We are very proud to be celebrating Creekstone Press’s 20th anniversary this year. We began by publishing my book, Canyon Creek: A Script – a book about the eviction of a Witsuwit’en family from its homesite on the Telkwa Highroad in the 1920s. We’ve published about one book a year since then and we have two more in the works. Last year, Neil Sterritt’s Mapping My Way Home: A Gitxsan History – with local design and cartography – won the Roderick Haig-Brown regional prize, a prize awarded for a book that contributes to the enjoyment and understanding of BC; it also took second prize at the BC Historical Federation’s book awards. And one of our other authors, Sarah de Leeuw, who wrote Front Lines: Portraits of Caregivers in Northern BC, is also up for an award for her collection of essays, Where it Hurts. Both Neil and Sarah have been guests on In the Shadow of the Mountain and their interviews can be accessed via CICK’s website. Other guests who have been on the show nominated for prizes this year include Eden Robinson who’s been nominated for the Ethel Wilson fiction prize for Son of a Trickster; Theresa Kishkan nominated for the Hubert Evans non-fiction prize for Euclid’s Orchard & Other Essays. Our second book, Oar and Sail: An Odyssey of the West Coast by Kenneth Leighton, which was short-listed for a prize back in 2000 – is excerpted in Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea, another short-listed book.
In the Shadow of the Mountain
While Creekstone Press continues its work, I’m ready to shift directions and leave In the Shadow of the Mountain. It’s been almost four years and over 50 shows and has given me a wonderful opportunity to connect with other writers, to give me both the motivation and excuse to just talk to other writers about writing. But it takes time away from my own writing, which each of my conversations on In the Shadow of the Mountain makes me miss even more.
I’d like to share some of thoughts about leaving.
Yesterday I broadcast my final edition of In the Shadow of the Mountain on Smithers Community Radio Thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers at CICK 93.9 FM for helping out with the show and for all the other shows they make, the community events they present, and the community connections they foster. And thanks, as well, to Interior Stationery and Books/Speedee Interior Stationery and Books/Speedee Mills and Books on Smithers’ Main Street – for sponsoring the show and for keeping us in good reads. Bravo!
I was especially pleased that my final guest for In the Shadow of the Mountain was Donna Kane, a writer from the Peace River country, Rolla to be exact. Donna was a guest on the show many times – she did a regular writing gossip column in its first year and I also did a show with her about her chapbook Pioneer 10: I Hear You. She’s published two books of poetry, organized innumerable poetry readings and writers’ camps, including several in the Muskwa Kechika where her husband, photographer Wayne Sawchuk, takes summer-long horse trips every year in order to draw attention to some of the last remaining wilderness in the Northern Rockies. I had the pleasure of spending a couple of weeks at an artists camp there a few years ago and created a series of images and poems called The Muskwa-Kechika Fire Poems.
It’s no surprise that Donna’s latest book is called The Summer of the Horse. What surprised me is that it’s not poetry, but rather a memoir of sorts. It documents the day she and Wayne met at a book fair, each of them having grown up almost next door to each other without ever meeting, each in long term relationships; they are instantly drawn each other. In the book, Donna documents the changes their relationship precipitated, the pain and uncertainty it caused, and the questions it led her to explore: the ways in which our thoughts, our observations and our actions are inextricably connected. To quote poet Lorna Crozier, “It’s a love story, not only between a remarkable man and an equally remarkable woman, but between this same woman and horses, this same woman and the BC wilderness. There is such fine thinking between these pages that could only have been written by a poet/philosopher. By someone who opens her mind and body to the beauties and sorrows that surround her and who finds the words to knot everything together with such finesse they’ll never come apart.”
Lovely to learn that’s it’s 2o Years that Creekstone Press has been bringing out such awesome pieces ~ How I love what you have done in Canyon Creel – A Script!!!!! So important to bring out the atrocities committed to Indigneous people and the spunk of their determination to get things right!!
Many congratulations on the 20th anniversary of a very fine press, Sheila and Lynn. And good to hear you are shifting your creative input toward your own writing again after serving and celebrating the writing of others on In The Shadow of The Mountain…50 shows! I so hope someone else in Smithers steps into your gumboots and continues your good work there.
thought provoking column, Sheila….
This has been a remarkable journey, Lynn and Sheila, to have produced such a broad spectrum of reading these last score years. It`s always exciting to discover what new volume will wing its way from Driftwood across the valley — and beyond. But we must agree with Tonia that Canyon Creek, the first, still resonates most strongly — one family`s bewildered encounter with ethnic cleansing. Per ardua ad wherever.
Thanks to all of you – it is good to reflect once in a while. We have been so lucky to work with many talented people – it’s always amazing how close you get to folks when you work together on writing project.
Cheers to you Sheila, your commitment to the North is no small feet..in the end it does come down to the personal, the intimate, ones own words.