travelling the interior

Just back from a working road trip through the interior with Roy Miki, Ashok Mathur and Ashok’s dad, Parshottam Mathur. Roy and I were the very first readers ever at CiCACs– Centre for Innovation in Culture and the Arts in Canada, which is Ashok’s major project for the Canada Research Chair he currently holds at Thompson Rivers University (aka TRU, which for some reason I always want to call TRL…) Small but very engaged audience. Long, interesting conversation aboutt he politics of form. (Much slagging of the novel– poor novel, I still love you, in spite of your fascist tendencies.) I had a chat afterwards with a bright student called Natasha, who was just finishing her BA, and trying to decide whether to pursue graduate work or to go into Education and teach elementary school for awhile. Her heart was so clearly with the work with young people that the answer seemed obvious. But it is a struggle, and one I remember as quite agonizing. But now it seems to clear to me. Feed the heart or you will lose it and become a robot like Jason Christie… 😉

Drove through the old TB Sanitorium (which looked strangely like private school grounds and made me think of Hailsham in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let me Go), then dropped Roy at the teeny tiny Kamloops Airport.

Next morning, breakfast at Hello Toast! and a visit to the Kamloops Art Gallery to view the extraordinary work of a young ceramist (Ashok insists it is “ceramist” and not “ceramicist”– still sounds strange to me– I think I need to poll a few practitioners and see what they prefer) called Brendan Tang. Photos included here.

Then on to the exciting metropolitan centre of Kelowna. Lovely dinner and some nice Okanagan wine with hosts Nancy Holmes and Anne Fleming. Afterwards, Ashok and I read at UBC-O. Nancy gave a very thoughtful intro, borrowing from my “Political Animals” essay in the Broadview Anthology of Expository Prose. Ashok and I decided, at the last minute, to experiment with reading form, and went up together, reading snippets from our work in a sort of pass-the-hot-potato kind of way. It was fun to do. We’ve known each other so long, and been engaged in parallel communities for so long, that somehow in between the banter a sort of history got articulated.

Next morning Ashok, Parshottam and I paid a visit to the ornate, faux-Italianate vinyard Mission Hill, where we had a little breakfast tasting, and bought a few bottles. Here’s a pic from that. Happy Birthday, Ashoky.

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