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good memories

Hey, there! I've been off email for a few days now, and I missed you all. Lots of news to report, and the good part is that none of it is really important, so you don't have to pay attention.

The readers' choice awards in BC are over. Red Cedar, they are called. (Most of the readers' choice awards across Canadian schools are named after vegetation of some kind.) The big gala took place on Sunday in Surrey. Picture a thousand 9-12 year olds in a confined space, screaming hysterically over Canadian children's authors. Boggles the imagination, huh? We kid authors are not used to adulation, so we take our rock-star moments and savour them. I bonded with the kids, and hung out with the other authors, and all in all had a real good time. The award could have gone to my book, From Charlie's Point Of View, but it went to a very good book instead. I didn't mind, but there were some disappointed authors whose very good books didn't win either. One in particular broke down, and cried on my shoulder on the way back to the hotel. They hate my book, Dicky, he said. What'll I do -- they hate my book.

Then I spent three days travelling Vancouver by bus and Sky Train, visiting schools and libraries and auditoria. Interesting system of public transit you Vancouverites have out there. You take my money efficiently, print me a piece of cardboard, and then figure you've done your job. I went from one end of town to the other, holding out my Sky Train ticket, hoping for validation or at least recognition, but no one cared. No one took it, stamped it, ripped it up. I went on a ferry with this ticket. I went downtown, crosstown, back uptown. Transit people nodded politely to me, and went back to what they were doing. Are Vancouverites more honest than other folks?

One of my favorite memories was my presentation to a large (somewhere between 600-800) group. Supposed to have been in a proper theater, but there was a last-minute glitch and we ended up in a giant gymansium. Inadequate seating, bad sound, late arrivals. I was worried at first, but after a few minutes it was clear that this was going to turn out to be one of those impromptu parties where people show up unexpectedly and cram into the apartment and there isn't enough room and no one knows each other ... and everyone has the time of their lives. Great chemistry all afternoon. I nearly collapsed on stage with the giggles a couple of times. (That's not me in the picture, by the way -- no empty floorspace at my gig.)

Then off to the Sunshine Coast and a memorable day indeed -- partly because the sun actually shone. Partly. If you are ever in the Blackfish Pub in a town whose name I now forget, have one for me.

Enough memories. I am home now, laughing at my children. Sam and Thea are working at the same gas station, but with slightly different attitudes. Sam outlined his summer plan yesterday.

My goal, he said, is to get robbed...


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