Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

drogers's blog

nerves

So tomorrow (October 13) is my book launch. It's at the Gladstone Hotel in the ballroom and the doors open at 7pm.

And I'm pretty nervous today.

fishing

I haven't done this in a while, but I used to like going fishing in the Toronto Public Library system. Whenever I was passing a small branch library and had the time to spend, I'd check out the shelves to see what they might have that I might find of use. (This is similar to my habit of scouring used bookstores, but — even with the odd late fee — much more affordable.) I find that small libraries have the most idiosyncratic collections and I like the surprise of seeing which books catch my eye. This is how I discovered the work of Norval Morrisseau.

distraction

I'm feeling very distracted. It's gloomy and windy — where are those crisp, blue-skied October days I dream about? aren't we going to get enough grey all winter long? — and it's making it difficult for me to concentrate. I have a couple things I wanted to talk about, but I am not in the mood. So I'm just going to let my mind wander lonely as a (menacing, ever-present) cloud over a few items of possible interest.

music plus poetry doesn't have to be scary

I've been thinking a lot about Jim Carroll since he died last month. On an impulsive stop into Balfour Books on College today I picked up a copy of his last collection, Void of Course: Poems 1994-1997. (I also bought The Europe of Trusts by Susan Howe, The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and a New Directions annual from 1950 with work by Paul Eluard, Mina Loy, Henry Miller, Charles Olson, and Kenneth Rexroth, but back to JC...)

hey friend

I finished reading The Yage Letters by Burroughs and Ginsberg this weekend (I'd set it down and picked it up again; it's short enough to read in a single sitting if you feel like it) and it got me to thinking about the effect of friendship on a writer's development. I was going to write "literary friendship," but that qualification seems pointless. A good friendship includes a healthy discussion of ideas and world views and the sharing of sources and obsessions, regardless of whether or not both parties follow the same artistic or career path. To paraphrase an anti-racism public service announcement from my childhood, I think of my friends who write as my friends, not as my Writer Friends. But having said that, there is a distinct tone to the relationships writers have with each other.

elate spirit and deflate ego

I am obsessed with used bookstores. I can be a bit of what a friend of mine would call a "nostalgia fetishist" and I don't really see the point in fighting it. It's not that I'm caught up in the myth of the perfect past — times have always been a mix of crummy and wonderful and I imagine it will always be this way — it's just that I am so in love with the uncovered artifact. This has a lot to do with why I also love shopping in thrift stores and buying vintage clothes — there's something deeply satisfying about being the one who discovers a gem adrift in a sea of crap and saves it from oblivion. I once found a signed, first edition copy of Canadian poet Daryl Hine's The Wooden Horse for a couple bucks at Goodwill. (I unwisely sent it to a poet I admired who loved Hine's work.

book commercials can be cool

So I have to start this blog out with a confession: I don't go to half as many literary events as I would like to support. By hermit standards, I'm out all the time, but increasingly — the more I write, actually — I find that I don't make all the launches, fundraisers, and readings that I intend to, even the ones I'd really like to see. Last night, I wanted to go to Zoe Whittall's launch for her new novel, Holding Still For As Long As Possible (Anansi), at the Gladstone, but in fact I was stuck at home weaving a cushioned seat for a reproduction Shaker elder's chair out of chair tape. (I'm serious — I need this chair finished for my own launch on October 13 — I'll explain its significance in a later post.)

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