Page 1

To our members and fans, Royal City Literary Arts Society wishes for you all a safe and wonderful summer, with lots of fun productive creativity in your arts! As you know we will not have E-Zine for the two months of summer. However, we begin publishing again in September.

Share Crow, flying, gliding searching for food houses as far as eyes can see cars and objects People, black, blond and red heads —and their garbage Bear comes out of hibernation with her cubs hungry, looking for food all she sees fences and roads fill the landscape aggressive people — and their garbage Sea creatures tangled up in human waste, toxins Advanced techno-toys our obsessions oblivious to consequences we seize and conquer all

Nasreen Pejvack (Spring 2016)


Write On! Contest 2017 Winners & Honourable Mentions

2017 WRITE ON! CONTEST WINNERS $150 first prize $100 second prize $75 third prize Congratulations to all our winners! Thank you to everyone who submitted! POETRY WINNERS (Poetry Judge: Chelsea Comeau) Poetry First Place SYLVIA SYMONS – BIBLE CAMP Poetry Second Place: Annette LeBox – Place of My Body Poetry Third Place: Celeste Snowber – Hymn to a Mountain Ash Poetry Honourable Mentions Clara A.B. Joseph – The Birthday Gift Jude Neale – Blue Bowl Clara A.B. Joseph – Really Ripe Mangoes NON-FICTION WINNERS (Non-Fiction Judge: Bryant Ross) Non-Fiction First Place GRAYSON SMITH – TRAFFIC COP Non-Fiction Second Place: Marylee Stephenson – Private Dancing Non-Fiction Third Place: Neil McKinnon – Time Travel in Lantian Non-Fiction Honourable Mentions Lozan Yamolky – In The Presence of an Angry Ghost Margaret Lynch – Pilgrim David J. Delaney – The Short Cut FICTION WINNERS (Fiction Judge: Alvin Ens) Fiction First Place: CLARA CRISTOFARO – THE MENDING Fiction Second Place: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki – My Burka Girl Fiction Third Place: Claire Lawrence – Pruinescence Fiction Honourable Mentions Franca Angelis – The Trail of a Homeless Man Margo Prentice – The Crystal Decanter Margo Prentice – Blood on the Floor

Write On! Contest 2017 Fiction Winners & Honourable Mentions

5th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 First Place Winner Fiction

The Mending © Clara Cristofaro The rats of 22nd Street Station are patient. They spend each evening crouched in the bushes above their burrows and behind the bus loop, waiting for the hiss of buses to fade and the last train to leave the station. After the groaning drunks and shift workers have made their way home, the rats wait a few more minutes, just to be sure. The first rat emerges, tapping one foot then the others to the sidewalk as if testing its integrity. The others follow, climbing over the cement barrier into the middle of the sidewalk, swishing their tails through the dirt and cigarette butts. They feast without fear under the lights of the station, which stay on though the first trains and buses won’t arrive until five thirty the next morning. The rats eat half-full bags of popcorn tossed near garbage cans, abandoned hot dogs, plastic baggies of cereal dropped by toddlers, apple cores with plenty of apple still left on them. Every night’s food is like a wedding, funeral, and Christmas, if only the rats knew what those things were. When the sky starts to lighten they return to their burrows to sleep. A few rats emerge during the day to watch humans come and go. There is a woman who sits on a bench but never rides the bus. The rats have never seen her do anything threatening. She eats and sits still. Sometimes she closes her eyes. After the afternoon rush hour she leaves. She doesn’t leave garbage, though the rats always inspect where she’s been sitting, just in case. Dorothy sits at the bus stop all day. Not every day, just on the days when she can't be at home. She arrives with a bag full of food at eight o’clock in the morning and goes home at five in the afternoon. Commuters swirl around her like fog. It’s like going to work but without conversation. Dorothy is not able to make conversation. People tend to give her space. No one sits next to her on the bench. There was an old woman one day, stooped and grey, who looked at Dorothy with watery, sad eyes and Dorothy considered asking if she'd lost a baby too, but didn’t know if she could bear the old woman's answer.

The nurses were the first ones to give her space, before she knew she needed it. While she stared at Zion in his pale blue blanket, tracing his red lips with her finger, the nurses tidied quietly in the low light of the delivery room, took the soaked sheets and towels away, and closed the door behind them. Space has grown between Dorothy and Jonathan, too. She didn't ask for it, but when he started back to work and she was left at home to mourn and then try to stop mourning, the chasm opened between them. He doesn't ask what she does all day. Most nights they eat dinner on the couch, with the TV on. During these times, Dorothy considers talking. The background noise helps her gather her thoughts. When it's quiet, she hears whispers and accusations. She waits until commercials, counts to five, takes a deep breath. Do you talk about him at work? she asks. Not really, Jonathan says. But the guys, they gave us that card, remember? It's not what she wants to know. Does he ever stop mid-drill and think of his son? Is he ever frozen by pain? She can't think of how to ask that. He tries to hold her in the night but she can’t sleep with him touching her. It crushes the memory of Zion's skin to have another person touch her. The space between them feels uncrossable, but not empty. It's occupied by their son. One night Jonathan reaches for her. She rolls away and he tightens his grip. Dorothy fills up with rage. She rolls towards him and hits him with her balled fist. He cups his hands to his face and makes muffled, hurt noises. Dorothy ignores him. She tucks her pillow around her ears and feels a gust of cold air when he leaves the bed. In the morning, Dorothy wakes alone. There is blood on the sheet she has pulled over her. Blood on her pillow. Cold with fear, she pulls on her robe and goes downstairs. Jonathan is asleep on the couch, under a fleece blanket they used for camping when they were dating. She sees his swollen eyes and nose, dried blood under his nostrils, and she remembers. Dorothy goes to the kitchen to make coffee. Her hands shake.

She’s never hit anyone. She and Jonathan were a team, two halves of one entity, and Zion’s death has put an axe into them, split them like a log. She doesn't want to be half again. But she can't be whole with him, either. Dorothy pours the coffee into a travel mug, screws the lid tightly. She butters a piece of whole wheat bread and folds it in half. She packs fruit, granola bars, a bag of pretzels, everything she can find, into the cloth shopping bag that she slings over her shoulder. She locks the door behind her. This is the part she likes best: walking the four blocks to the train station with her coffee mug in her hand, going to work like everyone else. Normal again. She imagines people looking out their windows, being comforted by her regularity. Retired couples setting their clocks by her purposeful stride. Dorothy arrives and takes her place on the bench, her bag beside her. The beeping of the fare gates is a staccato music she has grown to love. The mountains are in the distance, the clouds parted around them. She watches pigeons fly in circles around a house down the hill. Cars line the bridge deck and the river flows below it. Women clatter by on high heels and shake off their umbrellas. Mothers with babies appear between ten and two o’clock, pushing heavy strollers and pulling endless snacks from diaper bags. Dorothy can't look at the babies but she doesn’t mind the sound of them. At the bus stop, all the sounds blend into something calming, an ocean. The evening rush comes and goes. Dorothy eats a banana. When the dark starts to thicken around her, she stuffs her cold hands in her pockets and thinks about Jonathan. He’ll be home from work by now, expecting her. Maybe he’s relieved by her absence. Maybe his nose is broken. She pictures a doctor’s gentle hands prodding his swollen face and Jonathan explaining how it happened. Dorothy feels hollow. She puts her hand to her belly, fat with unshed baby weight. Here is where Jonathan wants to grab hold, the place where Zion slept. She has her body as a reminder. Jonathan only has her. Dorothy has trained herself not to need a bathroom until she goes home at the end of the day, but today has been long and she needs to pee. There is no public bathroom at the station, only a locked room that the bus drivers can access. Behind her, under the platform, there are bushes where the drunk men go, where people take their toddlers.

