Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Hello Animal Alphabet

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Hello Animal Alphabet

I’ve always found introductions hard, going way back to my days of sweatpants and $9.99 velcros. In elementary school, on the first day of classes, we used to play a game called Animal Alphabet, which was basically twenty of us going around in a circle making faces at each other and eyeing the clock, then naming an animal that began with the first letter of our first names. Brett the Baboon and Angela the Ant are reoccurring motifs in my 1980s imaginary. When it came to my turn I would twist like a screw on the spot and say, “Lauren…uh…” And I am a crazy animal lover.

Now, to begin my introduction in earnest! I’m very excited to be blogging for Open Book Toronto. Not only because I get to be in the company of writers whose books I’ve had on my shelves for years, but also because blogging is still an inscrutable mystery to me – despite being a so-called kid of the so-called digital age (to the makers of Kindle: we still like books! We like how the pages smell!) A year ago I started a blog of my own and decorated it with nonsensical pictures of chicks wearing bowties and other images that never made it into my novel. For a summer, I was attached to my blog the way I was to my scratch n’ sniff diary circa 1994. Then, I began to do final edits on my novel, my blog grew moss, and I felt super guilty. So, I’m looking forward to manicuring and caring for this blog in the way I never did for my first-born. Thank you to Gregory Betts for providing us with such a thorough and interesting introduction to avante garde poetry through the month of June. My shaky hands accept the baton.

What can you expect in the next month? Variety. Mix and match. Separates, as the Sears catalogue calls it. But I do have a strong interest in contemporary fiction by Canadian women, the (sometimes artificial) distinction between YA and literary fiction, the under-valued legacy of Canadian Irish author Brian Moore, new voices in Canadian poetry, and various issues and anxieties in and around my position as a first-time novelist in Toronto, Canada. I’ll also be discussing travel literature as I jaunt to Ocean City, NJ, for a family reunion, where I’ll be wearing my hair big and doing sequins if I can shake this inhibition.

Tomorrow I’m interviewing Anansi poet Michael Lista and taking us on a Scream preview. Happy Canada Day!

Listening to: Jeffery Lewis, ‘Em Are I
Reading: The Collected Works of Leonard Michaels
Read: Deb Olin Unferth’s “Wait Till You See Me Dance” from Harper’s July 2009, and an uplifting fortune cookie message from New Ho King on Spadina.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Lauren Kirshner

Lauren Kirshner is the author of the novel Where We Have to Go (McClelland & Stewart, 2009). Her short stories, arts reviews, interviews and poetry have appeared in newspapers and literary journals such as The Toronto Star, Now, The Hart House Review and Exile.

Go to Lauren Kirshner’s Author Page