It’s been a very busy week and a half with the Toronto International Film Festival going on, but I did get a poetry reading in. I performed a few pieces exclusively for Lindsay Cahill’s HOMER’S ODYSSEY. It was a wonderful event where I had people yelling at a cardboard cloud I made. We’re all Abe Simpson, it’s true.
The great and all knowing AG Pasquella (an awesomely talented writer and funny guy) tagged me for this Writerly Blog Tour that’s going around. Here are my answers (written while high on Dayquil – summer colds suck).
What I’m working on.
I have a book proposal on a film I love and a poetry book manuscript making the rounds. In the meantime, I’m writing my first full novel manuscript. It’s hard for me to describe, but it’s set in various cities with a main character I’ve grown very attached to. I have no idea when it’ll be done, but out of the many manuscripts I’ve stuffed uncompleted in a drawer, this one has stubbornly wanted finishing. If I put it down, it nags and nags until I work on it again. It’s really weird, but I’ll take it.
Look for one of my short stories in a modern bestiary anthology by Stone Skin Press coming out at the end of this year.
I’m still copying Ulysses by James Joyce by hand and almost finished remixing George Orwell’s 1984 with stories from The Wall Street Journal. I’m going insane with conceptual work like this, but it’s for me and I get an enjoyment out of it. There’s always new stuff that comes to mind and new collaborations that keep popping up because of it. I love playing with words and conceptualism is a fascinating way of doing that.
And poetry. As long as I live and breathe I will always write poetry.
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I’m not sure! Although I’m of the camp of poets that believe that there’s nothing original that hasn’t been thought of before, I also believe in innovation and individuality. Innovation is the birth of originality. You can only remake fire if you change the environment. So let’s birth a new way of writing stories or poems. The stars will shine at night and writers will come up with various ways of describing them, but in the end, the stars still shine at night. Let’s describe new things and come up with words or sounds or colours for the specific emotions we feel when we miss the ice cream truck. Let’s make a new alphabet.
I’m a looney tunes as it is. Knowing a lot of quirky writers like me, (hello AG and Shari!), I write down whatever comes to my head and sometimes by some freak accident a story I like comes together. I write about random things and the tiny things (real or unreal) in life that make my life interesting as a whole.
Like this keyboard. Damn I need to clean my keyboard.
Why do I write what I do?
I write whatever is in my head or what’s right in front of me. Writing, of any kind, is a release for me. When it’s work, like film or book criticism, it’s a way of expressing an opinion. I’ve got all this “useless” information on cinema gathered up since I was a kid that I try to put it to use.
I’m not a very talkative person, but I like expressing myself with words on paper (or on the screen). I can get frustrated with it, put it away, and then come back to expand upon thoughts or the worlds I’ve created. When it’s something with a deadline, it’s all I’ll think about until it’s done.
I spend most of my time observing since I often get tongue tied. If I haven’t said something in person, you can be sure that I’ll find a way to put in my stories, book, or a review. But most of all, I write because I’ve always wanted to and have.
How does my writing process work?
I wake up at 5am and go for a small run, get home and write whatever I thought about during the run. Shower, get the kids ready for school, and then sit down to write. If I have nothing to do, I’ll write until lunch time and if I’m busy, I’ll start writing at 7pm until bedtime. I also meditate three times a week. I find it gives me a clean slate.
Brainstorming is enough to get me going these days. If I get blocked (which I did once from the age of 15-30), I’ll re-write a favourite paragraph from a book I like and then go from there. It helps unblock and flush out the brain and it’s a good way of learning great narratives from the work you admire. This includes Andy Capp strips.
Other writers on this tour:
Rebecca Rosenblum * Julia Zarankin * Maria Meindl * Ayelet Tsabari * Angie Abdou * Kathy Para* Theodora Armstrong * Eufemia Fanetti * Janie Chang * Lorna Suzuki * Barbara Lambert * Matilda Magtree * Alice Zorn * Anita Lahey * Pearl Pirie * Julie Paul *Sarah Mian * Steve McOrmond * Susan Gillis * Jason Heroux* Heidi Reimer* Suzanne Alyssa Andrew* Lindsay Gibb* Shari Kasman* AG Pasquella