I really didn’t want Where is Here? to turn into a Bunch of Links About That Book I Wrote, though that seems to be where it’s headed these days. Not forever, I hope. I went to the Bicentennial “celebrations” for the Battle of Fort York last weekend, and I had a lot of thoughts, but they’ve mostly bypassed the blogging stage and leapt straight into the chapter about The War of 1812.
So, instead of my peculiar “insights” into military commemoration in Canada, here are some links about that book I wrote! It was officially out yesterday (I confirmed this through a visit to the bookstore. It’s definitely and for realsies out now) and it has collected two reviews:
Laura Frey at Reading in Bed says some really smart things.
So does Kyla Neufeld at The Winnipeg Review.
In both cases I feel lucky that the readers approached the book so thoughtfully, and with such generosity.
Yesterday when I came home there was a big box from NeWest waiting in the hallway outside our apartment– 20 copies, bound in this lovely, slightly nubbly coverstock. I’m still a little shocked to find that I’ve written an actual book. Unreal! It almost makes up for the grotty weather, which seems to have regressed to some miserable day in early March.
I added a page with some info about the book, should anyone want to hear more.
My friend Kimmy Beach has a new book out this month called The Last Temptation of Bond (U of A Press). She’s started a tumblr for some of the material she collected as she was writing it. I’m looking forward to this book because I like the way Kimmy writes, but in this case her topic is also really intriguing to me. I’m interested in how we talk about espionage & covert actions, whether it’s cold war paranoia, or pop culture, proxy wars, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Prisoner. Bond manages to contain both the trauma and absurdity of that era, especially in the most recent film– Skyfall. I’m pretty sure The Last Temptation of Bond will also be full of labyrinthine psycho-sexual issues and black humour, too, because that’s what Kimmy does best. Her work is always sexy and fun, and it draws on the iconography of 20th-cent pop culture without turning into a catalogue of temporary culture. And did I mention “sexy”? And “fun”?
So. Nearly four months away from this blog, which makes me sad, because I really like blogging. I spent most of the winter swamped in the innumerable, seemingly-unfinish-able tasks that dictate how and where I spend my time. That means either marking, or writing academic stuff. In happy news, I’ll be presenting a paper on Insurgency & Commemoration at Batoche for CACLALS this spring, at UVic. I haven’t presented a paper since 2011, so it’s about time.
I’m teaching an extra section of composition, too, for January – April, which means I have 70 students instead of the 30-something I had in the autumn. For the most part this is good news (for four months we’ve cracked the poverty line!) but it means I have no time. And so much to do. I try not to do the infernal mathematics: 70 students x 12ish assignments each = what was I thinking.
Of course, there are bright things, too, and pleasant news. One of them is that my novel is coming out in May. It has a cover! It’s very very pretty. I feel so lucky that the people at NeWest— editors, designers, marketers, managers– understand what I was trying to do, and have designed something that reflects & expands on the story. I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration for the last couple of weeks, as I realize how many people have contributed to turning The Paradise Engine from a secret word document I kept squirreled away on my harddrive, to an actual, real book. That’s pretty exciting.