life rattle show no. 1241

Presented on THURSDAY, january 31, 2013


Hosted by laurie kallis


"South of Assiniboia"
"How to Skin a Quillhog"
"The Driver-Side Window"

by Vaia Barkas

tonight's Show

Tonight's show is the second part of the Vaia Barkas travel-story fest—road trips for those of us unable to take a midwinter vacation that we began last week on Life Rattle Program 1240

As I mentioned last week, we have not been in touch with Vaia since she left the sunny climes of Southern Ontario for Bozeman, Montana, so our author bio for Vaia is rather dry and dated:

Vaia Barkas was born in 1974 in Toronto, the elder of two daughters to Greek immigrant parents. She grew up in East York. Barkas went to the University of Toronto and graduated in palaeontology in May of 1999.

This bio shows so little about Vaia that I was driven to do some internet research to learn more about her and to find a way to make contact. I found such incredibly diverse information that I have to include it here to give you all a bigger picture of the amazing person Vaia Barkas is:

First, there are the dinosaurs: The Hilda mega-bonebed, Canada’s largest bonebed, discovered near the town of Hilda, Alberta (which we will hear about in one of Vaia’s stories). Wikipedia tells us that the Hilda mega-bonebed was first described in the scientific literature by David Eberth, Donald Brinkman and Vaia Barkas in 2010, after more than ten years of research. The name Vaia Barkas pops up all over the place when you start reading about dinosaur finds in southern Alberta.

Then there are the literary finds: Vaia Barkas’ story “Blind Spot” won the Malahat Review 2007 Creative Non-Fiction Prize, and her story, “The Bone,” was published in the Antingonish Review. Not to mention her article “A Nose for Nuisance: Safeguard Your Trailhound” that appeared in Outside Bozeman: Southwest Montana’s Outdoor Resource.

Did I mention the marathon running?

There are no “big events” in Barkas’ narratives, but she manages to make not much happening rivetting and entertaining as she captures the open-ended feeling of travelling Vaia Barkas style. Landscape often plays the lead in Barkas’ stories. Her wealth of sensual detail places the listener close to the characters and the landscape and lets us watch the scene for ourselves. The characters she encounters on her travels are so sharply drawn, you feel them breathe.

In tonight’s first and second stories, Vaia takes across the prairies, along with her sister, Lina, and Andrea, a best friend from high school.

Tonight's final story - is not so much a travel story - but it is set in a camp near Hilda, Alberta. Remember those dinosaurs I mentioned?