Douglas Coupland

Continuing with my previous posting about doing more in Ottawa, tonight I went to see Douglas Coupland at the National Arts Centre. He was reading Chapter 4 (of 5) from his new book Player One: What is to Become of Us?

He is reading the entire book, which is in fact the 2010 Massey Lecture Series. It will be presented during the week of November 9th on CBC Radio’s Ideas show.

This is the first time that I have had the original author of a story read it to me (well, to an auditorium). I’ve been to see a few other authors, and it’s usually a Q&A.

After the hour-long reading, there was a Q&A, presented by Ideas host Paul Kennedy.

Author Douglas Coupland
Author Douglas Coupland

Interestingly, Douglas echoed what William Gibson had said the day before about airports being a stateless location – Player One is set in an airport hotel bar. Douglas mentioned that he and William often do things together, such as trips across the border to the US.

After the Q&A, there was a long line for the book signing in the lobby. I was setting up my camera (ISO, exposure, etc) to take a picture when Douglas looked right at me and I hit the trigger as a reflex. It was a nice shot without too many distractions. But for just a microsecond, I saw a look on his face that I read as annoyance at being photographed. It has bothered me a lot. I had just broken the rule – try to connect with the subject and ask permission. So many others were also taking pictures, which spurred me into wanting to take a picture, but I could have handled actually taking portrait better. It is a valuable lesson.

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