“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau
“Would you be okay with speaking at any of our branches?”
“Yes, of course. Happy to go anywhere,” I replied to the email from the Vancouver Public Library. They were inviting me to speak about my novel. I was thrilled.
Those words came back as second thoughts as I tried to find a parking spot on the edge of the downtown east side in Vancouver−known as one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada.
Throngs of people lined the streets leading to the Carnegie Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Some were seniors, others were addicts, still others looked like they were living rough−eyes hollow and distant, faces scrapped and scratched, lips cracked and dangling cigarette butts. The smell of marijuana, alcohol and rot was the kind that fixed itself to your clothes, your skin. It’s almost impossible to see Vancouver’s famed beauty in these streets. And yet this is Vancouver too.