Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Stacey May Fowles

Share |
Stacey May Fowles is a writer and magazine professional living in Toronto. Her first novel, Be Good, was published by Tightrope Books in 2007. This Magazine called it “probably the most finely realized small press novel to come out of Canada in the last year.” In fall 2008 she released an illustrated novel, Fear of Fighting, and staged a theatrical adaptation of it with Nightwood Theatre. Her writing has appeared in various online and print magazines and journals, including The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Quill & Quire, Taddle Creek, Hazlitt and Prism. She has been anthologized in Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity; Yes Means Yes; and PEN Canada’s Finding the Words. She is a regular contributor to The National Post books section and currently works at The Walrus. Her latest novel is Infidelity, out this fall with ECW Press.

Visit her website, www.staceymayfowles.com

Send your questions and comments for Stacey May Fowles to writer@openbooktoronto.com

On Writing, with Stacey May Fowles

Stacey May Fowles is Open Book: Toronto's 2013 Writer in Residence.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your new novel, Infidelity.

Stacey May Fowles:

Simplistically, as the title suggests, it’s a novel about an affair — the kind of affair, given the statistics, I imagine happens all the time. Two very different people, both of whom feel trapped by life’s expectations, have a chance meeting and embark on a clandestine relationship. They find solace in each other. Really it’s about the inertia of the thing, how they believe themselves to be powerless to stop it and just give in. It’s about their fear, their excuses, their combined delusion that what they’re doing is wholly justified.

Infidelity

By Stacey May Fowles

From the publisher's website:

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

Open Book Literary Salon: Stacey May Fowles, Brian Francis and Michael Winter!

When

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 7:00pm

Where

The Spoke Club
600 King Street West
4th floor
Toronto, ON
M5V 1M3

Details

Open Book Literary Salon 2014: Advice for Myself — Writers On What They Wish They Knew Back Then

What is the most important advice for a writer just starting out? From craft to career, we're talking to three of Toronto's favourite authors — Stacey May Fowles, Brian Francis and Michael Winter — about what advice they would offer to their younger selves, and to writers getting started today.

Location

The Spoke Club
600 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1M3 43° 38' 40.4052" N, 79° 23' 59.5824" W

Self Care, Or Being More Honest About How Awful It Can Be

A few days ago, a friend joked with me on Twitter that the words “SELF CARE” would make fantastic knuckle tattoos. I may have actually considered the idea for a second. (But I promise, just for a second.)

Missing and Not Missing Fiction

It occurred to me the other day that Infidelity is the last piece of fiction I’ve written. There hasn’t really been anything since. I mean, I know that seems obvious, but I actually “finished” the novel years ago, the mechanisms of publishing so excruciatingly slow, an exercise in patience that refuses to offer any quick and easy gratification. I haven’t started a novel or tinkered with a short story or even scrawled down some ideas since I finished a draft for submission. That moment of completion while stowed away at the Banff Centre during an unusually cold September in 2010 seems so far away now.

Recommended Reading: Comic Book Writer Matt Fraction on Depression

Last week, writer Natalie Zed graciously pointed me in the direction of this piece and it has been on my mind ever since. In it Eisner Award-winning comic book writer Matt Fraction magnificently responds to a difficult question from a reader about suicide and depression.

“Can't there be someone out there who genuinely is tired and doesn't want to continue?”

Fraction’s response is amazingly candid—not the usual shallow self help platitudes about how there’s “so much to live for” or “how it can’t be that bad,” but instead an encouragement to hold close to one small, seemingly absurd thing, and to summon a feeling to care about its outcome.

AN EXCERPT FROM INFIDELITY: A NOVEL

Noah had recently begun writing numbers on the backs of things with a blue ballpoint pen.

It had started with paper—receipts, coupons, five-dollar bills that he would find on countertops and in drawers.

The numbers always seemed random, pointless, meaningless. The doctor told Tamara and Charlie to expect randomness in his behaviour, that it was nothing to worry about. It was normal, or rather normal for abnormal.

Success As A Moving Target

I always wanted to be a writer. There’s a part of me that hates saying that, because it feels cliché, like I’m trying to prove my right to be here—perhaps to myself, perhaps to other people. In fact, I recently saw an online interview with an author who said the very same, and I wanted to punch the answer through the screen. Thing is, writing can be such a painful, ridiculous and unprofitable pursuit, rife with rejection and discouragement, that it actually makes sense we’d have these kinds of stock phrases, systems and mechanisms for proving it’s a good idea.

“So, where did the idea for the novel come from?”

"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means.”
-Joan Didion

One of the most common questions that gets tossed around when someone puts out a book is “So, where did the idea for the novel come from?” Genesis seems to be an important narrative for people—the need for it to be explained showing up in so many interviews and Q&As, and most writers having lovely, well-rehearsed answers about their impetus and their inspiration, their plans and process in the initial stages.

Me? I have no idea. None.

That Thing RA Dickey Said

One of the most memorable moments I’ve had writing for the National Post was the day I interviewed Toronto Blue Jays ace pitcher on the phone from my desk over my lunch break. The Cy Young award-winner called me a few hours earlier than scheduled from spring training in Dunedin, Florida, my caller ID flashing “Toronto Blue Jays” while I scrambled to collect my notes.

Write Every Day, and other lies

I read from Infidelity for the first time at Word on the Street at the end of September this year. After I was done, I sat down at the signing table, and a girl—about eleven or twelve years old—came up to me and asked if she could interview me about “being a writer” for a class assignment. She was nervous yet professional, with a small spiral bound notebook in which she scrawled my answers furiously.

After we had gone through a few of her questions, my practiced responses coming easily, she asked, “What do you do when you can’t write? When you’re blocked?”

The Long Dark: Saying Goodbye to Baseball

Most people crave autumn, but August’s finale guts me. Always the heartbreaking close of summer, no matter the weather, always the beginning of the end of baseball season, which is the beginning of the long dark.
-Holly Wendt

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.