Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Farming, Pam's Legs and Elysium

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It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind. Our book tour, that is. We’d always included it in our plans for Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started. To go around Canada and tell people about the stories we’ve learned from interviewing so many interesting individuals. It was especially important since this book covers the country’s geography. We’ve included everyone from Cape Breton Island’s Annette Verschuren (now CEO of Home Depot Canada) to Vancouver MP Ujjal Dosanjh. And the tour has paid off. In spades. We’ve seen so much of Canada in all its diversity, met so many intriguing (and often hilarious) people, travelled by every form of transport (by foot, train, plane and, yes, automobile) and got to promote our book on television, on the radio, and in print.

Ten days ago, Alexander was helping out on his friend Tyler Harlton’s farm in Pense, Saskatchewan. Faced with grain elevators, seeders, and tractors, the Toronto-bred city slicker was about as useful as a flamingo herding cattle. He did hang around long enough to learn that the small community of two-hundred inhabitants got its name from an engineer of the CPR tracks who was accompanying the royal entourage during the maiden trip along Canada’s new railway. When the train stopped for a regal twelve-course lunch in the middle of the prairies, someone asked a young female consort to name the spot. She pointed to one of the engineers beside her and said, “You. What’s your name? We’ll name it after you.” He looked at her with mild surprise. “Pense,” he said. “My name’s Pense.”

Five days ago, we were in the middle of a twenty-four-hour train ride through the Rockies. We talked well into the night with a man named Robert Errity (born in Ireland, currently residing in Red Deer) and his wife. The man is a poet. And a pretty funny one at that. He penned a classic called Pam’s Legs. It contains several snappy rhymes and many memorable lines, most notably:

“Those legs that carry you from place to place
So perfect in their form and in their grace
They start out on the ground and then extend
To meet your beauteous curved nether end”

Two days ago, we were in beautiful Vancouver. Her sidewalks were pristine. Her trees were in bloom, providing plenteous shade. Her coffee shops were aromatic. Her mountains were daunting. Her bridges cinematic. Her sails unfurled. Yes, we felt. This was paradise.

- Fredericton, New Brunswick

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Alexander Herman, Paul Matthews and Andrew Feindel

Alexander Herman, Paul Matthews and Andrew Feindel are the authors of Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started (Dundurn Press, 2008). Kickstart profiles over 30 prominent Canadians who explain how they started their careers.

Go to Alexander Herman, Paul Matthews and Andrew Feindel ’s Author Page