Episode 18: Maps & Music

foggy sunrise in British Columbia -- the sun shining through a conifer tree with the rays visible in the fog
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This episode is a Re-Creative first, as Joe and Mark host two guests on the same show. Celu Amberstone and Paula Johanson are both writers and educators with a love of the natural world. They also both live in British Columbia.

Paula’s inspiration is the map, particularly a map of Salt Spring Island, where she lives. Kipling once described the island as one of the most beautiful and temperate places in the world, and Paula agrees. “A map is trying to tell you about how people think about a place,” Paula says. [see below for two of the maps we discussed]

Celu likes to listen to music that gets her in touch with her characters and stories. But it’s not music with lyrics that she can understand; it’s a visceral experience for her. She likes to listen to “Viking”, Celtic and indigenous music. The latter connects, especially, to her own indigenous heritage.

“Tribal music tells me about the people and the land,” Celu says. “If I’m listening to the old people sing, I can feel the land through their songs.”

They both share the idea that geography itself are major characters in their work, with Paula the influence stems from maps and with Celu it’s tonal music that describes the land.

A fascinating and evocative conversation!

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Paula Johanson

Paula is a Canadian writer. A graduate of the University of Victoria, she has worked as a security guard, a short order cook, a teacher, newspaper writer, and more. As well as editing books and teaching materials, she has run an organic-method small farm with her spouse, raised gifted twins, and cleaned university dormitories.

In addition to novels and stories, she is the author of forty-two books written for educational publishers, among them The Paleolithic Revolution and Women Writers from the series Defying Convention: Women Who Changed The World. Johanson is an active member of SF Canada, the national association of science fiction and fantasy authors.

Find Paula’s books at Books2Read! Or, check them out at your local library!

Green Paddler: Paddling without a Vehicle, by Paula Johanson - cover art for the book depicts a kayaker with one paddle up int he air
Cover for the Dream-Chosen (Tales of the Kashallans: Book 1) by Celu Amberstone. Artwork is light green stylized animal on a dark green background.

Celu Amberstone

Celu is of mixed Cherokee and Scots-Irish ancestry, and she was one of the few young people in her family to take an interest in learning Traditional Native crafts and medicine ways. This interest made several of the older members of her family very happy while annoying others.

Legally blind since birth, she has defied her limitations and spent much of her life avoiding cities. Moving to Canada after falling in love with a Métis-Cree man from Manitoba, she has lived in the rain forests of the west coast, a tepee in the desert and a small village in Canada’s arctic. Along the way she also managed to acquire a BA in cultural anthropology and an MA in health education. Celu loves telling stories and reading. She lives in Victoria British Columbia near her grown children and grandchildren.

Discover Celu’s books at Books2Read! Or, check them out at your local library!

Photo Credit: A “fogust” morning in BC, by Jaxon Castellan at the top of the page.

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