I’m excited to announce that my story “The Magazine” was accepted for publication in Plenitude Magazine, Canada’s online queer literary magazine. I’m thankful to the people at Moosemeat, my writing group, for the insightful feedback and criticism I got when I first presented the story to the group. Without their valuable responses I wouldn’t have been able to find a home for this story.
I get like this every now and then: I get a hankering for a good, solid collection of stories. So it was very fortuitous, while recently browsing in a second-hand bookshop, that I noticed the spine of a book called Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta. Sounds like the name of a story collection, I thought, and indeed it was—an exceptionally good one at that.
In the same way that it had become an enjoyable habit to read another volume of Proust’s massive novel every few months, so it has also become a pleasure to intermittently return to Anthony Powell’s twelve-part novel A Dance to the Music of Time. His dry, subtle humour, his inimitable style, not to mention all those marvellous sentences, is always a treat to come back to. So it is with the sixth volume, The Kindly Ones.
This past summer a friend of mine went to Ireland on vacation, so I asked him to bring me back a novel or story collection by some up-and-coming Irish writer I might not have heard of here in Canada. What he returned with was Donal Ryan’s 2012 debut novel, The Spinning Heart. For a long time I put off reading it for one reason alone: the title; I feared sentimentality. But this past week I gave it a go, and I’m glad that I did.
Please join me Wednesday, August 8th, at Another Story Bookshop. I'll be reading from my collection of stories and discussing the value of writing groups alongside Mary Lou Dickinson, Ele Pawelski, and Heather J. Wood, all members of Moosemeat, the writing group I belong to. Another Story is located at 315 Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto, and the event starts at 7. For more information, click here. Hope to see you there!
For a brief period, my story "Stunts" is up online on the TNQ website and available to be read for free. (Subscribers to the magazine can access the story online anytime.) So check it out, though I should tell you it's a bit of a lengthy piece. Oh, and I love the graphic they've chosen to go with the story. It's the perfect image! Enjoy!
Just a reminder that I'll be reading this coming Monday, May 7th, at 8 pm at the Words at the Wise reading series. I'm especially excited because I'll be reading alongside Dan Perry (who has a brand new book out called Nobody Looks that Young Here), plus Alice Pelot, as well as our host, Andrew J. Simpson. Wise Bar is located at 1007 Bloor St. West, and for more details click here. Hope to see you there!
Super excited to see my story "Stunts" out now in the latest issue (#146) of The New Quarterly. Thanks to the people at Moosemeat, my writing group, for their thoughtful feedback when the story was first workshopped, and to Pamela Mulloy, Editor of TNQ, for accepting the story. Check it out!
Please join me Monday evening, May 7th, at Wise Bar at 1007 Bloor St. West in Toronto. I've been invited back to read at the Words at the Wise Reading Series. At the moment, I'm not sure who else will be reading that evening, but I'll post again when I do. In the meantime, for more information about the host, Andrew Simpson, and the reading series, please click here. The event starts at 8 pm. Hope to see you there!
It goes without saying that something can’t be all that funny if you need to have the humour pointed out to you. I am faced with this argument every semester when I teach The Death of Ivan Ilych and I need to point out to my students (blank-faced with scepticism) that the first chapter of Tolstoy’s novella is actually quite funny. But maybe their failure to see the humour is more indicative of where we stand as a reading culture (or lack thereof) and our preoccupation with our devices and the never-ending distraction they provide the instant we are bored. Or maybe the failure to see the humour is indicative of one’s own maturity as a reader. I mulled over these ideas as I read the first two books of Anthony Powell’s twelve-part novel, A Dance to the Music of Time. On one hand, I recognized on an intellectual level that much of what he was writing about was humorous, yet at the same time I felt that his novel was marred by stretches of longueur, and I started to think that Powell and the world he depicts is an anachronism, belonging to a world not only long gone and forgotten but also irrelevant (in a way that Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is not). Or maybe Powell is simply an acquired taste. Whatever it is, all my former ambivalence about Anthony Powell suddenly went out the window this time as I reluctantly returned to his novel and cracked open the third book in the series, The Acceptance World. It was a book, I discovered, that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.