When I first joined Room’s editorial board, I asked why the editors referred to themselves as the “Growing Room Collective.” I never got a definitive answer, but the best one I was given was that Room constantly adapts, evolves, and grows. In nearly forty years, we’ve had over one hundred different Collective members, a half-dozen tag lines, countless ideas and definitions of feminism, etcetera … but some things have remained the same: a commitment to celebrating marginalized voices in Canada, and a shared belief in the power of storytelling.
How We Relate introduces a new design and tagline, and continues the sixteen-page increase we introduced in 38.1. We would like to say a special thanks to Najwa Ali, who generously allowed us to use her quote about the magazine on the back cover, uncredited. This is also the last issue—for now!—to feature contest winners from all three genres, as we moved our creative non-fiction contest deadline to March 8, and those winners will now be published in our December issue.
The title of this issue refers to both how and why we tell stories, and to how our relationships with the people, things, and environments in our lives affect us and our need to tell these stories. Families are a recurring theme: this issue features stories, essays, and poetry about parents and children (Eliza Robertson’s “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus”, Naoko Kumagai’s contest-winning essay “Everybody Out of the Pool”), romantic partners (“Free Fall”, “Clenched”), grandparents (Eva Rodrigues’s “christmas cards”), and cousins (Kayi Wong’s interview with beloved graphic novelists Jillian and Mariko Tamaki). A quick word search of the text for this issue finds nearly sixty incidences of the word “mother.” My own family has changed a lot in the last few years, in ways I’m not comfortable talking about here. Perhaps this inspired the issue—perhaps I need to reread Kate Braid’s essay on confronting fear when faced with the daunting task of writing memoir (well, definitely).
On the last page of the issue, our BackRoom interview, Lynx Sainte-Marie, says: “Storytelling brings to the surface the world of feelings we hold deep within our bodies.” I’m so grateful for the privilege to read and share the stories we publish in Room, and so thankful for the incredible authors who bring their worlds, their feelings, and their truths to the surface.
Meghan Bell’s writing has appeared in Joyland, The Feathertale Review, the Victoria Film Festival, and theatre festivals in B.C. and Ontario. She has worked for several arts organizations, including Room and the Vancouver International Film Festival. She will begin her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC in September 2015.
Kate Braid has written five books of prize-winning poetry and five of creative non-fiction, most recently a memoir, Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World (Caitlin Press, 2012). She lives in Vancouver with her partner. See katebraid.com.
Chelene Knight was born in Vancouver and is a 2013 The Writer’s Studio graduate. She has been published in a variety of Canadian and American literary magazines. Chelene is the poetry coordinator at Room. Her debut book, Braided Skin, (Mother Tongue Publishing), is now available and has given birth to numerous writing projects, including her second manuscript, Dear Current Occupant.
Katie So is an illustrator and cartoonist from Vancouver, B.C.
Naya Valdellon is a Toronto-based freelance copywriter and editor with an MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Her poetry has appeared in TOK: Writing the New City Book 4, Hart House Review, Kritika Kultura, and various Philippine literary journals.
Kayi Wong completed her BA in English Literature last year and is currently writing, editing, and doing graphic design. After living in Hong Kong and Singapore for many years, she is currently based in Vancouver and has been a member of the Room Collective since 2013.