Thursday, July 31, 2008

They like me! They really like me!

I've just discovered that English Language Arts teachers in British Columbia have named me as one of their favourite authors. The teachers were surveyed by ArtStarts in Schools during the fall of 2007 on a number of issues related to teaching CanLit. The survey results include a page listing favourite authors. Far be it from me to drop names, but others on the list include Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, Timothy Findley, and fellow northern writer Richard Van Camp.

I’m guessing the favourable opinion is based on my short story “The Prospector’s Trail,” which is included in Imprints 11, a textbook from Nelson Education Ltd. I knew I liked British Columbia - beautiful scenery AND impeccable literary taste!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quick! Someone pass the AfterBite!

AfterBite being an anti-itch lotion . . . and if you're not dependent on this fine product, as many northerners are, count yourself lucky.

On Monday I returned from a week in the bush, fishing with Pépé and friends in the East Arm of Great Slave Lake. I am a reluctant camper, having given it up at age 14, much to the consternation of my fellow Girl Guides. (Is a Guide who doesn't camp really a Guide?) For the past couple of years the air charters to and from Quiet Cove have worked in such a way that I've only spent a manageable two or three days communing with the blackflies and mosquitoes. This year, however, it was a week or nothing.

We've had some rain recently, which creates the optimum environment for mosquitoes. There are many of them in the East Arm, they are the size of pterodactyls, and they are ravenous: I'm having nightmares about one little walk I took into the bush . . . a swarm of Hitchcockian portions formed . . . I was sure I'd be exsanguinated before I made it back to shore. The entire party had to scoot into the boat and push off, just to get clear.

I'm thinking of playing connect-the-dot with my bites, just to see what would come up, but that would take a long, long time.

Things were relatively quiet on the fishing front. Seems my glory days of catching twenty-something pounders have passed. So I read a book and a half in the boat, took some photos of the fabulous scenery, and swatted at mosquitoes with one of those nifty electrified-tennis-racquet-bug-killer-thingies that doesn't off nearly enough of the little blighters, but gives great satisfaction when you manage to connect.