First Stop on the Elizabeth Hay Blog Tour!
Several months ago I recommended a book I loved, Elizabeth Hay’s Giller winning Late Nights on Air (now available in paperback).
Yesterday Elizabeth began a tour up North, the setting of Late Nights on Air, retracing her steps in Yellowknife and the Yukon. I’m so pleased to tell you, she is also embarking on a blog tour: she'll write about her travels as they take place, guest posting on several blogs with her updates.
This is the first stop on the tour; other participants include The Book Mine Set, The Library Ladder, and Pickle Me This (I will round up all of the posts at the end).
So without further ado, over to Elizabeth…
In Ottawa a deep, cool rain soaks the flower garden, but Great Slave Lake is still frozen fast, I’m told. Longjohns are in order.
I’ve made a list and feel rather like Huck Finn, not that I’m taking a fry pan. Besides longjohns, I will pack a warm hat, low boots, a neck warmer, scarf, gloves. Also sunglasses and sunscreen. My old friend John Stephenson, who has lived in or near Yellowknife since 1973, tells me that the thaw hasn’t really started, though snow has begun to disappear. He underscored the need for sunscreen: you get a double dose of rays standing on the frozen lake, direct and reflected.
This will be my first trip north since 1988 when I was pregnant with my son Ben. Yesterday that same red-headed boy came home from McGill for the summer. Another sign of the passage of time: John, who spearheaded this visit and did huge amounts of organizational work, won’t be in Yellowknife when I arrive; he is having a hip replacement operation in Victoria on April 30. That we won’t see each other is a great disappointment. He and I, along with two others, did the six-week canoe trip on the Thelon River in 1978 that forms the basis for the fictional canoe trip in Late Nights on Air.
The first stop, however, will be Whitehorse in the Yukon (not to be confused with Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.) We arrive Tuesday evening and the itinerary set up by the Yukon Writers’ Festival is a northophile’s dream. The prospect of seeing Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Mayo, Carmacks and Dawson City has rekindled the wanderlust I had in my twenties. To see the Yukon for the first time in my life, to revisit Yellowknife for the first time in twenty years makes me feel not just lucky but rejuvenated. How can it be anything less than fascinating?