Transportation tales

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,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Me, the Museum and Medieval Times

Before school was out, one late June afternoon I wrote this as my Facebook status:

Am in a school bus with 39 grade 4/5s in Toronto rush hour traffic and it’s 30 some degrees and two plus hours home. Oh did I mention most of the boys bought swords at Medieval Times? My writing friends will understand I’m just callin it research. 🙂

I wasn’t kidding. Getting home from the trip was no picnic. It took just over three hours–an hour longer than it should have. Here’s a shot of the traffic through the front of the bus:

 But it was all worth it because

  • I got to spend time with my youngest daughter and her friends 
  • I love museums, so seeing a couple exhibits at the ROM was fascinating and made me realize I need to bring my kids back for a more in-depth visit
  • I was quite serious about putting the trip down as research. I listened and observed and just absorbed the experience of being in grade four 
  • and Medieval Times was just a lot of fun and made the kids feel like they really were at a king’s tournament. Plus it was air conditioned.

As if that wouldn’t make the day rewarding enough, I had an unexpected bonus.

At the ROM we took part in a special program. We donned cotton gloves so we could carefully handle actual objects from medieval times. ROM staff had grouped objects by theme at each table. My daughter’s table was full so I couldn’t sit with her, but there was a space at a table with a few boys. Turns out this table had a piece of chain mail, a knight’s spur, a rounded ceramic vessel that would have held Greek fire, and an odd tiny square piece of metal with intricate characters on it. Very cool.

I picked up the tiny square and looked at it closely– it looked like it had Arabic lettering on it. The facilitator confirmed that yes, that’s exactly what it was. I was holding an early Arabic coin. Wow! Here is a photo of the square coin. It was wrapped in a protective case.

The coin in its protective case.

This was my unexpected bonus because I’d just received the finished copy of an educational title I worked on for Crabtree Publishing called Arts and Culture in the Early Islamic World. I’d done lots of research but never actually handled something from that era or that part of the world. This makes book number twelve for me.

I was a bit flippant describing the journey on Facebook, but the whole day’s experience is one I count as excellent. More importantly, I think my daughter would count it that way too.

Bonus photos:

The hall at Medieval Times

The stadium at Medieval Times 
Two of the knights–boo! (We were to cheer for the Green Knight)

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

Sky Circle

I was driving home yesterday when I noticed a peculiar contrail in the sky. Check this out:

It seemed weird to me that it was circular because they’re usually straight. At least around here they are.

Then I came across this article thanks to Twitter about an air show happening further north and that planes performing in it would be flying over:

Ah-hah, mystery likely solved.

What did we ever do before the internet??

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

Bad, Boring Blogger?

I am a bad, boring blogger lately, aren’t I? I mean, if I don’t post it’s just bad and boring by default. Better to post and be bad and boring while trying. Maybe?

My problem seems to be I constantly put other things before my writing or my blog. It’s a sickness and I have to figure out how to cure myself of it. It’s the *constantly* that’s a problem, because there are legitimate times other things have to come first. But surely I could learn to put myself first sometimes, couldn’t I? Here’s me saying I’ll try.

So to make this post not entirely whiney, yesterday I went to the local library and it’s not everyday this greets you in your library parking lot:

Yes, the Canadian military is conducting exercises in the area and they were camped out at the community centre. But they were more than happy to answer peoples’ questions. My kids and many other kids were able to peek inside the vehicles and find out more about what it’s like to be in the military. Here’s a brief article on the background for them being here:

So let that reinforce the lesson about libraries again–you never know what you’ll learn at the library.

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