We approached the folks at Thursdays Writing Collective to see if their members would like to get involved with our Book Award and provide us with responses to the 2015 shortlisted books. They said “yes” and we are excited to share their writing you. Today, Eleri Glass and Karenza Wall provide responses to Mister Got To Go, Where are you? and The Outer Harbour.
Thursdays Writing Collective is comprised of 150 activists, academics, slam poets, novelists and storytellers who explore issues of self-determination through creative writing. The Collective, founded in 2008, holds free, drop-in writing sessions in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside at Carnegie Community Centre, has published seven anthologies and performs at festivals, literary events and readings. You can connect with them at www.thursdayswritingcollective.ca
Eleri Glass on Lois Simmie’s Mister Got To Go, Where are you? with illustrations by Cynthia Nugent (Red Deer Press)
Mister Got to Go, Where are you? written by Lois Simmie and illustrated by Cynthia Nugent is the follow up to her 2001 book Mister Got to Go and Arnie, and 1996’s No Cats Allowed. This third book in the series brings back her winning main cat character and her illustrator Cynthia Nugent whose paintings burst with detail. This time Mister Got to Go faces the trials and tribulations of and an Odyssean-like adventure through the streets of Vancouver. Oh Mister Got to Go, with your luxury life at the Sylvia Hotel, why would you go wandering? But many good tales start with a journey, and Mister Got to Go heads out on a summer day as cats are want to do. The language hits the right notes. It is neither too childish nor too adult. Every picture invites poring over from the first, a map of Mister Got to Go’s travels, to the last. As a Vancouverite, I relished details of neighbourhoods in the West End, the Downtown Eastside, and Chinatown. And what endearing characters? In each location Mister Got to Go meets locals who help him on his way with a meal or a little shelter. Naturally, our hero, Mister Got to Go, faces the challenges that the wanderer must. Vancouver rain? Check! A one-eared alley cat? Absolutely. Yes, I was a little worried about Mister Got to Go but all of the high jinx are tempered with familiar details of Vancouver architecture, people, and always, the smell of the sea. I can’t recommend this lovely reader enough. Hey cat lovers, kid lovers, Vancouver lovers, put it on your list!
Eleri Glass published The Red Shoes (Simply Read Press) in 2007. She is a champion of the arts and social justice. She is often to be found reading heavy tomes and wrestling with large questions. She counter-balances her seriousness with frequent naps with cats, yoga, biking, activism, and the cultivation of great coffee.
karenza wall on Wade Compton’s The Outer Harbour (Arsenal Pulp Press)
wade compton’s gonzo, sometimes historically correct, sometimes fictitious, cyber pun journalistic writing requires concentration and engagement. it is a lush tapestry embroidered with a richness of literary devices. each page is the work of a master craftsman.
compton forces you to think, examine and research while reading his books. he plays with bits of reality, adapting, adopting and altering. this man loves language and its components – and it shows.
the work is made up of interconnected stories that use real people and events to study the social, economic and political circumstances of eastside portside vancouver while simultaneously examining the nature of reality and stories. in the pieces that bookend the collection protagonists find purpose, people, new hopes and promises in their journeys.
compton’s dense prose is peppered with humor. I laughed frequently, immersed in the cool, fresh breeze of compton’s absurdities.
is my planning to read this again a recommendation? hell, yes.
Karenza Wall is an Anglo-Indian, born and raised in India. She arrived in Vancouver as a young woman in 1968, and apart from a few brief forays into Alberta and Quebec, stayed in the city. She has hitchhiked across Canada twice and once drove from Vancouver to Montreal in 2 1/2 days on a bet. Her time is spent working with textiles, writing and practicing keyboard for the Women Rock band at Carnegie Community Centre. You can connect with Karenza at: chinndi-nation.net and karenzaland.wordpress.com