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On Tour

April 18, 2009

Prince George/Terrace
Posted by Elise Partridge

Elise Partridge

Friday April 17

This morning Margaret and I went off to Prince George Secondary, to meet several English classes and a writing class all gathered in the school library.  Margaret was able to show a Power Point presentation full of photographs of Clayoquot figures, boats, and sites – the portly storekeeper; steamers; First Nations girls snacking on herring roe; Tofino’s inaugural hotel (modest); and a sequence she calls “Nuns Having Fun,” including a quartet in habits looking somewhat at a loss while paddling a canoe. Several students approached us after our presentations to describe projects they were working on.
We’ve all agreed that one of the high points of the tour is talking to students who are interested in writing.

Bryan also photographed a cheque ceremony with representatives from one of the sponsors, Integris Credit Union.  I’m very glad to know that many of the sponsors for the tour are donating money to the libraries of the schools we are visiting.  We’re also grateful to the librarians at every place on our route (such as Valerie Kilbey at PGSS) who have shown us such hospitality, and who obviously play such an important role in encouraging students to keep reading. 

On the way back to Terrace, Bryan kept the van humming as always with his excellent sense of humor and with a playlist that ranged from Joni Mitchell to Jamie Cullum to the Magnetic Fields (the last full of inventive rhymes Bryan hoped we would enjoy.  We did!).  Once again Bryan knew where to let us out to forage or roam – first, at a café in Baker Lake with memorable organic fare, and second at Seeley Provincial Park, where photographs were taken, including of a science experiment underwritten by Bryan and courageously performed by Robin.  Apparently if you immerse fizzy mints in a bottle of pop and toss the bottle into the air, it will ascend like a rocket.  Robin inquired if any of the authors present would care to ingest a mint chased by pop – we wondered if we could shoot ourselves to Pluto, or at least be lofted to a better view of the nearest mountain – but, mindful of our evening engagement, we declined.

We docked back in our Terrace Coast Hotel to discover that Margaret had made the front page of the local paper, with a feature article about this Terrace-born-and-raised author inside.  The reading that night at the Terrace Public Library was attended by, among others, many of Margaret’s childhood friends.  Once again we were warmly welcomed by a librarian, Melanie Wilke, with fruit, juice, and homemade cookies.  Katarina gave a marvelously dramatic reading of her children’s book The King Has Goat Ears; I hope she’ll consider making a recording.  Robin read a different section of her novel A Thousand Shades of Blue, and afterward a parent and children’s author, Brenda Silsbe (whom Margaret has known since Grade Three), said that it seemed to “say it all” about parent-teenager conflict. 

Once again today, comparing notes, we concluded that just meeting eager readers of all stripes from this region—students, teachers, librarians and other writers—was very inspiring.

Filed under: Northern Leg 2009 | 2 Comments | Permalink


Teddy & Patrick
Apr 19, 2009 at 01:20 AM

Thank you for this wonderful report, Elise.

We are enjoying all the stories of your Northern Tour.  It sounds like you are touching hearts and minds everywhere you go.  It’s terrific that these young people get to share their projects with you.

Librarian are the best!

Monica Miller
Apr 19, 2009 at 09:08 PM

Sounds like Bryan kept you quite entertained! Thanks for the hilarious report. I’m glad he introduced you to the Magnetic Fields! I really like them too.

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