In a lull between trains she walks around to the back of the station and ducks through the dark bushes. Her hands are frozen and it’s hard to maneuver her coat behind her as she squats with her sweatpants around her ankles. In the small, quiet moment after the stream of urine has stopped, she hears a rustle. She blinks, expecting to see another person. She sees instead the flick of a tail. Dorothy stays still. A train pulls into the station, all screeches and air. Still squatting, she reaches into her bag and breaks off a piece of granola bar. Hungry? Dorothy whispers. She holds the granola bar between her fingers. The rat comes slowly and waits until Dorothy drops the food on the ground, then closes her mouth around the bulk of it and darts into the shadows. Dorothy fishes in her bag for a pretzel. Another rat arrives, quicker this time, to take it away. Dorothy sees the shine of their tiny eyes staring at her. She is doing something good. Another rat runs up and waits while she feels for more food in her bag. The rat’s whiskers twitch and she reaches out to stroke its fur but it runs away. Dorothy stands and pulls up her pants. She leans against the cement wall and scatters all her food on the ground around her feet. The rats work hard, running in and out of their burrows until the food is gone. They disappear, then, and Dorothy picks her way through the bushes, back out to the wide open bus loop, quiet and dark, empty as a prairie. She takes a deep breath and decides to go home.

5th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Second Place Winner Fiction My Burka Girl © Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki “My name is Laila,” said the woman in a black burka as she slid into the seat next to me. The Vancouver SkyTrain glided between frosted roofs and snow covered streets as if nothing was amiss. It was the middle of January, and I was daydreaming of desert heat. “Laila,” she repeated and crossed her legs. The black fabric bulged in the general area where the knees of a long slim pair of limbs might have been located. I wondered if it was okay to look at a burka-clad woman and ponder what was going on under the cover. I glanced at the narrow band of her face surrounded by dull cloth. Laila’s eyes glared back at me, fierce like two black pearls dug from an oyster and set perfectly into a golden object of exquisite beauty. I liked the little of Laila that I could see. I liked it a lot. “Are you deaf?” Her voice reminded me of ripened dates, stringy and sweet. “I beg your pardon?” “Do as I say,” she hissed. I might as well have been deaf. I had no idea who she was or what she wanted me to do. Why would this mysterious goddess talk to me, a student or art history on my way to the Simon Fraser University for a lecture on Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting, possibly the best known painting in the world. La Gioconda, popularly known as Mona Lisa was almost as mysterious as my companion. I have to admit that an immodest thought crossed my mind at this juncture. I was twenty-one, skinny and goofy looking, but not unremarkable in my own way. Perhaps Laila had a craving for pale, ginger haired goofy dudes. It wasn’t unheard of. As I pondered this pleasant possibility, something hard-tipped and shockingly suggestive of a handgun jabbed my ribs, connecting the burka with my Goretex jacket.

“Okay,” I said slowly, scanning the train for witnesses. Oddly enough, a woman in a burka and a carrot haired character weren’t attracting any attention, whatsoever. The few passengers kept their noses in their smart phones. For a brief, hopeful moment, a ruddy Oiler’s fan stared straight at me with a scowl on his face, then burped and pulled out his phone. “Okay, Laila,” I repeated. “What’s up?” I’d always wondered what a gun pressed against one’s ribs would feel like. Now I knew. It felt like looking down from the top of a very tall building and wanting to soil my pants. “The next station is Commercial,” the automated announcement rattled from the speakers. “We get off here,” said Laila. How quickly the two of us became an item. Beware what you wish for, my mother used to say. Laila jabbed me hard and I obeyed. She walked behind me down the Commercial Drive, refusing to answer any questions. It was starting to get dark. My expectation that a sight of me with my rusty mop of hair, followed by a female villain in a burka, would incite an alert in any onlooker proved to be futile. No one walking the Commercial Drive on this particular evening felt compelled to show a slightest sign of interest. Just as I pondered ransoms and dynamite-lined vests, Laila directed me into a back alley clogged with industrial-sized garbage bins. The smell of spices and rotting vegetables told me that we were walking behind ethnic restaurants and grocery shops. When we reached a dark square building not unlike many other dark square buildings we had passed, Laila pulled open a metal door and ordered me to get in and up a flight of squeaky stairs. The door slammed behind us with an ominous bang. The only light and noise came from an open door at the end of a hallway, an aggravated male voice adding to the general impression of doom. The smell of cologne revealed a barbershop even before I saw the furniture and a colossal man sitting in one of the swivel chairs. Shades were drawn over the windows. The man yelled into a phone while holding an open sling-blade razor in his other hand. I’d only ever seen a sling blade razor in the movies where it was never used for shaving. A strange sensation came over my bowels. By the look of his short white jacket, he was a barber. He conversed in a language of a particularly cruel variety. I admittedly am not an expert on languages,

but I had a strong inkling that this was not a language that promised anything good as far as I was concerned. At the sight of us, the giant sent one last bark into the phone and ended the call. His stare invoked in me a peculiar effect, which I rather not describe. The bushy eyebrows rose, the massive head cocked. “Hell’s this?” he said in a pure Canadian West Coast raising accent. “Daddy,” said Laila, her voice transformed from that of an asp into a saccharine whine. “This is the stalker I told you about.” My knees softened as I finally heard my accusation and understood its grave implications. Severe drought overtook my throat. I gasped, unable to say a word. Not so my Laila. “He’s been peeping through my dorm-room window all day and all night. Following my every move.” Daddy looked at me, mouth agape. My bladder was about to resign from the job so far well done. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I had a very good idea where her atrocious words were leaving me. She wasn’t done yet. “He was there last night too. I saw him and he saw me, alright. Ask him. He’ll admit it.” I wasn’t going to do any such thing. “He will so,” stated Laila showing full confidence in me. “Or I’ll tell what else he does while he peeps. Perhaps while he watches me undress.” My ears felt full of water. I couldn’t say anything coherent even if I wanted to. “Say it,” she sneered at me. “You saw me in my room last night. Say it.” The gun was against my spine, and just when I thought I would faint, some kind of a selfpreserving force activated my mouth. If anyone had told me that I would say what I was about to say, I wouldn’t believe it. “Yes,” I said, my throat like sandpaper. “I saw her. She was.”

