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Thursday, 24 October 2013

The First Leg of a 23 Stop Library Tour!

Eileen Schuh shares how the first day of her 23 stop library tour went!

The first of my 23-stop library tour sponsored by the Northern Lights Library System was today, where I met with students and teachers in Myrnam, a small community about 20 minutes south of where I live.

The children surprised me with their enthusiasm and questions. For a moment, when one group of kids was unexpectedly switched out for another, younger set, I was at a loss as to where to go with my presentation but the kids kept me busy with questions and I filled in the void with a short reading from THE TRAZ.

Then they conned me into giving them some free copies of THE TRAZ! Ha ha! It was all worth it, though, when one young lass gave me a hug in thanks. I’m hoping they like the books so much they buy the sequels.
A phobia is an irrational fear and I’ve been fighting a phobia of driving since I first agreed to do this tour.  In my younger years, I loved driving, day, night, prairies, mountains. Loved to see new things, experience new things.
My fear is irrational and I know not from whence it came. With Alberta’s great highways that are always busy with oil industry traffic despite the isolated setting and with modern mobile communications and warm, dry weather, I’m not sure what awful thing/s I imagine might happen.
So how am I dealing this unknown dread that, if left unattended, causes insomnia as well as emotional and physical distress? I’m making sure I have what I need to be safe with me in the phone along with its vehicle charger, snacks, warm footwear and outer wear, my mobile internet, and maps. People know where I am going and when I’m expected to arrive. I’ve researched the route and destination and google tells me how much time I need.

Phobia’s though are irrational so the fact I am well equipped, does little to lessen the stress. So I talk a lot to myself, refocus my thoughts on things positive, breath deeply, do yoga. Plan strenuous exercising between tours. Eat well, take vitamins, and recite poems and childhood prayers. I take along my Kindle and headphones and get my robot lady to read me stories when the scenery is boring or hidden in the dark.

It is more the thought of driving than the actual process of driving that has my heart-thumping and my mouth dry. Once underway, I become keenly aware that the highway is not rife with dangers just waiting to befall me. I see harvested fields, and bales of hay and migrating geese and pretty farm houses. Cars approach, pass, come up from behind. Turn, stop, slow. People smile in passing and sometimes wave.

Perhaps what is most effectively going to get me over this is just getting out there and doing it. When I was in psychiatric nursing it was called implosion therapy—if one was scared of balloons, one would be placed in a room with 1,000 balloons. So, this is my implosion therapy—get out there and drive. Drive north and south and east and west to places I know and places I don’t. Drive in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and after dark. Just get out there and drive. And when I discover nothing dire happens on the way and that each time I arrive, I get a warm welcome, meet bright-eyed children, and maybe even receive a hug.

With one successful trip now under my belt, I actually do feel and little more sturdy. By the end of this week I’ll have five trips under my belt and I betcha anything, my stress level will have dropped to a more manageable level.


Good luck Eileen we are all behind you!


  1. Great hearing about your tour, Eileen, and I'm sure you'll be okay with the driving, although you'll probably be on your knees with exhaustion before you've finished. Anyway, keep on going and get out there and wow them.

  2. Wow that's fantastic, Eileen! You go girl!! xx