Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

There's No Hacky Sack Allowed in the Bookstore

Share |

This is my last blog entry as Writer-In-Residence for Open Book Toronto. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve gained a new appreciation for bloggers and daily newspaper columnists. It was also a good exercise and I learned a lot from it. Here in no particular order, are a few stray notes, thoughts and observations from my month at OBT:

- My handwriting, my own invention, ‘Caps In Cursive,’ is getting harder to read. I never thought that could be possible.

- Sometimes I miss using pencils. I think I might begin either alternating pencil days with uni-ball pen days, or maybe using only the pen at my desk and pencils in the kitchen. I might be over-thinking this.

- I should read more poetry.

- True story: I had to tell a kid (about 14 years old) to stop kicking around his hacky sack. He seemed surprised, either that hacky sack wasn’t allowed in the store, or that someone basically told him he couldn’t just do whatever the hell he wanted. I couldn’t tell. He was wearing those Bieber-style sunglasses. What’s more, a parental unit was standing a few feet away. Too bad. I was standing next to a remainder copy of a medical dictionary, and the kid was within swinging reach.

- Ice cream tastes better when one is away on vacation.

- I should read more travel literature.

- I’m anxious to get back to work on the Maiden Lane manuscript. Characters can become like old friends, even the hardened criminals. I’m suddenly reminded of Nora Charles’ line in the film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man: “Oh, Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people.”

- Something’s going to get wet, either the laptop or my notepad. I should take an Etch-A-Sketch instead to work at the beach. They’re waterproof, right? Then I can make pictures too.

- If you return to a manuscript after having put it down for a while, and you come a across a passage and your first reaction is, ‘oh, that again,’ you can probably safely delete it. Conversely, if your reaction is, ‘oh, did I write that?’ it might be a keeper.

- Forget snow; there should be 50 words for ‘sand.’

- I seem to remember something about Leo DiCaprio starring in another film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Did anyone else hear that?

- Sometimes after I think I’m done shuffling sentences and paragraphs around in a Word document, I’ll print off the passages, chapters in question, look at them on paper, and then take a pair of scissors to the pages and shuffle the sentences and paragraphs again. I’ll arrange the snippets on the floor in one long column of lines. Different ways of reading the same manuscript. Sometimes you see new things.

- What do you snack on while reading/ writing? My tastes run towards popcorn (no butter or topping of any kind), or dry roasted fingers. No greasy fingers.

- Researching Riverside Drive and Maiden Lane, I can across many interesting articles and references to agriculture, cooking and diet in Essex County in the first part of the last century. Makes me want to write a food book. Hmm…

- If you read for business, what do you turn to for pleasure, when you have a chance to read what you want to read? Is it something completely different, a guilty pleasure? Right now I'm eyeing a reading copy of the soon-to-be released The Most of Nora Ephron. Different for me, yes, but I don't feel guilty. Do ever feel like you're having an affair with another author when you change things up like that?

- Wow, I leave town and Dundurn Press (my publisher) buys Thomas Allen Publishers. The Canadian publishing landscape continues to change, this time for the independents. Very exciting news.

I also just learned that my July Writer-In-Residence blog will remain posted for the month of August. (Thanks, OBT!) I’ve been invited to contribute to it again if I wish, and I just might. I’ll be doing a radio interview in Windsor on Friday, August 9, and a book signing the next day at Indigo Lakeshore, both in support of Riverside Drive. Sounds like great blog material. Talk to you then. And thanks everyone for tuning in.

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.

Michael Januska

Michael Januska is an award-winning crime fiction writer whose works include numerous short stories as well as the recent novel Riverside Drive, part of the Border City Blues series set in Windsor. His first book was Grey Cup Century. He lives in Toronto.

Go to Michael Januska’s Author Page