Out and About with Author Hat On

Day Three: Canadian Children’s Book Week 2013

This is the third instalment about my week long tour for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2013. I toured in northern Saskatchewan. More on the whole idea/background of Book Week here. Catch up on instalment one, or maybe instalment two.

Tuesday May 7, 2013
It was up early this morning to check out of the Saskatoon Travellodge and head east for two hours and forty minutes (about 214km) to Tisdale, Saskatchewan. Lots of loud peppy tunes and some great scenery made for a great trip. At one point a large silver hued coyote crossed the road in front of me. At least I think it was a coyote. It was a complete wow moment for me.

A cool cloud bank 
Snow geese specks! (Trust me)
The Millennium Cross
A town!
Distant hills
A sudden dip in the road and a railroad trestle to span it!
The road and endless line of telephone poles
So much beautiful sky

A lot of photos, no? I did say it was over two hours in the car.

At the Tisdale Community Library I presented to kids in grade six about researching and writing techniques. They were a great audience. They asked some great questions, like if everything I’ve written has been turned into a book. Nope. I told tell I have manuscripts that have been rejected, and some I’m still working on. Afterwards one girl suggested a title for one of the manuscripts I talked about. I liked her suggestion because it was a title I’d thought of at one point but had put aside…must rethink that! And another girl came up to ask me some advice about her own writing. So wonderful to be able to help kids who are exploring their interests! Thanks to the librarians for setting everything up, and for the bagged lunch to eat en route to Nipawin. I’m usually such a klutz but I managed not to spill too many tomato guts on my shirt as I ate it.

Nipawin grain elevator

So back in the car, more loud tunes, and an hour’s drive north to Nipawin. The Nipawin Public Library is attached to a school. The public library had a wonderful art display. I presented in a gym here so the microphone was really appreciated. I find it much easier to read “Let’s Go!” with some drama if I’m not shouting to be heard. There was a reporter in the audience and an article about my visit is here. Nancy, the librarian, and I talked afterwards about crafts/knitting and she taught me a new term: UFOs, as in unfinished objects. Love it!

Some flooding in the roadside fields

After that it was off to Prince Albert so another nearly two hours (146 km) in the car. I was very tired once I arrived. But I scoped out a grocery store for their deli counter and munchies (and it had a Starbucks inside for a nice cold iced coffee). Phew!

A blur of trees

Random Memorable Moments

  • Snow geese! Oh how I wish I could’ve gotten close to the flock.
  • Saw a lot of hawks perched along the roadsides throughout the day.
  • The huge millennium cross appearing out of nowhere
  • WIND! Sometimes requiring arm strength to keep the car straight.
  • “We Serve” gas stations–whoa, remember those Ontario? No? Didn’t think so.
  • Count for Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” on the Satellite Radio: 4
© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Day Two: Canadian Children’s Book Week 2013

This is the second instalment about my week long tour for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2013. I toured in northern Saskatchewan. More on Book Week here. Catch up on instalment one here.

Monday May 6, 2013
Boy was I nervous. Not about the presentations themselves but about finding where I needed to be. On time. Sure enough I missed one of the turns, but I pulled a U-ey (they seem okay with U turns in SK, in contrast to here where you feel like a criminal if you sneak one in…not that I ever do, heh heh). But my minor detour meant I saw a real live magpie at the side of the road. That was cool!

Dirt roads! I love dirt roads. (Okay so it’s gravel really.)

I was a total tourist as I was driving. What a fascinating landscape–so different from what I live in. I took a lot of pictures without even looking, just balancing the camera on my shoulder or the dash. I never new how the photo turned out till later.

There was still snow in the hedgerows.

Made it to my first school: South Corman Park School. They’d put a lovely silk rose, water bottle, and “Welcome Lizann” sign on the table at the front of the school library. They’d also put a sign above the water fountain announcing my coming visit so the kids could see it. Talk about making me feel welcome. And what a beautiful library space! What a great audience to start my tour! I spoke to the whole school, about 100 kids up to grade 6. They gave me a lovely gift of a Saskatchewan magnet and school pen. Thank you Joan Falk and all the kids at South Corman Park!

My visit poster & fountain

(As a footnote for the week, I wish I’d take some photos of/with kids at some or all of my visits, but I didn’t. It’s tricky putting photos of kids on the internet because you need parental permission. Still, although you won’t see the kids here in these posts, they were there! And if you were there and want to send me some photos I can use, I’d love that.)

My first tour stop.

Then it was off to find Allan, Saskatchewan. More great scenery of course!

Flat fields!
I loved seeing red barns! I was able to get close to this one.

And then something really different appeared on the horizon. A pink mountain!! I snapped a quick photo or two but had to keep going so I wouldn’t be late.

A pink mountain!
Potash mine at Allan, Saskatchewan

I got to Allan Composite School and Arlene Pedersen had a lovely mini sandwich and salad buffet for

Sign b/c the front door was being painted.

me in the home economics classroom. She told me that I had indeed seen a potash mine and that the pink mountain was made from the tailings from the mine.

What a great group of kids here, too. This school went all the way up to and through high school. I talked to the kids from Kindergarten to grade 5. I was telling them that I get a lot of inspiration from the amazing plants and animals I see around me, and mentioned that they have remarkable things around them too. I loved that they just about died laughing at me when I confessed I’d never before that day seen an actual magpie or a potash mine. Thank you Allan kids for a conclusion to a great day!

