Island folks on Gabriola and Salt Spring may wish to take note of these upcoming readings on a topic of interest to a great number of West Coasters.
Complicated Simplicity: Island Life in the Pacific Northwest, by Victoria author Joy Davis, follows the stories of people who lead a self-sufficient lifestyle on remote islands along the BC and Washington coasts.
Davis, who is a former director of heritage and museum programs at the University of Victoria, grew up on a small island in the Strait of Georgia in the 1960s and ’70s. She says her motivation for writing the book relates to her lifelong interest in understanding how people make sense of their heritage.
“My grandfather was a professional mariner and took us along as he explored the coast aboard his sailboat. And my parents worked and lived in logging camps in Haida Gwaii and Sechelt before moving us to Bath Island near Gabriola in 1963. That experience developed my love for island living and my appreciation of the ingenuity and tenacity that is generally involved,” Davis says.
The result is an exploration of “islandness” that draws on many sources—literary, academic, and autobiographical—to highlight the unique aspects of the island lifestyle, the types of people who are drawn to it, and how it shapes one’s sense of identity.
As part of her research, Davis conducted interviews with over twenty individuals who live on small islands in the San Juans, Gulf Islands, Discovery Islands, and Clayoquot Sound.
“I focused on those who choose islands without ferry service, since they deal with the special challenges of getting to and from islands, transporting supplies, and living off the grid,” Davis says. “Their voices are woven through every chapter to share the remarkable experiences, skills, and insights gained in very different settings.”
All are welcome to attend these free presentations of Complicated Simplicity, a book that illuminates aspects of the West Coast experience that have seldom been explored in such depth.
Gabriola Island Public Library, Saturday, June 15, 2:00-3:00 pm
Salt Spring Island Public Library, Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 pm