I'm trying to come up with an introductory sentence that will help link together a series of interactions I had yesterday, but I can't.
4:00PM Email to Favourite Writer: Procrastinating on my Evidence summary, I went to the Ottawa Public Library Website and began reserving science fiction novels for my upcoming week off. First, I reserved titles I knew about. Then I searched on favourite author's names. A few of them have books out since last summer when I last did this.
I looked up my favourite author. He had a setback a few years ago. Poor sales on the second novel in a trilogy and the publisher decided not to go with the third book. I decided to send him an email telling him how much I've enjoyed his work, and no pressure, but if he writes more sci-fi, I'll buy.
5:17PM Reply: I received an email with an attachment. My favourite science fiction writer thanked me for my kind words. The attachment is his latest unpublished 381-page novel. Still with his agent. He says, "You may not like it; it's a historical. Tell me any thoughts you have about it if you get a chance to read it."
If I read it? It's a historical -- it might have pirates! Of course I'll read it!
5:30PM Meet a Novelist: Met a gang at the Paradiso, among them is a woman I've never met. The subject of writing comes up. The woman I've never met is Uttara Chauhan, published novelist. [Check it out!] Fact you won't learn from her bio: she watches 4 movies a week.
7:00PM Colin Vincent and Jennifer Whiteford Reading at Octopus Books
I knew I'd like Colin when his first poem started with an admission that he tried to study information theory but couldn't understand the formulas. Just like me. He did something I've never seen a poet do before. He read his first and second drafts along with the final version of the poem he performed in the recent CBC Poetry Slam. Very cool to see how it evolved.
Jennifer Whiteford read a delightful series of entries from her diary-style novel Grrrl and then an entire story, Typical Girls, she had published in Razorcake. About two high school girls who switch from being death metal headbangers to being punk rockers. I jotted down two lines that got hearty laughs:
"We're not gay, we just dress funny."
"Punk girls don't go around giving blow jobs... It really is the more feminist option."
If you get a chance to see Jennifer read, take it. [The next such chance will be the launch for Grrrl at the Manx on June 3, probably at 5pm.]
10:00PM the Rapper and the Border Guard: I'm hanging at Patty Boland's, listening to Cherry Suede, two guys who make a lot of music with just two voices and two guitars and cover songs I know and like in a way that makes me smile. I'm writing anything that crosses my mind into my notebook while holding a table for four.
Example 1: "We can talk about physical disability as a social construct - no stairs, ramps everywhere, wide doorways - wheelchairs would rule; But how do you make a schizophrenic-friendly world."
Example 2: "I just got distracted by a very short skirt."
Example 3: "I should make a headboard this weekend... I can put lights on it. How else can I trick out a headboard?"
A young woman came along and asked if I'd mind sharing my table for four with a few of her friends. I said okay and slid over. The next thing I knew, I was at a table with a growing crowd of exuberant 20-somethings excited to have written their last exams.
I kept writing until the band took a break and the lights went out. The young woman next to me asked about my writing and I deflected by asking about her. Christy from Thunder Bay, just finished teacher's college and liked it okay, but has decided to take a permanent position as a Customs Officer. She's been working the Minnesota border for a while. I asked her about gun confiscations. "Oh yeah, we get a lot," she said. "Especially from Texas. Those Texans like their guns. A car with Texas plates, ninety per cent guns."
Then a friendly fellow in Boston Red Sox gear sat down across from me and asked about my writing. I deflected him in the same way. He told me he does rap music. One of his friends jumped in. "He won an East Coast Music Award!"
I didn't know whether to be more impressed that he's got a couple of albums, won that East Coast Music Award (which you have to admit is more hip than a Juno), or that he's partied with Ricky and Julian from the Trailer Park Boys. Okay, I'll admit it, I'm most impressed by the Trailer Park Boys claim to fame (even though he didn't meet Bubbles).
I introduced Troy to Christy and suggested they'd make a great couple. A customs officer and a rapper! What a great TV series! I think Troy was ready to go for it, but Christy seems to already have a love interest.