Last night, a friend and I went in to Vancouver, to attend an event celebrating a remarkable new book, Walk Myself Home.
The venue, the Carnegie Community Centre, certainly felt right. It's a heritage building that, like the sign above says, serves as the heart of the community.
Early evening, and the building seemed packed. People were gathered around tables, playing cards or mah-jong; several quieter tables focused on chess. Moving to the library, nearly every seat was taken, heads bent to books or taking notes.
But back to the reading, that took place in the centre’s theatre.
Readers offered short memoirs, poems, even an account of a court challenge with long-lasting benefits to victims of abuse. Although the event was sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library, the setting was anything but library-like.
Hosted by Elee Kraljii Gardiner, who runs a Thursday afternoon creative writing program at the Centre, she spoke of how the book’s contributors have formed their own community – providing accommodation and meals for out-of-town contributors, supporting each other in many ways.
I’m sure I’m speaking for everyone who attended when I say that we felt included in the circle of communities this book has engendered.
I especially loved the fact that most of the questions at the end came from men. And that with the questions came thanks and other hopeful words.
As the book’s subtitle explains, Walk Myself Home is “an anthology to end violence against women.” I’d like to believe that the ‘end’ part of that phrase is correct and coming true.