Laila whooped with triumph as I wondered where Daddy would dispose of my body. “I told you so, Daddy. How could I have been at the rave party in Abbotsford, if I was studying in my dorm-room at UBC?” To my amazement, the razor snapped shut and Daddy burst into a melodic staccato laughter, followed by a few hiccups. “Laila, please, the poor boy is terrified.” He wiped his eyes with sausage-like fingers. “Look here, buddy. I have to apologize for my daughter. She is a scoundrel. The fact is that she was indeed where she shouldn’t have been last night. I know. I have eyes and ears everywhere. But, you have to admit that she is a genius to pull this off, don’t you think? Please forgive her.” He extended a ham of a hand and I surrendered my miniscule paw. “And by the way, we are Hindu,” he chuckled. “She is supposed to wear a sari, not a burka. She does what she wants. I asked her to be a good girl and study for her exams, but she disobeys me.” His smile revealed the unconditional love that this father had for his daughter. Laila pulled the burka over her head and slumped into a barber’s chair, arms crossed, long black silk of a hair ruffled, mouth pouting, her slender legs swiveling the chair. She was wearing skinny jeans and a pink jersey with Canadian Girls Rock printed across her lovely chest. I picked up my jaw and fixed my eyes on a fascinating air vent on the wall. “There is one thing I don’t understand,” said Daddy and scratched his beard. His question was easy to guess. Why did I play along? “The gun,” I said and blushed. Laila snorted and pointed a knuckled index finger at me. Of course there was no gun. “That’s not what I was going to ask, but thank you for the laugh,” said Daddy. “What I did want to ask was why she picked you.” Yes, why me? Could she really have had an eye for pale redhead students of art history? If I was unsure of it then, I know it for a fact now, fifteen years later. Our daughter, Mona, is just as intelligent, beautiful, and strong-headed as her mother. She grows too fast, and when I threaten to get a burkini for her, Laila laughs. But, I can

see the wheels turning behind the young black-pearl eyes, some mischievous plot taking seed behind them.

Read Tatjans’s Blog post here:

5th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Third Place Winner Fiction Pruinescence © Claire Lawrence I am building leaf bridges for the ants to redirect them from their anthill. A few try to escape by crawling off the sides, but I flip the leaf and prod them with a twig. If they remain determined to get away, I drop the rebels into a puddle. I will let the water make the final judgement. There are now twelve leaf boats sitting in the plash at various angles. One is higher than the rest and floating off to the side. An ant looks like it may escape its random fate. “Whoopa, wu-wu-wu-whook at dis,” I call to my buddy. Whooper is making a fire. While he explains the process, he throws his arms wildly in the air, cranes his neck, and babbles. He is not doing this of his own free will. Whooper has Tourette’s. He has been my best friend for six years. I knew him in kindergarten, when he was my reading buddy from grade four. Whooper cannot keep still and shouts out obscenities, which freaks people out. It really upsets his father. He is not a kind and tolerant guy. He likes hitting things, especially Whooper. My mom is a librarian and read up on Whooper’s condition. She does not like the way he swears, and she warns me that if I start cussing, then I cannot be friends with him. I laugh. Me? Swear? If I could, I would. And if I lose Whooper, then my friend count goes to zero. Like Whooper, I am a social castoff. My speech impediment makes it difficult for people to understand me. Whooper drops his sticks and walks over to where I am lying in the tall grass. He gets down on his back and makes like he is in the snow—moving his arms and legs to create an angel. I join him, and soon there are two angels in the grass, side by side, sopping up the noonday sun in a cloudless sky. We can hear the occasional car drive by, but mostly we hear the flies or the bees whizzing from plant to plant. A dragonfly flits and casts a shadow over our faces before landing on the high leaf in the puddle. Flipping onto our bellies, we stare at the creature, with its thin blue abdomen and monstrous black head. Its pincer-like jaw is snapping open and shut. Whooper looks from the dragonfly to me and tells me he knows the word of the day. First, he says yabadabadoo, his vocal tic. The word-of-the-day game is played because Whooper is smart, and he is trying to make me smart too.

“Pruinescence,” he says with authority, then yards his head and twists. “Pruinescence is the dusty-looking coat on the dragonfly’s abdomen. Yabadabadoo! When light reflects off the wax, we see the abdomen as bright blue. See, it’s not really beautiful. It’s fake—an illusion.” He ends this commentary by flailing his arms and throwing his head back. “Now, you say it, Phibby. Yabayabayaba yabadabadoo!” I refuse. “Come on, try!” I am embarrassed and scared. I do not want to talk. you.”

“Come on, Phibby! We work on words every day. Don’t let them intimidate After much cajoling, I say, “Ppprunsss.” “Good try! Yabadabadoo!”

The dragonfly is shifting on the leaf. It spots the ant, which by now has rushed to the other end hoping to escape. In a blink, the ant is in the arms of the dragonfly— and its head is missing. Whooper gets upset swats it away. He takes all the leaves out of the puddle and puts the ants near their home. “They’re gonna get killed, Phibs. We’ve got to save them. Yabadabadoo!” I want to tell Whooper they are just ants, but he is crying. I do not know what to say. I press my hand onto his forearm. He looks at me with tears. He is shaking so bad, I get up and try to hug him. He pushes me away and I land in the puddle. “I’m moving, Phibby. Yabadabadoo! Yabadabadoo!”

It is as if storm clouds have rolled in. In the dirty water, the weight of the news sinks into my chest and I think I am going to drown. Tears fall, then gush, from my eyes. Sitting up, I spot the anthill and begin to crush every ant with my hand. “Stop!” Whooper yells. He cups his hands and lifts the last little ant. “We’re just like the ants, Phibby!” Whispering under his breath, Whooper sets the ant beside its home. It disappears into the safety of the colony. “No,” I growl. “My dad got a new job and didn’t even tell me! Yabadabadoo! Yabadabadoo! To Winni . . .” “. . .p-p-peg,” I say. Whooper’s arms are flying every which way. I feel sick. “Phibby,” he cries out. “What do we do?” “You could wwwive with me?” “Live with you?” I nod. Whooper is calming down. He is thinking about the logistics. Lying on the grass, squinting at the sky, he is silent and still. Not a single tic escapes his lips. He sits up and slaps my knee with the bandaid on it. I yelp. “We need to run away.” His voice is clear. “Wwwhere?” Rolling his shoulders and twisting his neck, he says, “Your cottage. We can live there and I can homeschool you.”

I am surprised by the suggestion. We were at the cottage a couple of weeks ago. It is small, unheated, and has no electricity. It is a glorified hut. “Bbbbbb . . .” “No buts. We are leaving tonight.” My eyes shine. Whooper tells me the plan and I agree to gather food supplies. We’ll meet after dinner. At seven o’clock, Whooper and I are at the corner with our knapsacks. My supplies are slim. He does not judge. He says, “That’s plenty. Here’s what we’re gonna do…” I am listening, but then it hits me. Whooper is not a kid anymore. How long have I had to look up to see him? When did he get zits and facial hair on his chin? I lower my face and blink away the tears. This is our last time together. We start walking, except he is walking towards his house. I pull on his sleeve and produce a grim face. “I told you we’re going to the cottage in style, Phibby. Yabadabadoo!” We reach the garage, and the door is ajar. Inside sits his father’s car. Whooper dangles the keys in front of my eyes. I give him a high-five. Whooper has no tics when driving. He’s focused and diligent. “Ttthhere,” I stutter, pointing to the turnoff. We head up a steep road that forks at the top. On the gravel road, we ditch the car. “This is the life! Yabayabayaba!” shouts Whooper. I howl like a wolf, and he howls too.

At the cottage, we set up. Whooper lights the hurricane lamps. I head to the kitchen and make a couple of sandwiches. Sitting at the table, Whooper says a prayer under his breath. I am curious. What he is praying for? He sees me and smiles. He is not going to tell me. “Wwwhat you wwwant to do?” Marching over to his backpack, Whooper pulls out a book. This is not what I expected. “You’re going to read to me, or we’re going home.” His arms do not jiggle about when he hands me the book. try.

