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Vagabond : Venice Beach, Slab City and Points In Between

Vagabond: Venice Beach, Slab City and Points In Between

Ceilidh Michelle
$22.95 Regular price

 


 

A captivating memoir of living on the streets along California’s Highway 1, for fans of Mistakes to Run With and Nearly Normal.

At twenty-one, Ceilidh Michelle was homeless, drifting through countercultural communities along California’s coast, from Venice Beach to Slab City to Big Sur. This restless and turbulent time began when she was sleeping on her sister’s couch in Vancouver and decided to become a yoga disciple in California. Denied entry at the US border in Washington state, and stuck overnight in the Greyhound station, her already shaky pilgrimage began to take another direction, away from the inward sanctuary of an ashram and toward the sea and light and noise of Venice Beach, and eventually up Highway 1 to the desert.

Having spent much of her youth outrunning family turmoil, the peripatetic lifestyle once key to Michelle’s survival is now a habit she can’t or won’t break—unless it breaks her first. Sleeping in parking lots, camping out in abandoned beach cottages and mansions, she finds community, easy and fraught, with fellow travellers: musicians, veterans, ex-cons, addicts, drug dealers, artists and con artists. Still, dreams and fleeting notions of home fuel and shadow every encounter, haunting the places she stays, offering moments of both grace and violence.

Told with deadpan humour and insightful lyricism, Vagabond is an observant and at times shimmering narrative suspended between a traumatic past and an as yet unimagined future. Coursing through it is the story of an emergent writer just beginning to find sanctuary in her own creative instincts.


 

“If Kerouac were a girl out of Nova Scotia who headed to California searching for the one true guru, for a way to live with meaning, open to adventure and pure experience, tying herself to abusive and deranged men because the alternative for a young unattached female on the streets was worse, if this girl Kerouac had an ear for the vernacular of the down and out in America—the dreamers, the downtrodden, the irreparably damaged—and if she were utterly unsentimental about herself and others, as unflinching as a hidden camera in her observations of the passions, the deprivations, the violence and absurdity of life on the street, and if she, having survived this life, somehow sat down long enough, her blood still surging from drugs and drink, to write it all down, it would be this unforgettable book, Vagabond. And we would be grateful.”

–Rachel Rose, author of The Octopus Has Three Hearts

Vagabond is both a cautionary tale about showing up in LA young, poor, alone and without a plan and a stunning portrait of the family you make when running from the family you have.”

–Hayley Gene Penner, author of People You Follow

“This delightful memoir reads like a picaro novel and a Bildungsroman while introducing us to a diverse cast of zany characters and ideologies…The narrative is full of aphoristic sentences, jokes, paradoxes, ironic yet loving observations. You’ll want to hang out with the narrator and her friends, all in search of elusive and esoteric truths, despite their poverty, homelessness, and disorientation. This is a young woman’s On the Road.”

–Josip Novakovich, author of Tumbleweed

“Ceilidh Michelle’s engrossing adventure memoir will never be paired with an inspirational hashtag, and that uniqueness is one of its many strengths. Michelle’s writing shares the blunt honesty and beauty of Yasuko Thanh’s 2019 award-winning memoir, Mistakes to Run With; both books are infused with an authentic insider’s perspective…Michelle is a confident writer with a documentarian’s keen eye. She observes without judgement, injecting this personal story with shots of humour and a seemingly effortless style…fresh new voice.”

–Sue Carter, Quill & Quire

 


Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 9781771622998
Electronic book text
x  - 240 pp
Publication Date: 04/09/2021
BISAC Subject(s): BIO026000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs,BIO022000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women,TRV025130-TRAVEL / United States / West / Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA) 

Description


 

A captivating memoir of living on the streets along California’s Highway 1, for fans of Mistakes to Run With and Nearly Normal.

At twenty-one, Ceilidh Michelle was homeless, drifting through countercultural communities along California’s coast, from Venice Beach to Slab City to Big Sur. This restless and turbulent time began when she was sleeping on her sister’s couch in Vancouver and decided to become a yoga disciple in California. Denied entry at the US border in Washington state, and stuck overnight in the Greyhound station, her already shaky pilgrimage began to take another direction, away from the inward sanctuary of an ashram and toward the sea and light and noise of Venice Beach, and eventually up Highway 1 to the desert.

Having spent much of her youth outrunning family turmoil, the peripatetic lifestyle once key to Michelle’s survival is now a habit she can’t or won’t break—unless it breaks her first. Sleeping in parking lots, camping out in abandoned beach cottages and mansions, she finds community, easy and fraught, with fellow travellers: musicians, veterans, ex-cons, addicts, drug dealers, artists and con artists. Still, dreams and fleeting notions of home fuel and shadow every encounter, haunting the places she stays, offering moments of both grace and violence.

Told with deadpan humour and insightful lyricism, Vagabond is an observant and at times shimmering narrative suspended between a traumatic past and an as yet unimagined future. Coursing through it is the story of an emergent writer just beginning to find sanctuary in her own creative instincts.


 

“If Kerouac were a girl out of Nova Scotia who headed to California searching for the one true guru, for a way to live with meaning, open to adventure and pure experience, tying herself to abusive and deranged men because the alternative for a young unattached female on the streets was worse, if this girl Kerouac had an ear for the vernacular of the down and out in America—the dreamers, the downtrodden, the irreparably damaged—and if she were utterly unsentimental about herself and others, as unflinching as a hidden camera in her observations of the passions, the deprivations, the violence and absurdity of life on the street, and if she, having survived this life, somehow sat down long enough, her blood still surging from drugs and drink, to write it all down, it would be this unforgettable book, Vagabond. And we would be grateful.”

–Rachel Rose, author of The Octopus Has Three Hearts

Vagabond is both a cautionary tale about showing up in LA young, poor, alone and without a plan and a stunning portrait of the family you make when running from the family you have.”

–Hayley Gene Penner, author of People You Follow

“This delightful memoir reads like a picaro novel and a Bildungsroman while introducing us to a diverse cast of zany characters and ideologies…The narrative is full of aphoristic sentences, jokes, paradoxes, ironic yet loving observations. You’ll want to hang out with the narrator and her friends, all in search of elusive and esoteric truths, despite their poverty, homelessness, and disorientation. This is a young woman’s On the Road.”

–Josip Novakovich, author of Tumbleweed

“Ceilidh Michelle’s engrossing adventure memoir will never be paired with an inspirational hashtag, and that uniqueness is one of its many strengths. Michelle’s writing shares the blunt honesty and beauty of Yasuko Thanh’s 2019 award-winning memoir, Mistakes to Run With; both books are infused with an authentic insider’s perspective…Michelle is a confident writer with a documentarian’s keen eye. She observes without judgement, injecting this personal story with shots of humour and a seemingly effortless style…fresh new voice.”

–Sue Carter, Quill & Quire

 

Details


Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 9781771622998
Electronic book text
x  - 240 pp
Publication Date: 04/09/2021
BISAC Subject(s): BIO026000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs,BIO022000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women,TRV025130-TRAVEL / United States / West / Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)