Working with Chapterhouse Publishing, Canadian cartoonist Emmanuelle Chateauneuf is now set to release her debut graphic novel, Queen Street.
Set in the Ontario town of Sault Ste. Marie, known to its residents as “The Soo”, Queen Street follows twelve hours in the life of Aimee, a headstrong working mother, and Melody, her offbeat daughter, whom she’s raising with the help of a close-knit community of eccentric characters.
Though a work of fiction, Queen Street draws closely on author Chateauneuf’s personal experience as the daughter of an immigrant Filipina mother growing up in the Soo. “The whole of Queen Street is relatable to me,” says Chateauneuf. “The book itself is an extension of me; of my spirit, my heart, my mind, my soul… As much as I tried to stay true to the characters, I know that what I wrote was all me. Parts and sides of me I know exist within me… Because I loved those people, you know? I really let them in. They mattered to me, if even momentarily, and because of that they changed me.”
With relationships and the challenges life can throw at you being the main theme of Queen Street, we asked Chateauneuf to put together a playlist of songs that meant the most to her when writing the graphic novel…
Shy Kids – ‘Raise ‘Em Right’
This song sets the tone for the whole graphic novel, really… Parents aren’t ‘parents’. They’re just kids who in time had children of their own.
Ought – ‘The Weather Song’
The excited sound of daily living in the 21st Century! Where you wanna cry, but you wanna laugh! Where you wanna lay down, but you wanna DANCE!
David Bowie – ‘Life On Mars’
We’re all taught to have this vision of ‘the dream’ we’re meant to live, you know? And when that dream isn’t realized, it’s easy to become disillusioned and bored when life fails to meet our expectations. Everyday can feel like a cheap movie set on repeat, showcasing our unrealized hopes and failed attempts at personal fulfillment (whatever the fuck that is), as we watch, alienated from the comfort of what we once thought we knew.
Edith Piaf – ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’
This song is for people like my grandma and Pat, who lived very hard lives, and died either wholly regretting or wholly accepting their decisions… Live bravely and shamelessly regardless of the outcome. Never apologize for having tried, and never regret the profound gift that is your life.
Freddie Aguilar – ‘Anak’
This is a really famous Filipino song, and my mom used to sing it to me all the time as a kid. Sometimes I’d even catch her crying while it played… I think she was thinking of her own mother. “When you were born into this world/ Your mom and dad saw a dream fulfilled/ Dream come true/ The answer to their prayers/ You were to them a special child/ Gave ’em joy every time you smiled/ Each time you cried/ They’re at your side to care/ Child, you don’t know/ You’ll never know how far they’d go/ To give you all their love can give/ To see you through and God it’s true/ They’d die for you, if they must, to see you here”
Alabama Shakes – ‘Don’t Wanna Fight’
Title says it all, really. Only in the past two years have I been able to finally bury the hatchet with my parents concerning their relationship, and the damage it did to me growing up. We’re a highly strung, passionate, dramatic and emotional family. So when it came time to air out our baggage, we really FOUGHT. But, because we did and because we got everything out in the open, we were also finally able to fully heal. I guess, when it comes to committed love, be it familial, platonic, or romantic, you need to learn to lay down your pride and humble yourself, regardless of age, gender, or circumstance… If you care, TRULY CARE, be prepared to work.
Betty Davis – ‘Nasty Gal’
Women and girls alike… Exist in whichever way you damn well want, blast our bae Betty, and TEAR THAT SHIT UP. There is hands down nothing better, more inspiring, or more satisfying than to see a confident, opinionated, gives-no-shits, takes-no-shit, woman. You know who you are, so fuck those who say otherwise. Take charge. Lead.
Yukon Blonde – ‘Iron Fist’
Decisions, decisions… Life is a series of decisions within the context of a tiny picture that fits perfectly imperfectly amongst other tiny pictures, in a interwoven tapestry of infinite possibility … So, now just get over how crazy that is and keep going!!
Jeff Buckley – ‘Mama, You Been On My Mind’
I sometimes wonder what people see when they look at themselves, or even at life… I see magic, honestly. I see complicated, colourful, complex spirits, with stories and voices and endless possibilities of experience and emotion, that I’m excited and inspired by! But then again, that could also just be me.
Doris Day – ‘Que Sera, Sera’
More than once I’ve fallen prey to a particularly beautiful expectation that, in the end, caused more genuine sorrow than happiness. So, I learned to relax – to passionately pursue happiness when needed, but then to also allow room for happiness to pursue me, too. To plan accordingly, but to find pleasure in the surprises that the unknown has to offer. Life is too wonder-filled to want to control! Just let go, have faith!
Listen to Emmanuelle Chateauneuf’s ‘Queen Street Ultimate Mix’ here: