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River of Love and Other Essays | Stan Chung
"These essays and stories are united by a passion for writing. Writing is a key part of my identity; I write because it is one of the best ways I learn."
So when he took his column in the Okanagan Sunday newspaper into personal experience he was surprised that readers greeted his explorations enthusiastically. Every time he submitted something to the editor that filled him with dread and anxiety, readers rewarded him with emails of praise and encouragement. These emails came in bunches whenever he wrote something that struck an emotional chord with readers. The column began to change as he tried to push the emotional content of the work, to take bigger risks, to talk openly about the suicide of a student, the death of his mother, how his parents abandoned him. Having been taught to take risks in his writing, Stan found that the more he risked, the more he realized that the column was becoming an intensely personal way of connecting with his community.
On the publication of his book, Global Citizen: River of Love and Other Essays, Stan says, "All my romantic notions about what community means and what community can do for you in a reciprocal relationship have been realized. It is a tremendous feeling to hear that you have either made a difference in someone's life or been the catalyst for some personal reflection. The essays and stories in the book are united by a passion for writing. Writing is a key part of my identity; I write because this is one of the ways I learn best. I don't know something until I spell it out. You could say I don't know what I think or feel without trying to write it down in less than 1200 words to an audience of 30,000 Okanagan citizens."
Advance praise for Global Citizen has been universal:
"Stan Chung's Global Citizen pieces play smartly with the reader's expectations. His columns are genre-splicers that showcase story, dialogue, poetic imagery, confession, sensuality, regret, family, death, community, history - each piece, in fact, unfolds like a miniature novel or play. What we encounter are the sounds and visions of a restless, ever-agile creator - it's a gift to have his work collected for us in this volume." - Jake Kennedy, author of Hazard and winner of the 2010 Robert Kroetsch Award
"Stan Chung's essays speak of the details, dreams, desires, and occasional dead ends that map the larger, global experience of the Canadian Everyman/woman. The writing is superb. Chung writes from the heart, the gut, the knees, and generously contributes to the genre of creative non-fiction with a localized, vernacular flair that speaks honestly to the experience of a "global citizen" in small town Canada. In the end, Chung connects the dots between local and global experience through the story-telling itself, through the shared experience of the conflicted, flawed, love-able, and always real human condition. Good stories, good writing, and, a very good read." - Veronica Gaylie, author of The Learning Garden.
"I read every column Stan Chung writes with fascination. He has a rare capacity for exploring his own psyche in a way that connects with mine and, I suspect, with most of us. Always, I am moved - sometimes to laughter, sometimes to a wry grin of recognition, sometimes to tears." - Jim Taylor, columnist, co-founder of Wood Lake Books and author of 17 books
"Stan Chung's unforgettable stories hit on the truth in direct, and sensitive ways. They are told with a beautiful, tender simplicity, and a deep understanding of life and death. Stan Chung has given us unforgettable portraits of everyday people, that emphasize the insight and honesty of the author's own journey to self understanding." - Dorothy Tinning, artist and former Mayor of Penticton
"Stan Chung's columns are intimate conversations with his readers. The fact that he's ruminating in such a personal way on existential questions from middle age sometimes shocks, sometimes nudges readers to remember that a well-lived life begins with paying attention. His columns remind us that the personal and political are deeply intertwined, and that an intellectual life is grounded in the life of the body and spirit." - Francis Greenslade, author of By the Secret Ladder
"I admire the way Stan Chung uses his own self-questioning narrator to ground and personalize the situations, issues and observations he tackles. A refreshing, inclusive honesty surfaces in this collection of essays. When combined with the gift he has for capturing the detail and texture of the lives we all inhabit, the result is writing that matters because it both includes and illuminates." - John Lent, author of Cantilevered Songs
"Stan Chung is the best-loved writer in the Okanagan." - Albert Baldeo
"Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean." - Goethe
Global Citizen came to fruition as a newspaper column in October of 2006. I chose the title because global citizenship is a seductive yet contradictory term. Some prefer the concept because it recognizes the transnational character of our problems. If our problems cross national boundaries, then surely solutions require a mobilization beyond national scope.
However this transnational view of the world is problematic for the average citizen. While we know that many economic, social, and environmental issues require collaborative solutions, it remains difficult for thoughtful people to know what to do. Should we look to keep our own doorways swept clean as Goethe suggests, or go across the ocean and get busy on someone else's doorway?
To be a global citizen may sound like a good thing but how exactly does one choose to behave? How do you make a difference to people who are uneducated, malnourished, victimized by patriarchy and colonialization, made destitute by desertification, without becoming seduced by our own colonizing tendencies?
Will our actions make a difference? Or is the concept of individual action just another way in which true power and authority divert us from the truth?
Closer to home, we try to support our local farmers. If we can, we ride our bikes to work. We hurriedly buy compact fluorescent bulbs while barely realizing the extent of our actions. Our citizenship has been equated more with consumer expenditure and less with protest and critical thinking. Consumer as global citizen turns out to be not only a bit of a contradictory term, but a great deception. - From the introduction
Stan Chung is an award-winning writer, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Camosun College. He was born in Seoul, raised in Williams Lake, and studied at UBC (BA Hons), University of Toronto (MA), and Simon Fraser University (PDP). Stan is well-known for his ability to provide visionary, consultative, and transformative leadership. His 20 years of experience in the BC college sector includes 6 years of senior experience as Director, Associate Dean, Acting Dean and Dean. In 2008 he was selected as one of 230 to attend the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference. A passionate advocate for innovation and learning, he speaks regularly on educational issues while pursuing scholarly interests in transformational learning, community leadership, and advocacy journalism. Stan maintains an active community profile as a writer with over 600 published articles in a variety of publications. He was runner-up at the CBC Literary Awards and has published in AdBusters, Mission Review, Kelowna Daily Courier, Pentiction Herald, and Prince George Citizen. His feature column Global Citizen is published in The Okanagan Sunday. He is married with two young children, and lives in Kelowna and Victoria.
240 pages | paperback | 5.5 x 8.5 inches
ISBN 978-0-9810271-8-0 | Price: $25, plus $7 shipping.
Essays by Stan Chung are available online at his website HERE.