To Our Valued Members: To put it mildly, 2020 was a hard year for everyone. What we at RCLAS have learnt, is that under difficult circumstances, art comes into its own as an essential way of keeping us connected and reminding us of our commitments to our families and our community. RCLAS is learning to thrive and move forward in exciting new directions. We are learning new technology, new skills, and learning new ways of keeping our members connected and involved. I want to thank the Arts Council for its continuing support. I also want to thank the City of New Westminster for continuing to support us and in seeing a vital role for the literary arts. I also want to thank all our committed members and volunteers. It is the dedication and passion of our members and volunteers that keeps us strong. On behalf of the RCLAS Board, it only remains, to wish you all a safe, healthy and happy year and a creative and connected 2021. Alan Hill President, Royal City Literary Arts Society (RCLAS)
MEET THE BOARD President ALAN HILL became the Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster in 2017. He has been published in over forty literary magazines and periodicals across Europe and North America and has published four books of poetry. He originates from the west of England. He came to live in Canada after meeting his Vietnamese-Canadian wife while working in Botswana. He is dedicated to making literature accessible for all working to ensure we all have the chance to tell our stories and improve our writing skills. Being President of RCLAS is a great pleasure and honour. It is truly a team effort and Alan enjoys and is committed to the partnerships and skill sharing that will take us all forward.
Vice-President JANET KVAMMEN is a published poet, mixed media and lens-based artist. A founding RCLAS board member in 2012, Janet is the Vice-President of Royal City Literary Arts Society. Active on both the literary and arts scene of New Westminster, Janet is a host and coordinator of local reading events and art exhibits as well as the graphic designer/editor of our RCLAS online magazine. A 2019 Bernie Legge Cultural Award nominee, she has won awards for both poetry and photography and was the recipient of a 2016 Nehru Humanitarian Award.
Treasurer CAROL JOHNSON has been the RCLAS Treasurer since 2018. A sometimes challenging position (learning the ropes) but always a stimulating undertaking given the Board's stated purpose: promotion of the written arts. At heart, Carol is a poet who is currently writing a fictionalized family history. But most importantly she is a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. And wife. Carol and her husband Paul plan to reclaim their love of travel, when no longer grounded by Covid-19.
MEET THE BOARD Director LISA STRONG has been a Director-at-Large with RCLAS since 2018 and is the coordinator for our website rclas.com. Lisa favourite pastimes include reading and spending time in nature with her dog.
Secretary DEBORAH WHITE is an emerging writer. She enjoys writing short stories and is currently working on an historical romance novel. She is active in the writing community and has been a member of the Port Moody Writers group for over 7 years. Deborah has been a RCLAS board member for 2 years.
Director SARAH WETHERED has been on the RCLAS board for 1 year. Sarah is a teacher-librarian at New Westminster Secondary School and an online instructor for Queen's University's teacher-librarian program. She is currently on leave from NWSS as she is serving as New Westminster Teachers' Union president. In January 2020, Sarah won the Canadian School Library's Angela Thacker Memorial Award, for her outstanding contributions to teacher-librarianship both provincial and nationally.
Karin Hedetniemi lives in Victoria, BC on the traditional unceded lands of the Lekwungen/Songhees peoples, where she photographs and writes about nature, place, inspiration, and being human. In a former life, she helped lead an environmental education charity. Karin's stories are published/forthcoming in Prairie Fire, Hinterland, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Sky Island Journal, Sunlight Press, Moria, and other literary journals. Her photos appear in Parentheses, Barren Magazine, CutBank, and elsewhere. Karin shares her creative work at: AGoldenHour.com. Angela Rebrec is a writer, singer and graphic artist whose work has appeared in journals such as Prairie Fire, GRAIN, EVENT, the Dalhousie Review, and NationalPoetryMonth.ca 2020, as well as the anthology Voicing Suicide (Ekstasis Editions, 2020). Most recently she participated in ART SONG LAB 2020. Her writing has been shortlisted for several awards and contests including PRISM Internationalâ€™s Nonfiction Contest. Angela currently facilitates writing and expressive arts workshops for kids and adults of all ages. She lives in Delta, BC with her husband, three children and dog on unceded Musqueam and Tsawwassen lands. V.J. Hamilton was born in Saskatchewan and has lived in Germany, Japan, and New Zealand. She currently calls Toronto home. Her work has been published in The Antigonish Review, The MacGuffin, and Penmen Review, among others, and has been nominated for the Journey Prize. She won the EVENT Speculative Fiction contest. She has hitch-hiked out of Wawa and loves to strum the ukuleleâ€”but not at the same time.
