independent Book Store in Canada. Nancy Frater is open about the secret of her business success: taking care of others in the community, especially new authors and established authors with new books. 

There is ever the probability of a launch at the store, along with refreshments and a glass of wine, the author on deck, and we, the patrons, there to appreciate the fresh publication.

An ardent supporter of Theatre Orangeville, Nancy Frater and BookLore sponsor a series of Authors’ Nights every year, staged at Theatre Orangeville, the ticket resource for which goes entirely to support Theatre Orangeville’s New Play Development Program. 

This season’s authors include Canadian adventurer Adam Schoalts (Oct. 8), who followed the falcon’s flight to the Canadian Arctic in his canoe and the hazards he faced on the way. Just imagine.

R. H. Thompson, a Canadian stage and film actor, has his new book “By the Ghost Light.” Poet and author Anne Michaels (both Nov. 8) will talk about her book, “Held,” sharing the stage with moderator Bernadette Hardaker. 

Canadian news anchor Peter Mansbridge (Dec. 10) will have in hand his new book, “How Canada Works.”

There are refreshments later to meet this pretty amazing line-up of celebrity authors. Yes, and yet, young authors, not well-known and first-time authors, are hosted and launched by the generosity and enthusiasm of Nancy Frater and her BookLore.

Books are a state of mind, telling us about the temperature of the human condition; books begin the process of creating more art to put on a stage, to make a movie, to instruct us when we’re young, when we’re old. They are the simplest route to escape, more than other art forms, because we carry them about with us. We read them when it suits us, when we have time.

We can live someone else’s life for a time, could be in another time, another plane, where the author has dreamt of us coming and so, builds other worlds and other ideas.

The proof of how important the tactile aspect of a book still matters, is that they are still more popular than digital books because we have to turn the pages. The paper has its own smell and feel, and we like that.

Parents should make sure their little children learn to love books well before the corruption of technology harms them, damaging their eyes and – can be – their sense of what is real and what is fiction on a screen.

Down the way, at 151 Broadway, is Readers’ Choice, a second-hand book store, a fascinating journey of shelves and shelves of books. Never mind the tremendous number of books, they are strictly organized, so it is relatively straightforward to seek and find specifics. But to wander and look is lovely, to see books you’ve forgotten, books from your childhood, books you read when snow days kept you home from school, books you have meant to read: collectable books, first editions and antiques with leather and embossed covers.

The boards underfoot may creek a little, and the shop has the comfortable feel of history, all that one wishes for where the pages might go back decades.

Orangeville is lucky. It is a walking outdoor art gallery where an artist feels at home every season, and the sunny summer days bring crowds to its festivals, especially the incredible Blues and Jazz Festival at the beginning of June.

It is interesting and deeply reassuring to know that youngsters are coming into arts from their early years in a town that promises there will be reasons for younger and older children to go to the theatre, to learn to paint and learn to sing. They can become involved in theatre arts; they can learn to dance.

Whether or not a youngster makes a living in the arts, and it is a very broad field of enterprise and skills, being involved in learning about the arts and stretching out their own talents to perform or produce is formative in the best possible way. Learning to draw increases observational abilities. The world takes on increased interest when a person is inclined to draw that face or a cat walking across a lawn, a horse grazing in a field, a building. To learn to sing teaches the body to breathe properly, improves posture, and mental acuity, as does dance.

Theatre arts increase confidence and understanding of how a team works together. The theatre is the one place where all the arts are needed. Acting teaches the skill of getting into another character – the joy of spreading the imagination to be someone else, scrambling with who knows what kind of problem, what kind of solution.

Whether that young person takes on art as employment or not, the imagination is primed to appreciate the artistic work of others and be inclined to fill the seats in the theatre.

The lessons begin with holding a book in our hands.

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