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On Tour

April 16, 2013

Looking For a Library
Posted by Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh

Three of us in a car trying to find the Fort St. John Public Library.  We have driven from Dawson Creek, a town an hour away.  It’s 4 pm—the afternoon light still bright this far north—and we’re running late.  The library expects us in fifteen minutes and though we’re fairly confident of where we are, we keep looking at the clock on the dash.  Fifteen minutes. 
Caroline Adderson sits in the back seat: she wears a neatly tailored red wool coat; I notice the way her eyes shine when she looks out the window at the brown landscape mottled with snow because she’s one of my literary heroes.  It’s the first time I’ve met her as well as our driver, Bryan, who looks like an I-Can-Do-Anything-Guy, and he probably can.  We left South Peace Secondary School just under an hour ago where I gave a talk and reading to Grade 10 and 11 students. 
“I think I’ll turn here,” Bryan says at 99th Street.  He says it as if he’s not sure, looking up and down the street before he turns. 
He steers the wheel to the right.  The car bumps over gravel potholes.  “Mmm, I think maybe it’s a hundredth.” Bryan has the gift of hindsight. He’s driven other writers on other tours in other years in Fort Nelson before.  “I think I turned on 100th Street last time.”
We drive not knowing exactly where we’re going.  Not exactly. 
We have a destination in mind.  But the precise road to take is not entirely clear. 
No map.  Just maybe someone’s sense of having been here before. 
And all the while, a clock marks time, reminding us that we don’t have forever. 
Reminds me of my writing process.

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