No personal updates this week except to say: the work continues…
Today’s interview will take us all the way to Turkey, from there along the Silk Road to India, and we’ll even take a (simulated) trip to Mars.
Well, no it won’t – but Kate Harris‘ Lands of Lost Borders will take readers to these places.
Before that, though, a bit about my most recent, decidedly less adventurous trip – to the Danforth, to a neat little “Japanese comfort food” restaurant known as Sakawa Coffee (they might sell coffee, but I didn’t notice, being too busy with gyoza, ramen and Asahi Super Dry). Some old friends and I met there and, courtesy of an arts grant, we had dinner and dove into a three-hour interview. I was also given hours and hours of digitized Super 8 footage recorded back in our days of slinging whiskey & water for Japanese salarymen. Short of finding a time machine and returning to Nagano in 1996, this was probably the best way for me to research my current novel. On top of that, I got to go sing karaoke songs in tribute to our recently departed friend, Tanaka Kazumasa (who is likely singing “Sister Golden Hair” on celestial karaoke as we speak).
Never let it be said that research is boring.
Harris didn’t ‘research” Lands of Lost Borders: Out Of Bounds on the Silk Road. She lived it, and she lived it hard – a multi-month bicycle journey down the legendary trading route known as the Silk Road. The story of her journey is incredible, but there’s so much more here than travelogue or memoir. The book is filled with vivid imagery, insightful philosophy, fascinating history, and much more. I did my best not to fan-boy (can I use that as a verb?), but listen and see for yourself. Enjoy!
Pretty excited about some upcoming things, including this weekend. I’m off to Toronto to do research for the novel-in-progress. Wish me luck.
In the meantime, this week’s show featuring an interview with poet Ben Robinson, author of the (now sold-out) chapbook, Mayami. Listen for some local lit news and a book recommendation from author and explorer Kate Harris as well. Enjoy!
Hope all is super. Just an episode of the show today – this week featuring Dana Hansen, Editor-in-Chief of the Hamilton Review of Books, talking about their upcoming fundraiser. Also a reading from What We Salvage by David Baillie, whose new book Little Bones will be coming out in 2019 with CZP! Dig it.
Hey folks and fellow writers,
Been a busy, productive week behind the keyboard. I’ve yet to join the 5 am club, but the 6 am club is working just fine (okay, 6:30, whatever). 1500 words in a morning makes me feel like a writing machine. It’s horrible, of course, but…it’s a rough draft.
In other personal news, it appears that someone from the town of Perth, Scotland picked up my novel The Captain of Kinnoull Hill, enjoyed it, and passed on the word to some other folks from/in the city. Response has been reasonably good so far, and I’ve sold a few. The book was published in 2016…you never know what’ll cause interest in your work to perk up, years later!
This week’s show features an interview with Hamilton author and poet Chris Pannell. Chris is a member of the LitLive committee, and recently won the Hamilton Literary Award for Poetry with his collection Love, Despite the Ache. Hope you enjoy the show!
I want to take this moment to say I’m super excited about my own book-related things at the moment. First of all, I have finally been reviewed! The Captain of Kinnoull Hill was reviewed by the excellent Mark Sampson in the newest issue of Hamilton Arts and Letters. READ THE REVIEW HERE!!!
I also want to thank my new best friends at the Ontario Arts Council, as well as my publisher Palimpsest Press, for the Recommender’s Grant I just received. It’s my first-ever arts grant. Not sure if that makes me part of a club but it sure helps pay the bills and allows me more time to write, which is the point!
Today on the show, poet Domenico Capilongo talks about his latest, Send, out with Guernica Editions. We also hear Pasha Malla read from Fugue States, while my pal Olga Kwak reviews the latest from Jan Wong, Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy and China. Hope you enjoy!
Tom Wilson and I are friends. I’m not saying we’re not besties. We don’t grab coffee once a week. In fact, we have probably never arranged to meet up except to do interviews. Doesn’t matter. There’s a Hamilton-bred loyalty there.
I’ve known Tom since I was an undergrad at McMaster. I was already kicking around with rock’n’roll types, being in a band myself. I met Tom’s bandmate Dan Achen through his then-wife Judy Donnelly, and soon met the rest of Junkhouse. I got to hear the early shows, got to hear a sneak preview of Jesus Sings the Blues (in the Sony studios, no less), but most of all, I got to hear the stories.