I poke the cover. I cross my arms. When Whooper starts packing up, I agree to

I read the same sentence a million times. When I tire, Whooper feeds me marshmallows and a bottle of coke. Time disappears—until we see the first headlights. Whooper says to ignore them and continue reading. Car wheels crunch over the gravel. I am shaking. They are outside the cottage. Whooper orders me to keep reading. They are banging on the door. Whooper stands up and raises his arms in the air. The door whooshes open and slams against the wall. Whooper’s dad barrels in as Whooper sings out, “Hallelujah!” His father grabs Whooper by the throat and pushes him onto the table. I try to break them up. My mom runs in and hollers, “Stop it! Stop it!” The air is thick with heated outbursts. Whooper is wailing at his father as best as he can. “You’re the monster! Yabadabadoo!Yabadabadoo!” The scene gets uglier when Whooper’s dad clocks him and sends Whooper to his knees. My mom is screaming. Everyone is yelling except me.

I shield my only friend, and repeat the sentence we have been practicing. I stutter at first, chopping up the words into pieces. When Whooper rises, my words meld and smooth over. I say them over and over. There is no time for goodbye. Whooper is dragged away. He roars out his last words to me. “You’re the ant that got away. Yabadabadoo!Yabadabadoo!”

5th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Honourable Mention Fiction The Trail of the Homeless Man © Franca Angelis Every workday morning Natalie rose to the same routine: a six-ounce glass of orange juice prior to a twenty-minute walk with her dog, Sparky, and then a quick shower and a bowl of oatmeal before she went off to work. It’s a twenty-minute drive to the nearest SkyTrain station, where she always caught the seven a.m. train to Downtown Vancouver. Natalie had been exiting the Seymour station, two blocks from her office, for the last six months so she could say hi to Joe. She had met him one cold February morning when he sat in the doorway of a storefront huddled under several blankets, with a wide open baseball hat by his side for donations, and a sign that read, Bet you $1 you can read this sign. “Can you believe that Donald Trump is president now?” said Joe. Natalie found his relatedness entertaining, and bet him five dollars that day. One morning while Joe busily scribbled something into a small notebook, Natalie peeked over onto the page he was writing on, “A bird flies over. A bird flies by. Oh, how I love them, a gift to my eyes.” Poetry. Cool, thought Natalie. Her father too had enjoyed writing. “I’ve got a doctor’s appointment before I go to work Joe, so I need to rush off. Hey, can I bring you a coat tomorrow?” Natalie’s dad had left his behind two years ago after she cared for him and before he had checked himself into the hospital. His depression had become too severe, and while there, he had escaped out onto the 10th floor ledge, and sadly jumped to his death. This traumatized Natalie deeply, and she found herself more empathetic to those like Joe. The coat had remained in her closet for months, thinking she could possibly pass it on to someone in dire need one day. Joe seemed clearly in need. “Ok, but nothing too fancy. Like something that rich guy, Jim Pattison, wears,” giggled Joe. “I don’t want to look like I don’t need money.” His request made sense to her. When Natalie returned home that night after work, she took out the coat. It was a little worn but it was lined, insulated and waterproof with an inside chest

pocket, perfect for wet cold winters. Joe seemed happy when she brought it to him the next morning, “A coat, a coat,” Joe sang, “I wish I had a boat, so I could sail away from those people that are trying to catch me..,” Joe went on. It was one of those mornings where he seemed more delusional and simultaneously caught up in making a little song out of the coat. She looked back as she walked away, sitting there crooning, scruffy and dirty but also poised; maybe scary to others, yet so harmless to her. A week later, Natalie approached the storefront with her one-dollar coin in hand, only to see that Joe was not in his doorway. She walked further down the street where she saw another local homeless man who typically located himself on the same block. “Excuse me, have you seen Joe this morning?” she inquired. “Uh.., I saw him go into the Seven-Eleven there last night, and then a fire truck came, and then, I think it was a coroner after that. They took him away, man.” The news profoundly saddened Natalie. Although she barely knew Joe, she felt this indescribable connection to him. When she arrived at work, she made a quick call to the hospital. “Can you tell me if a homeless man was brought in last night? He would have been picked up at the seven-eleven on Seymour,” she asked the woman. “Yes,” said the administrator on the other end, confirming he was there, “but unless you’re family, I can’t release any information.” Natalie thought for a few seconds, but found herself unable to hang up. me?”

“I’m a close friend. Do you know how he died? Please? Anything you can tell

“I’m not supposed to say anything ma’am,” said the administrator, “but look, between you and me, his brother is coming in this afternoon at one p.m., but I didn’t tell you that, ok? Goodbye.” A brother, Natalie thought? She had not known Joe had any family. She had really not known anything about the quirky man she had visited every morning for the past several months except that he wrote poetry, he liked to sing aloud, and he was witty with his updated commentary on Donald Trump’s recent antics, which all oddly brightened up her mornings. Natalie took a late lunch and rushed down to St. Paul’s hospital where Joe’s body had been taken. In the waiting room, she noticed a middle-aged man in a business suit, sombre but composed. “Excuse me, are you Joe’s brother?”

“Yeah, why?” said the man. “I am sorry to bother you, but my name is Natalie. I’d see Joe on the street every morning on my way to work, and I noticed this morning he wasn’t there?” “Yeah, they think he took too much drugs or something. There not sure if it was accidental or on purpose. You know, suicide. He went into the store feeling dizzy and vomiting, so they called 911. He died on the way to the hospital.” “I am so sorry,” said Natalie, as her words caught in her throat and her heart grew instantly heavy. “He was so funny, I mean, he used to sing little rhyming poems and every time I talked to him, he knew what was going on with American politics, which just amazed me. He seemed so smart.” “I know,” replied his brother, shaking his head. “He was an extremely intelligent man, but in his twenties he had a psychotic break. My wife and I tried to take him in, but he wouldn’t stay. He was having hallucinations, and we couldn’t get him to go back to the hospital to get help voluntarily, so they can’t do anything. That’s just the way it is.” “I am so sorry to hear that. I need to get back to work, but I’d like to hear more about Joe. Could we have coffee one day?” asked Natalie. They exchanged cell numbers and three weeks later they met at a coffee shop just one block from the Seven-Eleven where Joe stumbled into that night. Brian, Joe’s brother, and Natalie spoke for a couple of hours, Brian telling her all about their childhood. How they had grown up in West Vancouver, and how their parents had been killed in a car accident when Joe was just twenty and Brian twentytwo. “Joe never seemed the same after that,” said Brian. “One day we got a call from his friend. He had found him in his apartment, talking gibberish and all paranoid. We brought him to the psychiatric ward where he stayed for a few weeks, but after they released him, he went off his meds.” Brian further explained how Joe had been on the streets for the last fifteen years, but he had spent a lot of his time in the library reading. “I know because I saw him there one day when I took my kids in,” he said. “You know Joe was an honour roll student in school?” recounted Brian. “Yeah, he once published a short essay in a national writing contest. I was the one who caused my parents so much trouble, rebellious and barely a passing student. It doesn’t seem right that he was the one that things went bad for, does it?”

