November 30 Celebration to Mark the Release of Come to the Edge
A book about Del Norte County by Del Norte County
Crescent City, CA – Come to the Edge: Arrival and Survival in Del Norte County is a compelling collection sharing the very real experience of life in Del Norte. In their own words, a diverse array of 41 people who call the county home share their lives and illustrate both the beauty and challenge of such a unique area. The public is invited to a book release celebration November 30 at College of the Redwoods.
Book editor Ruth Rhodes teaches English at College of the Redwoods in Crescent City. In August 2017, she began interviewing Del Norters to get their stories about themselves, their community, and their place in it.
“I was inspired by the growing political polarization I saw happening in the country,” she says. “It made me want to spend more time listening to people who might not see the world the way I did. I wanted to get out of my gradually cementing view of Del Norte County and come to a deeper understanding of the challenges people experienced here.”
After the interviews, Rhodes returned transcriptions to each contributor, asking them to revise however they saw fit—she wanted them to be able to stand behind their words.
Regarding the process, Stephanie Wenning says, “Being interviewed about what it means to ‘belong’ in Del Norte County was a surreal experience,” she says. “It’s something that I had never consciously thought about before, but that was always in the back of my mind, a driving force for leaving and returning and staying. Talking about it and then reading the draft solidified to me that belonging is as much about internal acceptance as it is about the community.”
Readers will appreciate the frankness of the contributors. In an area with some of the lowest health and educational outcomes in the state, people didn’t shy away from the truth. Says Rhodes, “I have a deep admiration for the people who contributed to this book. To share your pain with an interviewer takes trust and to share your pain with the world takes extraordinary courage.”
Contributor Jermaine Brubaker says, “I was grateful for the opportunity to reflect on my experience growing up in Del Norte County as a settler living on Taa-laa-waa-dvn (Tolowa Ancestral Lands) in the village of Taa-‘at-dvn. And have those experiences acknowledged and seen as part of the bigger picture of our community. The struggles and successes that our community has moved through and the future that is envisioned for our community are reflected in not only my experiences but others that call this rural community home.”
It is the intersection of these experiences that makes the entire book such a compelling read. “I don’t imagine a collection of interviews can solve all our community’s problems,” says Rhodes. “But I do believe that listening to the experiences of others—checking our thinking and seeing beyond our natural biases—is critical to moving towards a deeper understanding of the world around us. These memoirs tell us who we are as a community—where the gaps are in our understanding and empathy for one another—and where the points of connection may be.”
The November 30 book release celebration will feature readings by several contributors. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase signed copies. Refreshments will be provided and the 6pm event is free and open to the public. The College of the Redwoods is located at 883 W Washington Blvd, Crescent City, CA 95531.
More about the Editor: Ruth Rhodes has lived in Del Norte County since 2003 and teaches English at the College of the Redwoods. She began writing about local culture through two long-running columns in The Triplicate. “The Localvore” focused on Del Norte foodways and “The Accidental Family,” written by her and other family members, chronicled their family’s expansion to include two teen-aged daughters coming out of the foster care system. Ruth is the author and co-composer of the musical This is Crescent City, produced by Lighthouse Repertory Theatre in 2014.
More information on the book is available here.