ELEANOR AND THE NAVY © Jerena
“Eleanor" At the beginning of World War II, John Temple completed the building of a 75-foot cabin cruiser in the back yard of his Vancouver property located on Sixth Avenue. His daughter, Eleanor, watched as he steamed the planks over a water-barrel under which he had built a fire. When the boards were pliable, he bent them to fit the hull, attaching them to the ribs with small nails. Once the boards were applied, Eleanor climbed inside and pushed a large block against the hull wherever her father directed. From the outside, John stuffed cracks between the boards with gauze, and applied caulking. All the while, Eleanor resisted his efforts with the block, ensuring that the gauze stayed between the cracks, until the caulking held it fast. At the end of a day during which John had been steaming boards, Eleanor called her neighbourhood friends together, inviting them to bury a potato into the still-hot coals under the steam-barrel. It had become a treat to which they all looked toward with great anticipation. They knew that the coals would retain heat long enough to cook the potatoes. When at last the coals had cooled, the potatoes were retrieved. With relish, the kids peeled back the charred skin and ate the soft white meat, ignoring blackened hands and faces as they wolfed down their tasty treasures. “When building of the boat was finished,” Eleanor said, “Dad painted her white with brown trim, and named her Nor-Vira after my sister Elvira and me.
Then, he hired a flat-bed truck to tow her to False Creek where she was launched from a boat ramp. I remember neighbours gathering around to watch her loaded onto the truck and carted away. It was exciting. From False Creek, Dad motored Nor-Vira to Fisherman’s Cove and tied her up at a private wharf.” “I was two months short of my tenth birthday when Canada declared war on Germany in 1939,” Eleanor said. “I didn’t really know what that meant. War was something we talked about, something we heard or read in the news, but it was far away and didn’t really affect us much. Sure, we couldn’t get some food stuffs - like bananas and sugar - and we needed coupons to buy staples, but we weren’t as bad off as some locals. Because my dad was a fireman, he received extra coupons. Now, we’d call him a first responder. Then, he was my dad. I didn’t understand.” But for gas coupons, John gave his extra coupons to his wife and she shared them amongst their neighbours. When his days off coincided with Eleanor’s school weekends, they headed to Horseshoe Bay and took the Nor-Vira out fishing. The extra gas coupons paid the cruiser’s fuel. During those days, Eleanor watched her father operate the cruiser, listened to his instructions, and eventually learned to operated it with confidence and care. “I had lots of opportunity,” she said. “Dad liked to smoke his pipe and bring in the big fish. When he did, I took control of the boat.” Whatever fish Eleanor and her father caught were taken home and canned that evening by her mother and a neighbour, then shared as needed.
“We ate a lot of fish,” Eleanor said on reflection. Sometime in early 1942, John received a letter from the Royal Canadian Navy. The letter asked that owners of pleasure craft gather at Fisherman’s Cove on a specific day and time in early spring to participate in an evacuation drill. Pleasure craft from the area - many from the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club joined naval vessels in a flotilla that advanced toward Fisherman’s cove. Since Nor-Vira was already docked there, John and Eleanor headed out early to ready the cruiser for the meeting. Eleanor wore slacks, a sweater and running shoes and carried a jacket for later. “Dad always wore the pants of his fireman uniform,” she said, “and that day, he also wore a shirt, sweater and soft-soled shoes. Of course, he had his pipe with him too!” When asked whether he had a crew, John advised the enquiring naval officer that his sons, who would normally crew for him, were serving in the war: one was with the military police, stationed in England, and the other was in the air force, stationed in Brandon. “My daughter,” he said, pointing toward Eleanor, “is my only crew.” The officer glanced questioningly toward twelve-year-old Eleanor who relaxed on a bench nearby, listening to the conversation. Accepting John’s assurance that his daughter was competent, the officer indicated Nor-Vira’s position in the flotilla.
Once the pleasure craft were organized, the officer announced their destination: Victoria Harbour. In the event of an attack on Vancouver Island, pleasure craft would be expected to participate in a mass evacuation of the island - not unlike the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk - but they would be rescuing civilians. The flotilla, guided by naval vessels, then proceeded to Active Pass. “It was early summer,” Eleanor said. “Crisp and cloudy, no rain or wind. The sea was fairly calm. A Saturday, I remember, because I was off school. I was excited to be able to spend the entire day with my dad on the Nor-Vira. I remember the smell of my dad’s tobacco - heather – mixed with salty sea air. We had a selection of peanut butter sandwiches and salmon sandwiches to munch on. Dad had a thermos of coffee, but I drank water.” “What could have been an enjoyable day with my dad,” she said, “was marred by the presence of the big naval ships. They made me nervous, especially when they came close to us. Compared to them, Nor-Vira was small. Their engines were loud and intimidating and they smelled of diesel and smoke. Whiffs of fresh sea breeze were always welcome. I think the noise of those big ships is what kept the sea life away. All we saw that day was the odd seagull.” “When we reached Active Pass, the naval officer returned with his bull horn yelling ‘Move up! Move up!’ as he organized the pleasure craft into a line. When it was our turn to file passed, he called out the name of our boat and ordered a pilot change. Dad stepped away from the wheel and I took over, following the vessel ahead of us along the coastline and into Victoria Harbour. The naval vessels loomed over us with alarms blaring. I felt like a flea on a bedspread! It was scary.”