Natalie thought about her current situation. At a recent doctor’s appointment, he found a lump in her breast. She had an emergency biopsy, and the test had come out positive for cancer. “No, it doesn’t seem right,” said Natalie. “If there is anything I could do Brian, please let me know?” she said, as she stood to walk away. “I really cherished the way he made me smile every morning. It’s just rare these days.” “Hey,” Brian called out to Natalie as she opened the door to leave the coffee shop. “I forgot there was something in Joe’s pocket that the morgue gave me; a card with your name on it. I suspect you had given it to him? It only seems right that I give it back to you.” Natalie was puzzled. What had she given to Joe that he would have held onto? Brian took out a laminated wallet-sized card. It was a quote she had placed in her father’s coat while he was ill, and she prayed for his remission. Whether her father had read it, or for that matter, Joe, and if it had meant anything to them, she would never know. Everything will be okay, trust me. ~God, it said. “Thank you Brian,” Natalie smiled humbly, while a tear trickled down her cheek. “I think Joe’s trying to tell me something.”

5th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Honourable Mention Fiction The Crystal Decanter © Margo Prentice Tonight the sky is big and stars sparkle bright against a black velvet back drop. Young teens linger on the streets dressed in costumes, lighting firecrackers, whooping and hollering. This is the last of the Halloween antics until next year. There is a chill in the air but it’s a beautiful night unlike other Halloween nights when the first drop in temperature comes with the drifting swirls of snow. I drive to the front of my friend Susan’s house stop the car and get out. Susan had bought this grand old two story brick house a year before. The wood finish inside was in excellent condition and all Susan and her husband did was add a newer kitchen and bathroom. Susan phoned me to tell me she had heard an interesting story concerning the house. She suggested that we get together with Sally and Helen later in the night when the Halloween activities settled down and it would be quiet. I agreed, wondering what her story was going to be. As soon as I walk to the front door of the house I stop, sensing something menacing. I don’t know why or where this comes from, it is just a feeling. I knock on the front door Susan opens it, greeting me with a big smile. “Come in, everybody is here, come to the table, sit. Helen and Sally are already here.” We sit around Susan’s old dark wood dining room table; Sally moves over to let me sit down. “Isn’t this fun, we’re going to have a séance?’ she says, “With candles, Halloween and a mystery too.” Sally smiles; her long red nails tap the table. Helen frowns with uncertainty. She puts her head in her hands and nods a no. Susan places a crystal wine glass in front of us. She takes a heavy crystal wine decanter from the buffet, removes the round stopper and fills our glasses. As she places the decanter back on the buffet, a shaft of brilliant rainbow lights beam from it. “Well, may this be an interesting evening. We might just have a visitor or visitors from the ‘other side.’ Toast, ladies.” “What ya mean? The other side, like people who are dead or ghosts?” I ask.

Susan laughs. “You never know.” I smirk holding my wine glass a little nervously. Susan says, “When we bought the house, a neighbour came around to welcome us and told me that there was a murder in this house a long time ago. She said a man murdered his wife in a fit of jealous rage. I don’t know what the outcome was, if he went to jail or how long. So, I thought this would be the best time to do this would be Halloween. We’ll do this séance thing together; you know, try and contact a spirit. See if we can find out what happened. Are you game?” We all nod yes in agreement, except Helen who just stares at us. Helen softly speaks, “I had a strange feeling when I came in here, like someone was here. It kinda gave me goose bumps.” Susan stands holding a lighter and says, “I will light the candles and turn off the lights, then we all join hands around the table. Do not disconnect the circle. Keep holding hands, that’s important. Ready?” Sally says to Helen, “God Helen, your hands are like ice.” “I’m nervous,” she replies. In the darkened room, the candles flicker and our shadows dance on the walls. We remain silent until Susan speaks in a loud high pitched voice, “We are joined in this circle to contact whoever is present in this house. Give us a sign that you are present. Give us a sign!” Susan repeats, give us a sign over and over. A surge of energy passes around the circle through our hands. “Did you feel that?” Helen says in a whisper. “If you are here, give us a sign!” Susan yells. The room becomes cold. I shutter as we sit in cold stillness. Then the tinkling sound of glass comes from the decanter on the buffet behind the table. It sounds like something or someone is tapping on the decanter. It is a ping, ping sound. The plinking stops and there is a pop, the sound a stopper makes when you pull it out of a bottle. And then a clink, clink. “I’m afraid to look, turn on the lights,” Helen says.

Susan gets up, turns the lights on and blows out the candle. She points to the decanter. “The top was on the decanter, I know I put it there, it was on before we started. Now it’s not on! Where is it? On the floor? On the table top?” Susan suddenly stops, stands still. “Oh my God, I just felt a something touching my hair!” “Okay, let’s stop now,” Helen shouts. “There is something here and I sense that it is evil. Please let’s stop now!” Sally stands up and says, “Okay with me. Let’s finish the wine and call it a night. And tell whoever was here to piss off.” We spend the rest of the evening chattering about our maiden voyage delving with the ‘black arts’ and communicating with the dead. Maybe we would try this again, but not tonight. When the time comes time to leave, I have a feeling of uneasiness. As I drive home, in spite of that beautiful night, there is a sense of foreboding. I crawl into bed; the effects of wine put me fast asleep. I wake suddenly with a start, bolting straight up. At the foot of my bed is a ghostly gray outline of a man. My heart is pounding. He’s just standing there looking at me. “Go away,” I yell and hide under my blankets. When I look again the ghostly outline is no longer there. First thing in the morning, I phone Susan to tell her about my visitor. “Now we will have to get rid this, can’t have this kind of crap spooking me out. Whoever it is we conjured up followed me home. Shit, what a Halloween. We’re going to need help! Any suggestions?” “I think we should have another séance. This time we’ll invite a professional and see if she can get rid of whoever followed you. Is next Tuesday okay with you? I’ll phone the others and get back to you.” A few days later Susan calls, “It’s all arranged, I even invited a psychic, her name’s Madame DuPont, I heard she is very good, we’ll have to chip in a few bucks each. She’ not cheap. I will fill her in about the murder and what happened to us and you.” The night of our second séance is a cloudy dark night; the snow had begun to fall and whirls in circles in the air. We all arrive on time and are met at the door by

Susan and Madame D. She is well dressed in a black skirt white blouse and black jacket. She is wearing a large silver cross on a chain hanging around her neck and on her head she wears a black silk-like turban headpiece. She speaks with a thick French accent. After introductions we all sit around the dining room table, this time with no wine. Madame DuPont speaks, “De lady of de house told me what as appened last time you were all ere. I and contact dem. Oui?” We are not so cavalier this time and with lights out and candles flickering we remain silent for a time until Madam DuPont speaks. “Whoever is ere speak to me! I command you to speak to me!” The silence is thick and a cold chill fills the air. The decanter does not click. The table begins to shake slowly. Madame speaks in a deep tone, not her usual voice. “You call me here. What do you want? I command you why do you call me?” “Tell us who you are and why you are here. Are the man the murdered his wife and why are you here? Speak!” This is now Madame’s voice. A cool breeze passes over us and the curtains begin to move. We grip our hands tightly. “I am John, I cannot leave …. I cannot leave.” The deep voice comes from Madame D’s mouth. “I did not mean to kill. I cannot leave.” Madame DuPont suddenly rises from her chair and yells, “You can leave, and we are here to show you the way. Go to the light! Go to the light. Forgiveness waits for you.” She repeats this over and over again then stops suddenly. The room is warm and a feeling of peace surrounds us. We unclasp our hands with a sense of relief. “He is gone, we have set him free.” After Madame D leaves, we sit around and talk about our evening. Susan says, “I wish we could have found out more, like what happened. I’m going to check the

name of the guy who killed his wife here. Anyone want to do another séance here and find out more?” In one voice, we say, “No, not here.” Helen smiles, “Maybe another time in another place we can try again.” Nobody follows me home that night.