If you’ve seen him perform, you already know what a storyteller Tom is, so his new book seems like a natural step for him. Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home is, as Tom says, a collection of stories that pave the road to where Tom Wilson is today. Reading this book, it comes across as what he says it is – a love letter to the people who have helped him through life, as well as a love letter to the city of Hamilton.
We sat down in Tom’s living room, on a wintery afternoon, to talk about the book and whatever else came to mind. Somehow, though I was only a foot or two away, my voice is distant on this recording. Don’t let it distract you – I don’t have much interesting to say. Tom, on the other hand, certainly does. Hope you enjoy the show.
It is with great pride that I can tell you I did not win at this week’s 24th annual Hamilton Literary Awards.
Lemme explain that further: if you’ve gotta lose, lose to a Leacock Medal winner. It’s hard to feel like you lost anything when you are in such esteemed company. It’s surreal to even have my name on that finalists list, given the list included Caroline Stellings, Gary Barwin and Brent Van Staalduinen. Gary took the fiction prize, as he should have. I did what was probably the best reading of my new career so far, so I’m happy as hell about the whole thing. Plus I got to hang out with the amazing people I’ve been meeting on the Hamilton lit scene. Kudos to the other winners as well – Chris Pannell for poetry, Shawn Selway for non-fiction, and Andrew Baulcomb, winner of the Kerry Schooley Award. Way to clean up, Wolsak & Wynn!
Today’s show features an interview with lawyer, musician, political consultant, commentator and (of course) author, Warren Kinsella. His book Recipe for Hate has been receiving a lot of attention lately and its combination of politics and punk rock meant it was pretty much in my wheelhouse. Hope you enjoy the show.
Hi folks! I’m back, I’m over the jet lag, I’m marginally together again. Just in time for our first anniversary! GET LIT E01 aired on my birthday, 2016. Our guest was the ever-generous and incredibly talented Gary Barwin. I had no idea the show would be sustainable, but here we are, a year later with no signs of stopping.
Speaking of Gary, I’m humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as him, let alone nominated alongside him, but…The Captain of Kinnoull Hill is a finalist for Best Fiction at the Hamilton Arts Council’s Literary Awards. The event happens Monday, November 27, 7 pm, at Theatre Aquarius’ Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre, in the Dofasco Centre for the Arts.
On this show we’re joined by Noelle Allen of Wolsak and Wynn, who is also a member of the Hamilton Arts Council’s Literary Advisory Committee and one of the event organizers. Also listen in as Hamilton Review of Books Editor-in-Chief Dana Hansen joins us to review Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Hope you enjoy!
A few weeks ago I took to the Hivemind (read: Facebook) to ask peoples’ advice on how I should proceed on writing the new novel (which I now have under the working title “River, Diverted” but I dunno…”Diverted” is a weird word and the comma is possibly pretentious)(River is my main character, BTW). Everyone and their dogs agreed, write all of the words and sort it out later. I grudgingly agree – “grudgingly” because it means a rough draft could be years in the making.
Structure is a difficult thing. Unless you’re starting at A and going to B, with little backstory, it’s easy to get bogged down. My story takes place in the present but the past is a huge element of the plot, to the point where it is almost a separate timeline – but this was a surefire way to end up with a 1,000 page (read: unpublishable) novel.
Enter this here radio show/podcast. I read about a book a week in order to stay on top of interviews, and recently I read This Side of Sad (Goose Lane) by Karen Smythe. It’s a book with no present tense to speak of, and no traditional plot to speak of…and it works incredibly well. The narrator remembers her past in short sections, paragraphs a half-page long or less, presented in an order that seems random but, of course, was probably painstakingly assembled (I’ll find out when I interview her). Her structure may have cracked this story open for me, giving me a way to illuminate important moments without dedicating entire chapters to them.
The takeaway is, writers – keep reading!
Two guests today. First up, Chris Pannell, a Hamilton writer who is part of the LitLive committee. We discuss LitLive, a long-standing reading series in Hamilton (and I’ll be making my LitLive debut this coming Sunday, Oct 1, so if you’re around, come on by! 7:30 pm at the Staircase Theatre.