As the vessels entered Victoria Harbour to the loud squawking of welcoming seabirds, John took the wheel again. Eventually, a naval crew boarded NorVira. They tested her speed, structure and seaworthiness, and interviewed John. The boat was then categorized according to her speed, assigned the naval standby-volunteer number V099L, and released. By comparison to the voyage to Victoria, the return to Fisherman’s Cove was peaceful and relaxing. Days later, John received a notice from the Royal Canadian Navy, which indicated Nor-Vira’s evacuation section and responsibilities in the event that a war-time evacuation of civilians from Vancouver Island was required. Nor-Vira was never called upon to serve the Navy, but remained a standbyvolunteer until the end of 1943, when her services were deemed no longer necessary. “That was a frightening day,” Eleanor said, “and an exhilarating one. My dad and I had the best kind of adventure. We went out on the boat, together!” Not long after that adventure, Eleanor had a revelation. “Until we participated in the Navy’s drill,” she said, “I believed that the war was something on the other side of the world, something we only heard about in the news, something that interrupted our food chain. When I realized that the Nor-Vira - and therefore my dad and I - could be called upon to rescue civilians from Vancouver Island, it was like a wake-up call. After all, they wouldn’t need rescuing unless they were being bombed or shelled.”
------------------------------- ELEANOR AND THE NAVY copyright Jerena Tobiasen
UPCOMING EVENTS RCLAS presents In Their Words, online edition, with host Ruth Kozak Date: Thursday Jan 21, 2021 Time: 7:00pm Pacific Time. Feature Presenters include: Shawn Gale presents Ernest Hemingway (American novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and sportsman.) Lesley Hebert presents Aphra Behn (17th Century author of the novella "Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave", considered the first professional woman writer in English.) Deborah L. Kelly presents Dante (Canto VII, from Pergatorio) Zoom room will open at 06:45 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada). Let us know on the event page if you would like to attend. https://fb.me/e/20uhzwUGy OR you can email secretary AT rclas DOT com to rsvp.You will be sent the zoom link via email or Facebook messaging. #RCLAS #royalcityliteraryartssociety #InTheirWords #ArtsNW #royalcitylit RCLAS presents Tellers of Short Tales – Online Edition Featured Author Nasreen Pejvack Date: Thurs January 28, 2021 Time: 6:00 to 8:00pm Zoom room will open early for open mic sign up starting at 05:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) . Host: Carol Johnson Let us know on the Facebook event page if you would like to attend. https://fb.me/e/17bgKQ8Wn OR you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. You will be sent the zoom link via email or Facebook message. RCLAS will be featuring our first virtual edition of Tellers of Short Tales. The evening will include an Open Mic for short stories. Space limited. Nasreen Pejvack began writing as a Canadian author in 2014.Her debut novel “Amity” was published by Inanna Publications in October of 2015 and was a finalist for British Columbia’s 2016 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Following that successful novel, she went on to complete “Paradise of the Downcasts,” a collection of short tales and essays inspired by her experiences of life in Canada. She also has a collection of poems entitled “Waiting,” and both books were published/printed by McNally Robinson in 2018. In Nasreen’s stories, her characters give expression to her life’s learning and experiences in order to relate narratives relevant to the concerns of our time. “Luyten’s Star” is her newest publication, a sci-fi novel.
#RCLAS #royalcityliteraryartssociety #TellersofShortTales #ArtsNW #royalcitylit
Poetic Justice Online Edition Date: Sunday Feb 7, 2021 Time: 3:00 to 5:00 pm Feature Poets: Alan Hill, Poet Laureate New Westminster/RCLAS President Adrienne Drobnies (Salt and Ashes, Longlisted for the 2020 Cogswell Award) Open Mic sign up starts at 2:30pm. Find more info on Poetic Justice Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poeticjusticepnw RSVP to receive Zoom Link ALAN HILL became the Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster in 2017. He has been published in over forty literary magazines and periodicals across Europe and North America and has published four books of poetry. He originates from the west of England. He came to live in Canada after meeting his Vietnamese-Canadian wife while working in Botswana. He is dedicated to making literature accessible for all working to ensure we all have the chance to tell our stories and improve our writing skills. Being President of RCLAS is a great pleasure and honour. It is truly a team effort and Alan enjoys and is committed to the partnerships and skill sharing that will take us all forward. Adrienne Drobnies has a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley; she has worked at Simon Fraser University and the Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver. Her origins are in Texas and California and she has spent most of her life in Toronto and Vancouver. A graduate of the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio, her poetry has appeared in Canadian literary magazines, including The Antigonish Review, Event, Riddle Fence, The Toronto Quarterly, and The Maynard, as well as The Cider Press Review and Sow’s Ear Review in the US, and Popshot Magazine in the UK. She is an editor of a collection of poetry in French, Poèmes sur Mesure, by Alain Fournier. Her poetry received honourable mention in the Compton Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 Vallum Award for poetry. Her long poem “Randonnées” won the Gwendolyn MacEwen Award for Best Suite of Poems by an Emerging Poet and was a finalist for the CBC literary award for poetry. 2021 WRITE ON! CONTEST Info https://rclas.com/awards-contests/write-on-contest/
January 2021 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 80 ISSN 2291- 4269, 37 pages. Issue 80: 2021 Write on! Contest Open for Submissions w...
Published on Jan 17, 2021
January 2021 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 80 ISSN 2291- 4269, 37 pages. Issue 80: 2021 Write on! Contest Open for Submissions w...