5th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Honourable Mention Fiction

Blood on the Floor © Margo Prentice The pain is real, blood flows everywhere. She is on a swing, swaying back and forth in a torturous, nauseating nightmare. She is swaying on a swing with a razor blade seat that cuts into her legs, her buttocks and with every movement, washing her lower body in blood. The chains that hold the seat are made of small silver razor blades that cut her hands as she grips them. Blood runs down her arms spilling onto her chest and back. With every swing there is more blood until all is a blur of brilliant liquid red. Clara wakens, turns on her light and checks her alarm clock. It is 4 a.m. Eyes still closed with sleep, she sits up in bed. That awful dream again! Oh God, I feel sick. It will pass. It will pass. Clara goes to the bathroom, drinks a cool glass of water, and goes back to bed. I need more sleep. Got a busy day at work. Her room is cold; the dampness seeps into her face and arms. She throws her blankets to the side and puts her feet on the braided carpet by her bed. Damn, damn that dream! It is time to get up and get ready for work. She fills the pot with water and puts two tablespoons of coffee into her silver percolator coffee maker. Clara goes to the bathroom to wash her face. She smells and hears the coffee brewing. She walks to her kitchen, looking at her newest possession, a black dial phone that can be hung on the wall. As she bites into a piece of toast, the ringing of the phone breaks the silence. “Hello is this Clara Houston? “Yes, she replies.” “This is Sister Mary Helen, from St. Joseph’s Hospital. Your Aunt Marie is very ill and we suggest you come to the hospital right away.” Aunt Marie is special to her. Clara has a flashback memory of time when she lived with her Aunt and cousin Louise. It is summertime and they are playing and laughing on the backyard swings. Auntie Marie calls them in to eat.

My bad dream and now this. Overcome with a sense of urgency, she dials Western Union to send her cousin a telegram. “I’d like to send a telegram to Louise Couture in Toronto. Her number is Dexter 0311.Yes. Your mother is not doing well. It is urgent you come right away. Clara.” Clara quickly dresses and phones a taxi. She tells the driver, “St. Joseph’s Hospital please.” It is cold and grey morning; leafless trees shadow the sky. Paying the driver, Clara is chilled and shaky as she steps out of the taxi. St. Joseph’s is typical of Catholic hospitals in the 1950s, with nuns in full white uniforms. A big black cross hangs on each end of the long sterile hallway wall. The floors are polished and the reflection of the black cross is mirrored on the floor. An antiseptic smell fills dimly lit corridors. Clara can hear the click clack of her high heel shoes as she walks down the hall to Marie’s room. She rushes to her side. Needles are attached to her arms and a there is a tube from her bladder filling with brown urine. Respirator tubes in each nostril make a sound of sucking air. The tubes are attached to a machine that moves up and down like an accordion with a whooshing sound that frightens Clara. She stops and looks at her aunt’s face and holds her Aunt Marie’s hand. Marie opens her eyes; Clara kisses her cheek and gently caresses her hair. “Clara?” Marie gasped. “Did you phone Louise?” Clara nods. “Yes, she’ll be here tomorrow. Don’t talk, save your strength.” In a rasping whisper, Marie spoke again. “I know I am dying. I need you to do something important. Come closer. Go to my closet, top shelf, package in brown paper.” The respirator makes a swishing suction sound as Marie gasps for air. “A magazine called True Detective. Destroy it. Don’t let Louise see it. Please promise me you will do this.” No other words were spoken. Hours later Marie takes her last breath as Clara holds her hand. Clara weeps deep sorrowful sobs and sits by the bed for a few hours until the nurse comes to take her beloved Aunt away. Clara leaves the hospital, taking a taxi to Marie’s apartment. Find and destroy a magazine, strange, why True Detective Magazine? They must have gone out of print years ago. Why is this trashy pulp magazine so important to her? And why do I have to get rid of it before Louise gets here? Louise should be the one, not me.

She throws the keys on the library table in the hall; she takes her hat off and hangs up her coat. The date on the hallway calendar reads October 17, 1958. She walks down hallway to Marie’s bedroom. Clara collapses on the green and white chenille bedspread on her Aunt’s bed. She puts the pillow to her face. It smells of lilies of the valley perfume, her Aunt’s perfume. Marie’s bed side phone rings. It is her cousin Louise. “Yes, she died earlier this evening. I was with her.” There is a long pause. Clara can hear her cousin’s sobs over the phone. Her tears spill down her cheeks. “I’ll wait until you get here to phone the funeral home so we can make arrangements together. I‘m going to stay at your Mom’s for awhile. We can talk then. Bye.” She holds the phone in her hands and stares at it for a long time. Clara walks to closet and runs her hand over the top shelf. She feels something. It’s a package wrapped in brown paper. Sitting on the bed she carefully unfolds the paper. It is an old True Detective magazine. The cover is glossy and in colour; the date in the right corner is 1940. Clara remembers. I was only six years old in 1940. On the cover a scantily dressed woman with snarl on her face holds a large knife standing over a dead man on a blood drenched floor. In black bold letters, Woman Kills Husband in Fit of Rage. The story is written by Marie LaSalle. Could this be my Auntie Marie? No, this can’t be possible! Clara reads the article and is in shock. She has a vivid flashback of a blood covered floor and feels like she has been hit on the head with a hammer. The memory of that night comes back to her. Oh my God! I remember, we were both in that house when Aunt Marie stabbed Uncle Harry. For a moment Clara does not know where she is. Startled, she realizes she is sitting on the bed with the magazine in her hands. The first paragraph made her blood freeze: “…I woke up when I heard the keys in the door. I knew he had been drinking. My heart beat faster with fear. What would he do this time? I walked to the kitchen and waited. He stumbled in and I turned on the light. I must have surprised him. He looked at me with that look that I feared and he lunged at me. You stupid bitch you’re spying on me. He bent my wrist back and I heard it snap. He pushed me against the kitchen stove and put his hands around my neck. I pushed him with all the strength I had. My other hand touched the counter. I felt the butcher knife.

He stumbled, with a clenched fist; he punched my face and said, “When I’m finished with you bitch, I’m going to beat the shit out of those two in the bedroom.” I pushed the knife as hard as I could into his chest. He fell like a rag doll on the floor bleeding, there was blood everywhere. I walked out of the apartment, down the hall to the telephone. I called the operator to send the police over. I don’t remember much after that. I just went back to the kitchen and watched the blood flow on the kitchen floor until they came…..” The policemen had carried Clara and Louise out of the house with blankets covering their heads. Clara remembered looking at the floor and seeing blood everywhere. They were taken to the police station and stayed there until their grandparents took Louise with them and Clara went home to her Mother. They were told Uncle Harry had died. And that auntie Marie was in the hospital. Months later, Auntie Marie came home from the hospital and took Louise to live with her. When Clara’s mother died she moved in with Aunt Marie and her cousin Louise and stayed until she left to be on her own. Clara closes the magazine. She starts a fire in the fireplace. As she watches the flames, she now realizes why she had those blood nightmares. She didn’t remember the details of her Uncle’s death. The article in True Detective magazine brought it back. Page by page she burns the magazine to ashes.

