On Fiction, Nonfiction and Femininity

I never promised you a rose garden.

As I have known for a long time writing in a “difficult” way about “difficult” things is not an easy path. One or the other one can sometimes get away with, but rarely both, especially at the same time. Nevertheless I still do it, and will continue doing it, because that’s the way I write and what I have to say. Which doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to learn; I just don’t plan on turning into anyone else. Unfortunately this doesn’t always go down well, not unexpectedly. The review of my book in the National Post last week made that clear. Nevertheless, I take certain aspects of it as a compliment. Clearly, Something about the Animal got under the reviewer’s skin, rattled him considerably. He also had to concede that I can write. I wish he had not misrepresented certain aspects of the book to potential readers, but on the other hand know that many of them will be perfectly capable of reading between the lines. » more

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Launch, Lawrence and later …

Men do not wear high heels, but they still suffer. “He could now walk almost without pain”: The Prussian Officer. Since reading that sentence I want to write a story from it. My high school English teacher adored Lawrence and as a result I knew every nook and cranny of Sons and Lovers by age sixteen (those being pretty steamy nooks and crannies of course). David Herbert Lawrence may not have been a Serious Lady but he was certainly a very Serious Gent, and I find myself returning to his stories and poems with renewed respect after mocking his loin-filled novels for too many years. Class, passion, nature–all my favourite topics. Thanks to Keath Fraser for reminding me of this.

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We have lift-off/ Scroll down for contest!

Well the sun is finally out here (at least for the weekend) and I’m looking forward to launching Animal at the Café Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive Sunday night. It’s also Italian Days on the Drive so the mood should be festive—especially if the Canucks win their game on Saturday night. The talented Phil DeMarsh will be playing some moody guitar music, my friend and fellow poet/writer Fiona Tinwei Lam will be MC’ing and the tenaciously independent (and very local)  People’s Co-op Books will be hosting the book table. So if you are in Vancouver do come, 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Free admission! I will also probably be wearing lipstick (a rare event). » more

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On Carson McCullers, Hokkaido and Fictional Voice

“It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world.”

— Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding.

 

“Miss Amelia was rich. In addition to the store she operated a still three miles back in the swamp, and ran out the best liquor in the county. She was a dark, tall woman with bones and muscles like a man. Her hair was cut short and brushed back from the forehead, and there was about her sunburned face a tense, haggard quality. She might have been a handsome woman if, even then, she was not slightly cross-eyed.”

— Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.
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Busy, busy, busy…

A lot has happened since my last entry. Something about the Animal has been released and I now have twenty copies of my own to paw with sweaty, eager hands (or preferably for other people to).  I am now thinking about the Vancouver launch on June 5 (two days before my **th birthday) and exactly how much to ham it up. » more

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A lady abroad, a lady adrift.

Two Serious LadiesDear serious (and frivolous) ladies and gentlemen: welcome to my blog. As a writer of short fiction, nonfiction and poetry with a first collection of short stories out this spring, my intention here is to explore and examine short fiction, amongst other concerns, e.g. the world, along with writing in other genres (poetry, nonfiction) from a female, writerly and idiosyncratic angle and to refrain from gushing on too much about How Great it is to Be in Print (which, of course, it is, but that’s beside the point). Seeking a title and muse for this lofty enterprise I lit upon the marvelously fucked-up genius Jane Bowles and her irreducibly peculiar novel, Two Serious Ladies, published to praise and derision in 1943. In particular, I was drawn to Bowles’s use of the word “serious.” To quote Lorna Sage, “[Bowles] attached a special, semi-private meaning to the word ‘serious.’ For her, being serious meant risking the possibility that you were meaninglessly weird, an existential Calamity Jane… It also, however, meant writing with panache, hilarity and devastating insight on the very edge of that particular abyss.” My intention here is to write both with and about such very vexing and, perhaps, uniquely female forms of seriousness as they can be addressed through short stories in particular and literature in general, and along the way not take myself too seriously, in between being very serious indeed. I will begin by focusing on a series of stories written by a variety of serious ladies who both inspire and aggravate in equal measure, and in doing so hopefully uncover some interesting insights. I will also reflect on my own writing and reading processes, the fabulous, perilous enterprise of publication, and beyond that, the conundrums of making art that seeks both to unsettle and entertain.  I hope to have fun, spark some interesting dialogue and make good use of the energy this space is. If any of this intrigues you, do check back.

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