A very long time ago I used to write literary fiction. These were populated by a lot of young women who had feelings and watched loons fly across evening skies after days of unspecified sadness (not exactly that, but it gives you a sense of what I mean). They also had failed relationships, and drank coffee, and sometimes something a little uncanny happened, like they wandered into a cornfield, or someone lit themselves on fire. I’m being glib, of course, though I did learn a lot about writing producing those stories, and I even published a few of the more interesting ones in Canadian magazines like Grain and Geist and Room of One’s Own. They were best when they slid into the literary weird, which I think happens naturally if you’re trying to describe your experiences of the world in a precise and granular way– deep focus and precision makes everything seem weird, doesn’t it?
Anyway. One of places I used to send stories was a magazine called subTerrain. I think I might have also sent them some pretty dire poetry, as well, poor editors. They never took anything, though. And who can blame them, what with the loons and the feelings.
So, you can imagine my great, gleeful pleasure that finally I have a story appearing in subTerrain. And while it’s about feelings, and forest fires, and there are no loons, there is systemic forgetting, on both the institutional and personal level. And there’s dystopia. Please check it out and buy if you can. There’s a lot of good & relevant stuff in here, and it’s a beautiful magazine.
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.