FROM THE HEART

Geist - - Endnotes - —Michal Kozłowski

From the Heart of It All: Ten Years of Writ­ing from Van­cou­ver’s Down­town East­side (Ot­ter Press), edited by Heidi Greco, is the lat­est and fi­nal an­thol­ogy to come from Thurs­days Writ­ing Col­lec­tive, a group of writ­ers who met in a room at the Carnegie Li­brary at Hast­ings and Main streets in Van­cou­ver (of­ten re­ferred to as Canada’s poor­est postal code) ev­ery Thurs­day af­ter­noon for two hours from 2008 un­til 2018. From the Heart of It All gives us a glimpse of Van­cou­ver dur­ing a tu­mul­tuous time of hy­per-de­vel­op­ment, as seen by mem­bers of a com­mu­nity who are of­ten the first to ex­pe­ri­ence the ef­fects of what some call ur­ban re­newal and oth­ers call gen­tri­fi­ca­tion. A launch for the book was held this past spring at a café in the Van­cou­ver Film School, an in­sti­tu­tion that has, over the last decade, taken over a hand­ful of build­ings on the Down­town East­side. At the launch, con­trib­u­tors dropped their names into a hat and when their name was pulled they were al­lot­ted three min­utes on stage to read their bit. The evening was em­ceed mas­ter­fully, in a hurry-up of­fence style, by the Van­cou­ver writer Am­ber Dawn: no lin­ger­ing, just say your piece and give the stage to the next per­former. The re­sult­ing read­ings were earnest and of­ten hu­mor­ous, the mood cel­e­bra­tory and up­lift­ing. The last speaker of the night an­nounced that a new writ­ing col­lec­tive—the Down­town East­side Writ­ing Col­lec­tive—was start­ing up to re­place the Thurs­days Writ­ing Col­lec­tive, and would be meeting at the same time, in the same place— hope­fully for many years.

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