Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wandering the streets of Saskatoon

When you're strolling though an unfamiliar city, you really don't want to spend every moment in retail situations soyou really appreciate the statues and other art. The Chief holds something in his hand resembling an onion but I didn't see an explanation for it anywhere. I love the lone cowboy riding through and those newspaper boxes would make me want to read the news.

Saskatchewan Gang put on a signing

First I looked through all my suitcases and bags, then I searched the car. Finally I had to accept that I lost my handouts for my Ten Top Tips session at the Saskatchewan Putting the Pieces Together conference. I copied the document from the computer onto to a memory stick and Bob rushed off to copy more.

My sessions room was the Jolly Friar which seemed kind of cool but I when I saw an overhead instead of a data projector, my mouth went dry.

Still no need to panic, it had just landed in another room. A couple of minutes later an image was up and the teachers drifted in. Standing room only--I heaved a sigh of relief. Sitting all day on a Sunday preparing a handout and power point presentation is worth it when there's a crowd and it's appreciative.

Then, finished early enough, we headed to McNally Robinson bookstore which looks like a great place. My heart wasn't broken when my books weren't there--I'd googled in advance and didn't even look or bug the clerks. I was still high from the Ten Top Tips session. So I just relaxed and enjoyed listening to my Saskatchewan friends read: Linda Aksomitus, Beverley Brenna,
Myra Guynur, Alison Lohans, Arthur Slade, Ed Willet, Mary Harelkin Bishop and Judith Silverthorne. I spelled all those names by memory which isn't bad even if it's not correct. I'll edit later.

I sat by a huge Happy Writer cake and the smell overwhelmed me. So hard to resist swirly white icing on chocolate.
Treated myself to a copy of almost everyone's books. Tomorrow I have a day off. No searching for papers, books, gathering miscellaneous and worrying about getting to a school on time because Princess Leaha, our GPS, is rather an optimist.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Schools, great writers and movie deals

Catching tigers and growling for me--the younger set at Brevort Park School were great. The older kids were enthusiastic and good participators too. On to Lakeview, where we talked about the Beauty books and Last Chance. The grade 6 & 7s seemed to enjoy themselves. I don't know about grade eight. They were quiet, too quiet.

Then I finally met the eight Saskatchewan authors I've been emailing for a while. They presented their new works at the Saskatchewan Reading Conference in an intimate roundtable style with some extremely keen educators. I want to read all of the author's books and I wish that Ontario students could experience Saskatchewan through these amazing reads. The authors were: Arthur Slade, Beverley Brenna,Mary Harelkin Bishop, Muyna Guymer, Alison Lohans, Lidna Aksomitus, Edward Willete and Judith Silverthorne.

In between sessions, I found out a movie producer wanted to see the book I finished just last week: The Nine Minute Disaster Zone. I love the idea of the possibility but know people look and rarely buy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monsignor H Smith, Confederation Park and James Alexander School

When you visit two schools a day for five days or so, the names and faces can blur. I especially enjoyed visiting Monsignor H. Smith, in Calgary, because clearly some of the students were fans already. They had read Last Chance for Paris on their own--perhaps because of a library display. Still having someone rush up to tell you they love your books just before a presentation on the same story, starts the day on a high note. Confederation and James Alexander had great enthusiastic students. Hopefully now those students will read at least three of my 24 or so books. Obviously we can't expect them to read the Norwegian or Swedish ones.

Another drive

When planning a tour, it's hard to fit holiday time in snatches between school visits. So that's how we accidentally had a seven hour drive after a school visit in Calgary. Luckily there were no snow storms although at one point it looked like shards of diamonds were hitting the headlights so there were indeed flurries. Still we saw buffalo and lots of deer. At one point we drove over some deer bodies and then later a low-to-the ground sportscar passed with a furry body attached to its bottom.

The log cabin represents a Calgary Stampede store where we bought souvenirs. Memories of a stampede we've never attended.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The holiday part of the tour

Today we enjoyed spectacular sunshine in the Rockies...and cross country skiing in Canmore, 11 kilometres of it. The trails at the Nordic Centre are groomed more carefully than the roads in to Calgary from my brief experience here. There was a snow dump on Saturday and on Monday some of the streets are still snowy trails. Conversely, the Banff trail resembles a highway-- there is plenty of room for all levels and types of skiiers to play side by side.

We're not fit or skilled but slip sliding along allows plenty of opportunity to get different views of the Three Sisters Mountains.

Tomorrow we begin the work part--but it's also a lot of fun--and that is to meet potential readers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Voyage is the whole experience

This all started because I wanted to watch the first ever Saskatchewan CANSCAIP mass book launch but I couldn't get a grant for any readings before April 1-- so Regina Public Library kindly agreed to host a couple of readings on April Fool's day only I would being SK for days between the conference and their visit. So I emailed and called schools and somehow I got a Calgary reading. If there's anything I like better than the prairies it's the mountains. Only I love both and the combination in one day is breathtaking.

So today we flew to Saskatoon--see cloud shot. Then we drove to Calgary. I love the prairie in between. The brush under a certain light is now purple, the wheat can be frosted or bright gold depending on the temperature and sunlight. The buildings look so lonely.

As we drove closer to Calgary we hit the worst winter road conditions ever. The wind blew huge drifts of snow across the highway so it felt like I was steering through a field--yup my turn to drive. Plus the drifts would stop with the advent of a farm house or strand of trees--the street would be bare pavement. Where the trees ended you could see ghosts of white streak across in some places piling pretty high.