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Singing rivers, talking nature

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Author Chris Czajkowski shares 18 years of experience living in the wilderness at special presentation

WHAT: Slideshow and book talk with writer Chris Czajkowski

WHERE: Myrtle Philip Community School

WHEN: Nov. 14, 8 p.m.

While comparisons with Henry David Thoreau and his famous book Walden; On Life in the Woods are inevitable for any author that heads into the wilderness, builds a log cabin and writes about their experiences in nature, Chris Czajkowski is careful not to give the 19 th century writer and philospher too much respect:

"…Walden was only playing at it, he was only at that Pond, Walden Pond, for a few years and then he went back to the city," said Czajkowski (pronounced Tchaikovksy). "I like his quotes very much, but I found him pretty funny because he didn’t really want to do it for his lifestyle. That’s been my lifestyle now for about 18 years, and I have no intention of changing it."

Back in 1991, Czajkowksi published a book chronicling her experiences at her first wilderness log cabin, which was located near a place called Lonesome Lake, between Williams Lake and Bella Coola. The book, Cabin at Singing River is now in its third printing, and Czajkowski is in her fourth log cabin, more than 40 kilometres from the nearest highway.

In between printings, she also published a book called Life of a Wilderness Dweller. She also has two other books pending publication.

On Nov. 14, she will share a slideshow and stories of her experiences in B.C.’s remote wilderness as a guest of the Whistler Naturalists. She is back in Whistler by popular demand after a successful slideshow and presentation more than two years ago.

Because of the re-release of Cabin at Singing River , she will be showing slides from her days at that cabin and the Lonesome Lake region, as well as from the cabin she is currently living in.

"Because it’s Whistler, I’ll also include a lot of pictures of skiing and people doing things… that’s what people there like to see," said Czajkowski, calling from a friend’s house in Prince George as she launches her book tour.

In her wilderness experience, she once spent more than seven weeks without any human contact. Now she phones to get messages once a week using a satellite phone that is only good for outgoing calls.

Her one new world luxury is a decade-old Apple computer she uses to write, which she powers with a small solar-powered system.

"If I’m not using the computer, then I have electric light. In the heart of winter, when there’s not much light, I use candles to light the keyboard," said Czajkowski.

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