December 24, 2009
Need a last minute Christmas gift? Consider Lived Experience Volume
9: A Literary Journal from the Mountains of BC, just released by Van
Andruss of Lillooet. As in the previous eight volumes, Lived
Experience Volume 9 (LE9) contains the work of several local writers,
Lorne Dufour from McLeese Lake, Gloria Atamanenko from 150 Mile
House, Sage Birchwater from Williams Lake, Sally Bland from Likely,
and John Schreiber from Victoria, describing his explorations of the Chilcotin.
Along with the writers of the Cariboo Chilcotin are regular
contributors Doug Dobyns, Bob Sarti, Robert Champ, Tony Eberts, Tim
McNulty, Edye Hanen, Jonathan Kerslake, Alan Twigg and of course, Van
Andruss. New writers introduced in LE9 are Joram Piatigorsky, Tony
Ross, Christopher and Judith Plant, and Mariko Kage.
Van says he is struck by the diversity of style and theme from his
growing stable of writers. "It's one of the joys of my role to make a
seeming order of the mix," he says, admitting that the Lived
Experience series is emphatically biased in the direction of
environmental consciousness and the values of place.
"I favour stories and poems that come from a particular spot on our
verdant globe, especially from the province of BC where I find my community."
He says thematically the LE9 returns to the 1960s in North America.
"It's an historic period of great importance," he says. "The mould of
convention was broken, the paradigm cracked, and spilled out the
children, who scattered in all directions. Taken together the
directions were utopian. The goal was to find oneself in harmony with
others and the natural world."
He admits that much of what happened in the Sixties was silly. "What
else could you expect of children? But the intention was humane and
is worthy of respect. More than respect, the search for a new world
is imperative and never to be abandoned."
Van says he and local writer, Lorne Dufour, were both of the Yippie
generation, but neither were Yippies. "We dropped out of the city
experience and took to the hills," he says. "Lorne became a Bush
Gypsy and I became a Bush Hippie."
In the pages of LE9 Van gives a short review of Dufour's book Jacob's
Prayer, released last summer. He also includes Lorne's latest work,
Mario's Buick, a literary piece reflecting Lorne's horse logging days
near Salmon Arm.
Also featured in LE9 is Gloria Atamanenko's Tobacco Pudding, a
delightful collection of essays about her girlhood experiences
growing up in Northern Alberta in an immigrant family where English
was a second language.
Sally Bland has four poems in this year's volume: Katy at Six,
Wildflower Cabin, Midnight Canoe and The Cliche Cafe.
John Schreiber, the author of Stranger Wycott's Place, has two essays
in LE9. The Casual Elegance of Terns reflects on the life of
Tsilhqot'in elder, Donald Ekks, and John's exploration of the Turner
Lake chain of lakes. In New Burials at Big Eagle Lake, John offers
reflections of later finding the graves of Donald and Emily Ekks
along the shore of Choelquoit Lake where he encounters a family of
grizzlies in this remote corner of the Chilcotin.
In Rainbow Gathering '72, authored by yours truly, I continue my
musings of travels about North America in the early 1970s, that began
with Coathanger Man in LE 8. Inspired by the Woodstock Rock Festival
of 1969, the Rainbow Gathering near Granby Colorado in 1972, was the
first of its kind, bringing people together from all over the world
to establish a temporary intentional community to meditate on world
peace. Since then there has been a Rainbow Gathering every year at
various locations throughout the United States and in countries
around the world. For me this experience was transformational, and
has remained an important touchstone influencing my life.
Using pseudonyms for himself and his family, Van Andruss offers a
couple of memoirs of life in a close-knit community. At the end of
his introduction he apologizes for upping the price of Lived
Experience Volume 9 from $12 to $15, explaining that the price of
printing has increased by half over the past year.
Once again Van's publishing efforts are a labour of love, giving
voice to a number of BC writers and a unique reading opportunity for
those who like locally written stuff.
All nine volumes of Lived Experience can be found at the Open Book
and the Station House Gallery. LE9 will be available at these
locations on Dec. 22, just in time for the last-minute shopper.