Kaslo author Holley Rubinsky’s new short story collection South of Elfrida

Hitting the road with Kootenay author

In my youth I was a wanna-be hippie, too young to have lived the era as an adult, too pragmatic to truly embrace the lifestyle.

In my youth I was a wanna-be hippie, too young to have lived the era as an adult, too pragmatic to truly embrace the lifestyle. But I tried. The year I came to Nelson, I had a notion I might work at the Jam Factory restaurant for the summer and then head off in a Volkswagen van for a winter in Mexico — and from there, the world. In theory, I might find myself along the way. That was 32 years ago, and I’m still here.

Travel for its own sake is something that has always made me wistful, in particular the free-spirit ideology of the geographically footloose — not so easy with a family to raise and limited funds. So throughout most of my adult life, I’ve traveled through books, and to some extent I’ve found myself along the way.

Two author readings in April offer all the elements of the human journey: humour and sadness, triumph and loss, the wrong turn, the unexpected destination, the joy of the open road, and regret about the roads not taken.

There’s nothing footloose about the themes and messages in Kaslo author Holley Rubinsky’s new short story collection South of Elfrida, although they do take the reader to such places as the Dragoon Mountains, Tombstone, Sacramento, up to the Canadian border, and yes, to Bisbee Arizona, South of Elfrida.

Holley’s characters are all searching for something, but don’t be humming that Simon and Garfunkel song about looking for America; these disparate (and sometimes desperate) people are looking for themselves, and some sort of mooring from which to move forward. The stories are thoughtful, compelling, serious and funny, and you can get a preview at Holley’s book launch at the library on Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Holley’s reading is sponsored through the National Public Reading Program, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. This great program sees writers compensated for their time and travel, a pragmatic ideology that embraces the notion of food in the fridge and a roof above one’s writerly head as something to strive for. As both a writer and a librarian I’m extremely grateful for this program, which will also sponsor Salmon Arm author Deanna Kawatsi’s reading at the library on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Kawatsi’s memoir Burning Man, Slaying Dragon reveals the differences and commonalities between eras as she travels by bus with her daughter Natalia to the iconic Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

Over the course of the journey Deanna describes her travels to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India at a time when, young and headstrong and somewhat oblivious to danger, she was looking for meaning — which eventually took her home. The present-day journey with her young, headstrong daughter creates a perfect opportunity for the braiding of stories, and a celebration of what it is to be young woman looking for herself.

Being on the other side of 50 and looking back at the young woman who didn’t go to Mexico in a Volkswagen van — but rather stayed put to find herself — comes with the benefit of a long lens. I’ve always maintained that life will keep whacking you in the face with something until you figure out the message. Good to have that to count on, at least.

Life experience has a way of creeping up on you whether your travels cover miles or pages. The library is full of books on travel and self-discovery, in formats that tuck nicely into your backpack or download to your e-reader. And our two author readings in April might well offer insight into the kinds of journeys you’d like to avoid, and the ones you’d love to embrace.


Just Posted

Caribou panel hears from critical public

About 250 people turned out Wednesday evening to give feedback on the provincial government’s caribou recovery plans.

Seven West Kootenay projects receive over $1.7 million in provincial funding

The RDCK, Civic Theatre and Touchstones Museum are among the recipients

LETTER: Backyard hens an eggcellent idea

From readers Abby Wilson and Andrew Woodward

Stephanie Fischer awarded the Medal of Good Citizenship

Fischer was recognized for her volunteer work in Nelson

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Three climbers presumed dead after avalanche in Banff National Park

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe, according to officials

Two recommendations made in probe of B.C. train derailment that killed three

The CP Rail train went off the tracks near the B.C.-Alberta border in February

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Short-circuit likely caused Notre Dame fire: police official

Investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral but can’t yet search charred interior

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Elizabeth May’s B.C. wedding will be a ‘low carbon affair’ on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Most Read