We acknowledge that we live and work on unceded Indigenous territories and we thank the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations for their hospitality.
They are all my babies, but each of my books had a different publisher. It’s not that I’m promiscuous, it’s just that my subjects and genres vary. Some of my offspring are poetry, some are non-fiction prose, or a mix; some have gone off on tour, some have stuck closer to home. After Writing the West Coast, a book I mostly love, I wanted to be finished with editing anthologies, yet my co-editor Anita Sinner talked me into embarking on Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast. We both ended up extremely happy with the writers gracing our two collections; colour prints and Susan Musgrave appear in both. While there were thirty-three of us in Writing, there were forty-three authors to be edited in Living, including us editors. Most were artists: painters, carvers, dancers, singers, photographers, poets, film makers. One essay was about roofing in Haida Gwaii in the rain, with fourteen mouse traps snapping through the night and a dodgy leaning outhouse. My favourite chapter was by an artist who came from working-class England where he was a mechanic in an industrial garage. Arriving in Canada, he experienced the temperate rainforests on the west coast of Vancouver Island. In Sooke, this artist apprenticed in fine wood furniture making. He has put a lot of his energy into defending the Walbran Valley from logging, so that his beautifully crafted pieces are deeply influenced by and expressive of the forest.
Living Artfully was my third book production in three years. I live in Clayoquot Sound where the book was launched with the help of Mermaid Tales Bookshop and Tofino Botanical Gardens. Local contributors read their chapters and others travelled from elsewhere to participate. But I didn’t take it on the road. Contributors held their own launches around the island.
The book is about far-west coast artistic creating. It was crucial to me to opine that both rural and urban spaces can be inspiring and to point out that it isn’t easy or sometimes even affordable to live surrounded by natural beauty. I didn’t want this to be only a book for the privileged, and its retail price turned up at over thirty dollars. But then, that’s what libraries are for.
- Christine Lowther
Posted 24 March 2016