2017 RCLAS Write On! Contest BIOS: Fiction Winners & Honourable Mentions

Clara Cristofaro works as a cheerful bureaucrat by day and a writer and parent by night. She is a recent graduate of The Writer's Studio at SFU, with work published in emerge16 and forthcoming in the Cheese Issue of SAD Magazine. This contest is the first she's won since eighth grade. She lives in New Westminster, BC.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki is a writer, a visual artist, and an engineer living in Vancouver area, where she immigrated from Serbia in 1994. Her work earned an Honorable Mention in the Glimmer Train's 2016 Very Short Fiction contest and will be published in 2017 American Short Fiction anthology by The New Rivers Press. In 2017 Tatjana won the Federation of BC Writers' postcards section of the Literary Writes contest. Tatjana writes literary short fiction stories.

Claire Lawrence lives in British Columbia Canada. She has been published in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Japan. Her winning entry to Ouen Press’ international contest was published in an anthology entitled, Last Run. Claire won the Sampad South Asian Arts International Writing Competition and was published in an educational book entitled Inspired by Gandhi. She was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She has a number of other prize-winning short stories. Claire is a member of the Port Moody Writers Group, Royal City Literary Arts Society and the Federation of BC writers.

2017 RCLAS Write On! Contest BIOS: Fiction Winners & Honourable Mentions

Franca Angelis is a non-fiction writer. She began writing as a healing tool for grief. As a member of the Port Moody Writer’s Group, she has been exploring memoir writing, and addressing social issues through storytelling. Franca lives in Coquitlam, B.C. with her husband, two daughters and their yorkiepoo, Milo. She is excited to see her first story published.

Margo Prentice belongs to a writing group called Waves, in New Westminster. She is a writer of short stories and has been published in Canadian Magazine, Vancouver Sun and Royal City Literary Arts on-line magazine. Her poems have been published in different anthologies locally and in Ontario. She has written four plays. Performing as a standup comic she writes all her own material and enjoys writing this kind of humour. She is in the process of editing and organizing her material for publication

rclas member submissions

Fathers Canada 150th+ Theme: No Theme

Awe, …awww When I see prisms through your furry tail hear you whirring and churring like windmill vanes on a broken branch or bike spokes clacking baseball cards When I see your double-humped camel shadow galloping along my roof peak like a tin race horse in a carnival booth When I see my birdseed scattered — exotic, expensive, imported seeds — sunflower, corn, millet, and pumpkin replaced by your own free pine cones When I see you stuffing your pouches like shop-lifter jacket pockets wiggling your whiskers on your Louis Armstrong trumpet cheeks When I see you stump jumping sitting precociously, staring at me tail scrolled up like a

-clef or an


When I see you crave the spotlight, Diva, preening, claim-staking territory hyperactive, excited, gleaming in glory show-off shimmy up the flagpole When you come close to tell me something wanting me to ignore all the other thespians their colorful plumage and Pavarotti songs Then I know it’s time for me to reach into the nest I made for you to nuzzle your new miracles babies smaller than thumbs softer than child’s glee

© Ruth Hill Poetry Permanent Collection.

Ray’s Garden © Glenn G. Wootton

At the base of the original entrance stairs to and from Main Street Skytrain Station, just off to the west side, there once was a smoker’s area. A concrete flower planter was perched at its centre, featuring a small rhododendron bush encircled by a ring of pansies. The planter stood waist height to an average adult and is about 3½ to 4 feet circumference. Many hundreds or perhaps thousands of people had seen the planter and even enjoyed the colours and fragrances of the flowers contained in it as they passed by or stopped for a smoke. Yet very few stepped close enough to notice the plaque on top of one side of the planter that says “Ray’s Garden.” And fewer still are the number of people who can tell you who Ray was. Ray would come around once or twice a week, as a temp worker, to sweep and hose off the spacious paved areas on the 100 block of Terminal Avenue. It is a passage for pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders, and the entrances to the Vancity Savings Credit Union head office. At night the building and walls next to the bus stop are used as a public washroom. Ray delivered papers to some of the businesses in the block as well. Ray was a soft-spoken man who smiled easily and was never heard yelling or cursing, by any of us anyway. He stood about six feet tall, had a thin, wiry build, short grey hair, beard and moustache. But he often came to work in a disheveled state, with messy clothes and unshaved. He frequently stank of stale booze even on a weekday morning. There were also times when it was obvious he had not washed for several days.

But people spoke kindly of him and seemed to be willing to tolerate all of this from a man who seemed to be trying to escape poverty, and provide a service to the community. Ray was found dead in his apartment in Vancouver’s downtown East Side. An apparent murder, according to Vancouver City Police, the result of severe blows to his head from a blunt object, came as a shock to many who knew him. Ray’s Garden was a memorial to him, placed there by the citizens and people who live and work in the neighbourhood. Most of that is gone now. Only the Vancity office tower and the spacious plaza remain as they were at the time. The rest was demolished in the project that was designed to improve station and access area to the public transit system. A deli, coffee retailer, the original entrance stairs, and the memorial garden for Ray have been removed. The memory of Ray and his memorial garden will end as well. Other people are out there, now sweeping and cleaning.

Originally published in “Rain, Party, and Disaster Society: The End; October 28, 2014” Fall E-zine

Upcoming RCLAS Events RCLAS (Royal City Literary Arts Society) Members Only AGM SATURDAY JUNE 24, 2017 Anvil Centre 1:00pm to 3:00pm New Members Welcome! Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor. 777 Columbia St, New Westminster. New Members Welcome. Keynote Speaker: CAROL SHABEN BECOME A MEMBER at or at the door! FYI: You do not need to be a resident of New Westminster to be a member of RCLAS.

Poetic Justice Summer Dates Date: Sunday June 18. Sunday July 16. Sunday August 20 Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm. Location: Boston Pizza at Columbia Square, 1045 Columbia St, New Westminster Host: James Felton June 18 Feature Poets: Patrick Friesen and Connie T. Braun Open Mic Sign Up. Check out our website for upcoming features RCLAS presents “Children’s Chronicles” Date: Saturday June 24, 2017. 3:30pm – 5pm, Free admission. Location: Queensborough Community Centre, Island Room 920 Ewen Avenue, New Westminster, B Feature Author: Gary Pryke will read from his children's book "The Adventures of Spike and Johnny". Description: For children 8-12 years of age. Story time, writing and discussion. More info Email Gary Pryke was born in Vancouver and studied English, Mathematics and Architecture at UBC and in Southern California. Along with thirty years teaching in the high schools of Vancouver, Gary continues with his interest in writing fiction for young readers and also pursuing his passion: writing original works for feature film.

Announcing Our New Program:

RCLAS presents “Mosaic of the Arts” Time: 5:30pm – 8:00pm Location: Queen’s Park Bandshell, New Westminster Hosts: Merril Hall, Lavana LaBrey, Janet Kvammen, Julia Schoennagel Dates: July 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st August 14th, 21st, and 28th "A Celebration of Arts" with Painters, Musicians, Writers, Poets and Performers" and more! Mosaic of the Arts will take place at the Bandshell in Queen's Park, New Westminster, every Monday of July and August, except long weekends.

