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BC Book Prizes On Tour

April 24, 2013

Not waiting for the phone

Jackson Davies at Caledonia Secondary in Terrace
In the car after this talk, I asked Jackson what question stood out for him from his presentation. He said it went something like this:

Q: “You played a character for 17 years. Did it change over time?”
A: “At first I was just ‘Policeman #2’ on the script. I didn’t even have any lines. But every actor knows that your character needs a name. Policeman #2 looks bad on a resume. So we came up with Constable John Constable. John being my real name…I started as a stereotypical police officer in a uniform. Gradually the part changed over the years, I wasn’t so much in a uniform and I became more a part of the community.”

Television and film have changed a lot as an industry since The Beachcombers first aired. Jackson says now: “it’s about telling stories. I’m a big fan of people creating their own content. Everyone’s their own network. It’s not about waiting for the phone to ring. You create things. And you own them. It’s good for the people who create.”

In case you are wondering, Jackson is paying me to write this stuff. I am trying to negotiate a hefty advance on the next post. Actually, that is not true. It’s just kind of fun to be writing behind his back while he’s speaking to 300 students at a secondary school. My morning visit got rescheduled as it seems to be vaccination week in elementary schools, and I’m getting upstaged by a travelling nurse with needles. Sorry, kids! But the organizers and local school staff are very quick about finding another class nearby where the kids aren’t rolling up their sleeves, squeezing their eyes shut and taking big, deep breaths. Or trying to. So today instead of reading in Smithers I will read a little later in Houston, on the way to Prince George.

Posted by Victoria Miles | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 24, 2013

Writers: start early!

 class= Victoria Miles with a budding writer at Kildala Elementary in Kitimat">This was one of those moments that makes the whole tour for me. I had a few minutes at the end of the visit to a class at Kildala Elementary in Kitimat to sit down with this student and read her story about a dinosaur who has lost his glasses. She both wrote and illustrated it and has already shared it with the school’s Kindergarteners. It feels good to be someone she wanted to share her work with. That’s sensitive stuff for a writer!

Jackson says he was a bad speller all through school. He dodged stories and essays when he could, but he did write jokes when he was a kid. He remembers one of his first ones, something about an NADP (Northern Alberta Dairy Pool) member who was also the MP from Milk River. I think I am not getting it down quite right here. Doesn’t matter, that early start led him to a career with plenty of comedy in it.

Kids: start early!

Posted by Victoria Miles | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 23, 2013

Topics of conversation

I meant to post this last night, but we got to talking to readers at the Kitimat Public Library, and it made for a late evening. So here is a belated post for yesterday.

At some point on the drive from Terrace to Kitimat, I started to notice how many interesting turns our conversation was taking. Hence this list, a random and select assortment of topics we covered on the road:

CBC Radio
Hawkin’s cheezies
Fries or salad
Colon cancer
Adrian Dix
Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to excellence
Gene Simmons
Root Beer
The work ethic of children
Keanu Reeves
“The Sisters Brothers”
Italians in the family
Skunk cabbage
Forrest Whittaker is a really nice guy
Hoarding vs. “just keeping things”

I know, talk about covering a lot of ground. And this wasn’t the half of it.

Posted by Victoria Miles | Filed under: | 2 Comments | Permalink

April 21, 2013

Terrace time

April 21, 2013

“Who would have thought that a show about fighting over logs would last nineteen years?”
—Roy Luckow quoted in Bruno and the Beach

Feeling nostalgic tonight. Today was a travel day, which equals plenty of time for reading.  I’ve set Nancy Mitford’s classic Love in a Cold Climate aside temporarily, after surreptiously observing Jackson, several rows ahead of me on the plane, reading Mimi. I need to catch up.

So now I’m on page 81 of Bruno and the Beach (the Relic chapter!). It’s like pouring over a prized family scrapbook. The writing is funny and revealing, as the best behind-the-scenes books tend to be.

I was five and oblivious to the first season of The Beachcombers when it aired in 1971. But by the time I was eight or nine, our Sunday nights revolved around this show about “fighting over logs” followed by, if memory serves, The Irish Rovers.

Knowing, even before picking up a copy, that many of The Beachcombers have passed on makes for a bittersweet read. But then I remember The Rovers, and their parting words that sent me calmly off to bed every Sunday night of my young life: “May you be halfway to heaven before the Devil knows your dead!” And surely that’s a comforting thought for the beloved characters of “Nick”, “Molly”, and yes, even “Relic” and the real and talented actors who played them.

