Claiming Space

Claiming Space: A re-centring of literary and artistic esteem onto experiences that don’t fit what’s taken as the status quo.

When I joined the collective and signed on to serve as editor of this issue, I had no idea what I had gotten myself in to.

An un-themed issue can be such a strange beast: at once invigorating by its lack of restrictions on theme and direction, and also downright terrifying because of its lack of restrictions on theme and direction! It’s like being handed a box of bricks that’s the size of a small city then being told, “Go build something. In no more than a few months. Oh, and preferably some-thing awesome.”

What emerged in the months that followed, however, shaped up to be an intriguing collection of works that pushes the boundaries of what Room represents in ways I didn’t expect. Marika Echachis Swan’s (Tla-o-qui-aht Nation) cover image The Side Dancer’s Gift celebrates the necessity and strength of female roles in Tla-o-qui-aht potlatches; Hiromi Goto’s featured story “Covalent Bond” explores the relationship between a first generation Canadian-born daughter and her immigrant Japanese mother, with a dark twist; in my interview with Cecily Nicholson, she discusses the many social and political threads that flow through her every day, and how they keep her looped in to her poetry and the communities she holds herself responsible to.

Unifying all these disparate calls is an unwavering insistence on privileging narratives that lie outside of what’s seen as “conventional.” The precise definition of what’s “in” and what’s not can be easily (and lengthily) deconstructed then debated, but what these works achieve is a re-centring of literary and artistic esteem onto experiences that don’t fit what’s taken as the status quo. Don’t believe me? Read on and see for yourself. Sweep out the overabun-dance of what you already know for something different, something else. Through these stories, poems, and pieces of visual art, allow yourself to make a little Room for something more (chuckle chuckle; couldn’t resist).

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