The Next Chapter

Why Carla Funk finally wrote about her small-town Canadian upbringing

The poet wrote a memoir about growing up in Vanderhoof, B.C., called Every Little Scrap and Wonder.
Carla Funk is a poet born in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Greystone Books)
Listen13:29

When Carla Funk moved away from her hometown of Vanderhoof, B.C., she never thought she would want to write about it. As a teenager, she believed that nothing interesting ever happened in her town.

But it was only looking back as an adult that she realized how profoundly her small-town childhood had set the stage for her literary career. It was writing about her childhood for the memoir Every Little Scrap and Wonder that she realized how where she grew up informed the person she is today.

Funk spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Every Little Scrap and Wonder

Small-town wonder

"Growing up, I had no concept that where I actually lived was a small town. As a child you arrive where you arrive and it's your world. To me it felt expansive, it felt full of mystery, oddly.

Vanderhoof was a world of mystery and a world of familiarity.- Carla Funk

"I felt this way about the town because it was rural and spread out over miles and miles. At the same time, there were pockets of the town that were mysterious to me. Vanderhoof was a world of mystery and a world of familiarity."

Two childhoods

"I was very aware, even from a young age, that there were two different ways of living in the world. They were modelled by my mom's side of the family and my dad's side of the family. 

I was very aware, even from a young age, that there were two different ways of living in the world.- Carla Funk

"My mom's side of the family were devout Mennonites and often had large family gatherings. My dad's side was different, down to the food. My mom's side were storytellers and my dad's side was more practical.

"They're both full of love but had very different approaches."

The power of memory 

"Looking back at our childhood, we remember moments that are marked with some strong emotion. It's a little bit like reading a book and folding down the top of the page to come back later to it.

Tension is the fuel that gives a moment its energy- Carla Funk

"There are so many things I remember that are interesting, particularly the moments of tension which are easier to remember. Tension is the fuel that gives a moment its energy."

Carla Funk's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.