Claire Cameron's first novel, The Line Painter, won The Northern Lit Award from the Ontario Library Service. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, The Millions and The Rumpus. What else has she been up to? Tell us, Claire. 

Look at carefully at the three people in this photo. My message, should you need to keep this brief, is that only 33.3% of those pictured are Page Turners. To understand why, you must read on. 

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These three people are lucky enough to live near a Bookmark, specifically Bookmark no. 6: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. Project Bookmark is nationally registered charity that puts stories and poems in the exact, physical locations where literary scenes are set. We get to experience an excerpt at the intersection of College and Manning.

his group passes the Bookmark on an important voyage that takes place most days of the year. In fact, in any given year they pass this bookmark on approximately 194 days. This passing occurs en route and on the return. This routine voyage has been in place for five years, a span of time for which all three participants have been present, whether that be in utero or in exposed flesh. In all, the group has encountered this bookmark in over 1,940 instances, give or take.

Each of them, on each passing, take a different thing from the Bookmark.

For example:

  • One person has learned to read during the time he has brushed by the Bookmark. He started with 'I' and 'the' and soon came upon 'bugs' and 'cat'. One day, not long ago, he pointed and shouted, "Canada!" I await the day when 'tumult' stands out.
  • Another person looks for his letters, which is modern-day school-speak for identifying the letters in your name, but this is more of a struggle that it sounds. What to do when your name holds that most elusive of letters, 'x'? We continue to scour the Bookmark.
  • A third person finds her eyes falling on these words: Up Grace, along Henderson, up Manning to Harbord I whimpered; my spirit shape finally in familiar clothes and, with abandon, flinging its arms to the stars. The other day she decided she loved the wild shape of the sentence in such a familiar setting, but more often she has the same recurring thought, 'Anne Michaels is a mother. She wrote a beautiful book. If she can do it, dammit so can I.'

Given all this Bookmark love, it may surprise you that -- so far -- only 33% of this group has donated to become a Page Turner for Project Bookmark. While the other freeloaders -- er, future investors -- are still considering their options (upending piggy banks and considering the many merits of Star Wars Lego™), could you kindly step in?

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If you donate today, you can think of this as a happy story: While I may not be a match for Michaels, I did manage to write a damn book! It is called The Bear, a story set in Algonquin Park and narrated by a young girl who must fend for herself and her little brother after a bear attack. It will be published by Random House in 2014. 

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Another good thing, if you donate today, is that you might win a Paddler's Prize Pack, for the moment after reading The Bear when you decide to take to the woods again.

It includes these things:

  • Map - Algonquin Park Canoe Routes
  • Book - Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance by Stephen Herrero
  • Tattoo – Moose Crossing non-permanent
  • Sticker – Portage sticker for you car bumper 

Please join the 33.3% and become a Page Turner with me. I'll keep working on the other 66.3%.

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