The series is run by the Royal City Literary Arts Society and sponsored by the City of New Westminster

PIP PIP HOORAY! Poetry in the Park is back!

RCLAS presents “Poetry in the Park 2017” Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Wednesday Nights in July and August Location: Queen’s Park Bandshell, New Westminster July Dates: Opening Night July 5th , 12th, 19th, and 26th August Dates: August 2nd , 9th , 16th, 23rd and Finale Night Aug 30th Open Mic Sign Up. Bring a chair, a blanket, a picnic and a friend! Description: Enjoy this family friendly event in a beautiful park setting! Poetry in the Park is a free summer reading series that features emerging and established writers from British Columbia and across Canada. The series is run by the Royal City Literary Arts Society and sponsored by the City of New Westminster. Our goal is to provide quality programming dedicated to celebrating and promoting the literary arts. Poetry in the Park was founded in 2012. Website: Facebook:

REMINDER NO “Children’s Chronicles”, “Wordplay” and “Tellers of Short Tales” during summer months. They will return in September. RCLAS presents “Songwriters Open Mic Night” Dates: Tuesday, July 4, 2017 and Tuesday August 1,2017 Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, Backstage Room, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC Hosts: Enrico Renz, Lawren Nemeth and Poul Bech More info Description: Original music only, performed by the songwriters! Great venue: good sound, food, beverages and a friendly, supportive audience that actually listens. RCLAS presents “In Their Words: A Royal City Reading Series” Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Free admission Location: New Westminster Public Library, 716 6th Ave, New Westminster Host: Alan Girling Featured Readers: Manolis reads the poetry of Yiannis Ritsos Nefertiti Morrison reads the writing of Nawal el-Saadawi Warren Dean Fulton reads the poetry of bpNichol Description In Their Words happens at the New West Public Library on the 3rd Tuesday of every other month. Feature speakers present their favourite author from any genre in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or drama. Presentations include a brief commentary about the author and a reading of selections that exemplify what the presenter loves about the author’s work. A short Q&A follows each presenter. Please note In Their Words will be at Anvil Centre in the fall due to library reno. RCLAS presents “Tellers of Short Tales” (No ToST in July or August) Date: Thursday Sept 7, 2017. 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Free admission. Location : Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Host: Nasreen Pejvack, featuring a different author each session. Open Mic Sign Up More info Description: A program of monthly readings designed to engage fans of the short story genre with emerging and published short story writers.

Also, an open microphone will be available for writers who would like to share their stories. RCLAS presents “Wordplay” with Alan Girling (No Wordplay in July or August) Date: Thursday, Sept 7, 2017. 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Free admission. Location: Buy-Low Foods Community Room, 555 – 6th Street, New Westminster Host: Alan Girling More info Description: Wordplay is our monthly idea-generating drop-in series for writers of all kinds. Find new approaches to your writing; unlock that treasure chest in your head! This group generates some fabulous first drafts; all you need to bring is writing tools, paper, and a ready mind. This is not a critique group; let’s have some fun! RCLAS presents “Children’s Chronicles” (No CC in July or August) Date: Saturday Sept 23, 2017. 3:30pm – 5pm, Free admission. Location: Queensborough Community Centre, Royal Room 920 Ewen Street, New Westminster Feature Author: Danika Dinsmore Description: For children 8-12 years of age. Story time, writing and discussion. More info Danika Dinsmore works in speculative and literary fiction with an emphasis on juvenile and young adult literature. Utilizing her background in performing arts and education, she developed her interactive Imaginary Worlds Tours events, which she often takes on the road, entertaining children and teaching world building to both kids and adults. She is author of children’s fantasy novels Brigitta of the White Forest, The Ruins of Noe, Ondelle of Grioth, and Narine of Noe. For more Book series description: Faerie Tales from the White Forest is a middle grade fantasy adventure series. Set on the imaginary world of Faweh, the faeries from the protected realm of the White Forest face greater and greater challenges when destiny calls on them to “make the balance right again” after the Great World Cry sends the world into elemental chaos.

SUMMER WORKSHOPS: RCLAS Writing Workshop: Punching Up Your Comedy Writing Facilitator: Janice Bannister Date: Saturday July 8, 2017 Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm Location: Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Host: Deborah L. Kelly Description: One of the main things Janice likes to teach in comedy is “there are no rules in comedy”, but there is structure. By adding good comedy structure to your stories, laughs can be generated. In this workshop, you will work on how to make your characters funnier, your locations weirder, and your reveals more entertaining. There are different ways to get a laugh but you have to give yourself permission to think like a comedy writer. Writers can bring their stories/scripts/screenplays that they are working on, and we will use the comedy structures to add the punch. There will also be sample works provided as exercises to help you work on your comedic style. Janice Bannister currently teaches stand-up comedy through her comedy school Laughter Zone 101, and for the SFU 55+ Liberal Arts. She has also taught programs for Douglas College, New West Continuing studies and Capilano U. Register via email: Workshop Fees: RCLAS Members $15/Non-members $25 Pay via Paypal here: RCLAS Writing Workshop: Mastering Memorization Facilitator: Candice James Date: Saturday August 19, 2017 Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm Location: Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Host: Deborah L. Kelly Description: This two hour interactive workshop on MASTERING MEMORIZATION is limited to 10 attendees, so please rsvp asap to ensure your place at the workshop. In this workshop you will learn tips and tricks to easy memorization and a clear understanding of what it takes to make memorization easy and, believe it or not, enjoyable. Please bring a notebook/papers and pen to take notes. This workshop is suitable for all ages and all stages of writing development from emerging to established. Candice James; Poet Laureate Emerita New Westminster BC; is author of 13 books; a visual artist; musician; singer/songwriter; literary reviewer and workshop facilitator. She is Past President of both the BC Federation of Writers, and the Royal City Literary Arts Society; Her awards include the Bernie Legge Artist Cultural Award and Pandora’s Collective Citizenship Award. Reserve your spot: Workshop Fees: RCLAS Members $15/Non-members $25 Pay via Paypal here:

Watch for more RCLAS workshops in the fall!

See you at our AGM June 24, 2017


Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine Antonia Levi

RCLAS Members Open Call for Submissions No theme required to submit. Themes: Deadline August 15, 2017 Issue 47 Ongoing Submissions for upcoming “New Westminster” Special Feature. Poetry, Short Stories, Book excerpts, articles & lyrics are all welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work. Submit Word documents (Please include YOUR NAME and Title on document name) to

Thank you to our Sponsors & Venues 

City of New Westminster

Arts Council of New Westminster

New Westminster Public Library

Anvil Centre

Judy Darcy, MLA

Renaissance Books

Boston Pizza, Columbia Square

Buy-Low Foods

The Heritage Grill

Queensborough Community Centre

Centennial Community Centre

See upcoming events at

June 2017 Wordplay at work ISSN 2291- 4269 Facebook

Contact: RCLAS Vice-President/ E-zine

June 2017 RCLAS Ezine, Wordplay at Work, Issue 46  

ISSUE 46 ISSN 2291- 4269, 86 pages. June 2017 Summer Issue Special Feature: Write on! Contest Fiction Winners and Honourable Mentions: Clara...

June 2017 RCLAS Ezine, Wordplay at Work, Issue 46  

ISSUE 46 ISSN 2291- 4269, 86 pages. June 2017 Summer Issue Special Feature: Write on! Contest Fiction Winners and Honourable Mentions: Clara...