Project Compass is a collective novel that I published last month. It is written by four people. Each author took a character and started them at one corner of the map of Edmonton and then that character worked his/her way towards the center at the end of the novel. It is a very cool book and I’m very proud of it and the four writers who worked so hard on it. Every day this week I’m writing something about each of the authors. Today is Kristina Vyskocil and her part of the novel, South.
South, Kristina Vyskocil
Terri, the main character in South, is not having a good day. She has probably not been having a lot of good days recently but when we find her she is definitely at a low point. Recently single, jobless, homeless (if not for mother’s basement) and she just can’t seem to get her shit together. Terri might not be the most likeable character but she is a sympathetic one- at least in my mind.
Kurt Vonnegut said that your characters should always want something, even if it’s a glass of water. The mundane tasks that Terri needs to accomplish to get through her day or nothing special but to her they are what need to be done to help her feel like she’s not just a lump in her mother’s basement. If she can accomplish a few “adulting” tasks throughout the day then maybe she can just figure out her future and her own place in it. She’s a character who’s looking for catharsis or to make a grand gesture to but she doesn’t know how to achieve either.
The beauty of South is in the banal. It’s being stuck in a traffic jam, the crunch of your morning cereal, the feeling of rain on your face. It’s everywhere and it’s nowhere. Nothing comes easy in this story except the prose. I have always loved the way Kristina focuses on the tiny moments in her fiction. Her writing is always delicate and deft and and South is no different.
For as long as I have known Kristina Vyskocil I have always admired her creativity, her curiosity and her work ethic. I’m jealous of all three of those things. Having her work on this project is my way of keeping my eye on her and it’s nice to be on the same team for this book. I’m so glad to have her on board for this project and I know that South is a fine addition to the novel.
If you like Kristina Vyskocil as a person or as a writer then you should consider buying a copy of Project Compass for yourself. You can find it in any bookstore in Edmonton or online at Indigo or right here.