On cue, the week before Christmas, Lived Experience Number Eleven: A Literary Journal from the Mountains of British Columbia is hot off the press and onto the book shelves.
Van Andruss, editor and publisher of the Lived Experience series, has added 10 new authors to his 2011 collection. This latest anthology of 22 authors has a strong Cariboo Chilcotin voice.
Three new writers with ties to the Cariboo Chilcotin are included in Lived Experience Eleven (LE11). These include Martin Comtois, Julie Andres and Evan Sleeman. They join local writers Lorne Dufour, Sage Birchwater, Christine Peters and John Schreiber who have had their work published previously in the magazine.
Many people in Williams Lake know Martin Comtois as chef extraordinaire, music promoter, astrologer and former owner of the Ashcroft Opera House. In LE11 Martin’s memoir, Coming of Age in Montreal, describes his growing up during tumultuous times in Montreal, then heading off to seek his fortune at the tender age of 17 years old. He writes about returning to Montreal 33 years later to reconnect with his past.
A few people might remember Evan Sleeman, former owner of Cless Pocket Ranch near Anahim Lake. In his narrative The One and Only Lester Dorsey, Evan gives a first-hand account of this Chilcotin legend during the 1960s.
“Lester and my dad, Lou Sleeman, got along really well,” writes Evan. “They both loved to drink large amounts of hard liquor and tell cowboy and hunting stories of days gone by. They were two buckaroos, born in the time of horse and wagon transportation; both thrived on hunting and wide-open spaces.”
Evan’s daughter, Julie Andres, now a journalist on the Sunshine Coast, writes about her experiences as a young girl on the Cless Pocket Ranch. In Becoming a Cowgirl, she gives a detailed account of taking part in a beef drive as an 11-year-old in 1964 with such notables as Bob Cohen, D’Arcy Christensen and Tommy Holte. They had to move 350 head of Herefords to the range 40 miles northeast of Anahim Lake. Like her father’s story, Julie captures a time long gone in the West Chilcotin.
John Schreiber, author of two books, Stranger Wycott’s Place and Old Lives in the Chilcotin Backcountry, takes us on another mythic journey into the Chilcotin. This time on the slopes of Ts’yl-os Mountain in Nemiah Valley with his long-time hiking buddy Don Brooks.
Cariboo poet Lorne Dufour entertains with half a dozen of his poignant collection of verse illustrated by a couple of Luther Brigman drawings.
Also included in LE11 are more of my backwoods reflections of Homesteading on the Trapline. This is complimented by Christine Peters’s The Trapline Revisited describing an adventure she and I shared three years ago when we hiked down to visit our old haunts.
Other writers in LE11 are Van Andruss, David Bouvier, Bob Sarti, Edye Hanen, Tim McNulty, Theresa Kishkan, Koten Benson, Joram Piatigorsky, Jason Macleod, Kirby Brown, Casey Wolf, George Gill, Riena LeBaron, Kerry Coast and Jonathan Kerslake.
Lived Experience has been published annually in Lillooet since 2001. Copies of LE11 are available at the Station House Gallery and the Open Book in Williams Lake.