Obscure directions, disappearing bees, and King Tut

I conducted my research for my Master of Arts Socio/Cultural Anthropology degree on the Peigan Nation (now known as Piikani) in southern Alberta. I was researching how people created their cultural identity through their participation in spiritual and cultural activities. So, I went to a lot of ceremonies, and interviewed elders and participants in their homes on the First Nation. When I asked for directions to the ceremonies or the homes, inevitable the directions would be something like this: 'do you know where the tall skinny tree is where the fat tree used to be?' My reply: ‘ah, noooo!’ Eventually I figured it out – even with my self-confessed navigational deficit disorder. But it makes sense that in a rural setting the landmarks would be trees or coulees.

So imagine my surprise, when I set up a meeting with members of the London chapter of Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the directions I got from writer Candy Gourlay were like this: 'the best spot to meet is just beyond the shop, to the left of the bar near the tall plate glass windows. Or just look for the table to just beyond the shop (there's a small shop to the left of the cafe, the bar is directly behind the cafe so we will be to the left of that).'

C’est what!? You lost me at plate glass window! Thank goodness for text messaging! I’m looking forward to meeting the SCBWIers in London and talking about writing for children.

I’ll also be doing some research for the third in the MegaByte Mystery series Dead Bee in the Sarcophagus. Egyptologists, ancient honey, and King Tut’s tomb lead Cyd and Jane on a quest to discover why the bees are disappearing. I’ll be spending some time researching the Egyptology exhibit in the British Museum.

Then I'm headed to Bologna for the SCBWI Symposium and Showcase at the Bologna Children's Book Fair! Tres exciting! I wonder if there are any tall skinny trees there ...

Comments

Candy Gourlay said…
ha ha ha! you have to know the royal festival hall to realize what i mean. it's a fluid place to meet! look forward to meeting you there! if you wore a large golden crown, it will be easier to recognize you!
Angie said…
That sounds like so much fun. Hope you can find your way around. :) (Directions around here are things like, "Just down from the house that used to look like a barn... Over near the Shuler's old place... Across the street from the brown church... etc.)
Dawn said…
Jan - I'm envious of your upcoming journeys :-)

While on a plane or train, you may want to read James Rollins' new book Alter of Eden, which has some interesting stuff about the lagging bee population. He's a vet and a master at research. Might take away some stuff of use - and he's a great writer.

Safe travels!
Jan Markley said…
Thanks Dawn, I'll check it out.

Candy, I'll be carrying my buffalo brief case, a big bottle of maple syrup, will be wearing a shirt with a maple leaf and singing O Canada in both official languages!