Posted by Victoria Miles | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 20, 2013

Our Last Day

Our last day on tour was amazing.  I visited about eighty students at North Peace Secondary.  I spoke in the library, where I had a chance to wander the stacks before beginning my presentation.  I saw A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins, 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley, a picture book on poetics with verse by e.e. cummings.  If the selection of reading material and the Grade Twelve art I saw on the walls are any indication, I’d say Fort St. John is a pretty cool place.  (Not to mention The Lido Theatre.)

To the owner of The Lido who took us on a tour, the kids at Chetwynd who told me what you do around here, the quiet kids and the girl at the front, the rowdy kids, the student from San Antonio, Texas, the teacher who spoke to me about Dressing Up for the Carnival, the boy with the bag of food who broke off pieces of mint Aero to share with his friends, the teacher who cried, the teacher who chose The Road for his class, the teacher who gave me the lanyard and the note, thank you all so much for inviting me into your communities.  A big thank you to Bryan Pike for being awesome and Caroline Adderson for being awesome, too. I’ll never forget you.

Enjoy some pictures below, taken over the last few days:


My side project: collecting motel signs.




This place was actually open for business.





This old Mercury outboard is in one of my favourite colours.


Hungry enough to kill.


Bologna, okay.  But where’s my Spam?


Waiting for our plane to Fort Nelson.  It’s early in the a.m. and Bryan and Caroline aren’t actually hungover—they just look that way.


Posted by Yasuko Thanh | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2013

Day Four

A final visit to Alwin Holland Elementary School in Fort St. John!  Thank you to our intrepid driver/producer/handler/ entertainer Bryan Pike.  Thank you Yasuko Thanh for your wonderful company!  Thank you BC Book Prizes and all the sponsors! And a special thanks to all the schools and libraries of the Peace River District for hosting us!

Landing in Fort Nelson

Posted by Caroline Adderson | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2013

Day Three

Rustic accommodations on the BC Book Prize Tour.  Here’s Yasuko heading to the car.  (Kidding!)

FN joke
In the car for a beautiful drive to Hudson’s Hope.

driving to Hudson's hope

Stunning country!

in the Peace

On to Chetwynd.  I’ve never seen a woodpile this big…


Then on to Dawson Creek.

dawson creek grain vancouver

Here was are at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway.

Mile zero DC

Posted by Caroline Adderson | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2013

Day Two from the Peace River Leg

The airports in Northern BC have a very cool feature: free libraries!  Grab a book for your flight, leave a book.  Here’s Yasuko posing in front of the Dawson Creek Airport library.

Yasuko and airport

The flight up to Fort Nelson did not disappoint.

Caroline Adderson at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson

Breakfast at the 3-G

3G cafe

The session at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson.

Caroline Adderson at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson

And a little sightseeing before we head home!

trapper cabin

Posted by Caroline Adderson | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2013

Things I Received

Things I received yesterday:
A blue lanyard from Chetwynd Secondary School with my name handwritten on the envelope they gave it to me in.
A big hug at the Dawson Creek Municipal library reading, from Marilyn who worked at Oakalla Prison and Riverview Psychiatric Hospital, where two of my stories are set.
The knowledge that Hudson’s Hope Elementary-Secondary has a school rodeo, and Canada’s best cowboy lives in town.
The street parting for me when Caroline and I wanted to cross.  Four lanes on a brown street lined with black snow.  Eight cars stopping.  Drivers’ smiles.

Best pictures of the day:

Hudson’s Hope

Near Chetwynd

Dawson Creek

Tile Exterior, Bing’s Furniture, Dawson Creek

Posted by Yasuko Thanh | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2013

Peace Country Tour Wraps Up

The Peace Country leg of our tour wraps up today, and what a fantastic time we have had! Yasuko, Caroline, and I have had a great time visiting schools and libraries in this region:

Caroline Adderson at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson
(Caroline at G.W. Carlson Elementary in Fort Nelson)

Yasuko with some students at Hudson's Hope Elementary-Secondary
(Yasuko with a few Hudson’s Hope Elementary-Secondary students)

Caroline signs books at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library
(Caroline signing books at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library)

Yasuko at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library
(Yasuko during her reading at the Dawson Creek Municipal Library)

Next week our Northern BC leg begins. I look forward to heading up to Terrace with Jackson Davies and Victoria Miles on Sunday!

Posted by Bryan Pike | Filed under: Peace Country Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

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