Before I left Allan I wanted to get a shot of the great grain elevators. Here’s the first photo.

And then guess what happened–I heard a train! I was so excited (I love trains). I got another shot with a train in it.

On the trek back to Saskatoon I had more time to take photos.

The other side of the pink mountain.
I’d often see ducks in these roadside ditches.

I loved the faint trail across the field.

Random Memorable Moments

  • Not being able to snap a photo of the colorful sorted display of tractors, combines and parts as I drove by Combine World.
  • Ducks everywhere! I kept seeing them in the temporary roadside ditch pools and sloughs, but I wasn’t able to get photos of any actual ducks.
  • Feeling rather dwarfed on the road in my compact rental car because SUVs and pickup trucks are popular Saskatchewan vehicles.
  • Hearing Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” about 4 times on the satellite radio. I pretty much flipped between two stations. But I like that song so it was all good.

Random Saskatoon street. Bet it’s lovely when the trees leaf.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Getting There: Canadian Children’s Book Week 2013

This is the first installment about my week long tour for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2013. I toured in northern Saskatchewan. 

I arrived in Saskatoon!

Sunday May 5, 2013

Planes at Pearson International

I don’t love flying, but with an early morning Timmies coffee in hand I was super excited to be sitting at Pearson International waiting to leave for a part of Canada I’d never been to before. Why were all these other people travelling? Of course I eavesdropped on the conversations around me. Some ladies were travelling because of a conference. Other passengers were part of a boys and a girls’s hockey team: Team Sask. I gather they did fairly well at the tournament they were in.

The flight went well. Once in Saskatoon I wheeled my carry-on to the carousel to wait with the rest of the passengers for my week’s worth of clothes. And we all waited. And waited.

Dogs in a pickup at a Saskatoon mall

Finally the belt started moving, and hockey bag after hockey bag came out. Then some luggage. Then hockey bag after hockey bag after hockey bag… and then the carousel stopped. We waited and shuffled around. The belt started up again to audible relief. More luggage came off: not mine, not mine, not mine…and then hockey bag after hockey bag after hockey bag…and then the belt stopped. An announcement said to come to the WestJet desk if you hadn’t received your luggage. Groan.

So along with about 20 others I headed for said desk. Turns out because of all those hockey bags they had to balance the plane. Those of us unlucky travellers without our baggage were told it had been left behind in Toronto. Oh, it would be put on a later flight. Trying not to think the worst, I filled out the necessary paperwork and picked up the rental car. At least my itinerary for the tour, and all my presentation materials were with me. But I sure hoped I didn’t have to survive for a week in the clothes I was wearing.

I found the hotel, yay (I’m a small town and country driver so urban traffic is a challenge), then found a mall in case I needed to buy a change of clothes. It was really hot out, and I was feeling somewhat frustrated sitting in the mall parking lot. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw some dogs in a pickup truck. That sight cheered me up. And my clothes did arrive…at midnight (which to me was 2:00am)!! But at least I got them so it was all good.

Random Memorable Moments

  • The solo pigeon perched on the airplane gate at the Toronto airport surveying his domain.
  • The lady in the security line ahead of me laughing, because thanks to having her shoes scanned by themselves, she discovered that her wooden heels had metal rods in them.
  • My first taste of borscht! I really liked it. But then again, I brew and drink my own beet kvass.
  • The constant banging of the door to the hotel parking lot which, unfortunately, happened to be across from my room. Who knew people went out to the parking lot so often.

Yummy borscht!

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

My Eden Mills Experience

Last weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Eden Mills for the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. Ever been? If not you should. It was a gorgeous warm sunny day, which was perfect for listening to readings and talks from writers of all different genres. And what a village! Charming and friendly.

My day started out with a rather long drive, but if you’ve hung around this blog for awhile (just check out my Transportation Tales thread) you know I’m used to driving. Anyway, the only thing of note other than the detour right before Eden Mills, which freaked me out because I’m never sure I’ll get back on my planned route and I obsess about being late, was a roadside sign just as I crested a hill. Said homemade sign was impossible not to notice:


That got my brain spinning. There’s a sad story there, isn’t there?

Anyway again, I strolled the street and browsed the display tables of literary events, places, publishers, and artists. I ate excellent ginger ice cream! And look at the stream and one of the concrete road bridges that runs through the village.

Creek? Stream? Idyllic however you label it.
What a bridge. They don’t make them like this anymore.

I listened to as many of the readings in the children’s area as I could. My turn came following Ted Staunton. Um, if you’ve never heard him, all you need to know is that he performs a chicken song which had us all bok-bokking and head bobbing along to his guitar and stellar singing voice. How do you say: hard act to follow???

The audience was terrific. I love that the plane flew overhead just as I got to the bushplane page in Let’s Go!. Couldn’t have ordered that better. And sharing Counting on Fall under the branches of huge shade tree just seemed appropriate. Of course The Bookshelf had all the festival authors’ books displayed for sale. It was an honor to sign several books for people.

“Counting on Fall” on display. Yay!

Special thanks to Deb Loughead, organizer of the children’s area programming, for inviting me. Loved talking with you over dinner! Janet Wilson you are so warm and welcoming and make amazing pies and artwork. Jill Bryant, it was a pleasure to sit at the signing table beside you and to get to know you. Other amazing creative people I was lucky to connect with: Teresa Toten, Helaine Becker, Susan Hughes and Lisa Dalrymple. In short: What an event!

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.