Thursday, August 11, 2011

a moment in Calgary

drove into Calgary for an excellent meeting with my editor extraordinaire, Rose Scollard, at Frontenac House, and wrapped up the day over BBQ, discussing the new Poet Laureate position that the City of Calgary has created.

how interesting: while Toronto's mayor is attacking libraries & literary culture, good ole' redneck Cowtown is funding a new literary position with pride.

The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, says "I think that these things actually really do matter...It helps us think of better ways to tell our story. And telling our story has value in and of itself." A very articulate retort to the Fords' recent blathering.

am looking forward to hearing who becomes Calgary's official poet--the city has a surfeit of excellent contenders.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

"Toward the end of the book, Otto and Sophie, the central couple, go to stay in their holiday home. Sophie opens the door to the house, and is immediately reminded of a friend, an artist who used to visit them there; she thinks about him for a page or so. The reason she's thinking about him is that she's staring at something he loved, a vinegar bottle shaped like a bunch of grapes. The reason she's staring a the bottle is because it's in pieces. And the reason it's in pieces is because someone has broken in and trashed the place, a fact we only discover when Sophie has snapped out of her reverie. At this point, I realized with some regret that not only could I never write a literary novel, but I couldn't even be a character in a literary novel. I can only imagine myself, or any character I created, saying"Shit! Some bastard has trashed the house!" No rumination about artist friends--just a lot of cursing..." -Nick Hornby, in his collection of reviews & essays, THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE.
Initially, I'm distracted less by the house-break-in & more by the idea that any artist would love a bottle shaped like bunch of grapes. But probably I'm a snob about grape-shaped bottles.

I'm reading this book in my friend Mari-Lou's fantastic garden, over various meals while I'm in Saskatoon. I'm going back to doing book reviews, and Nick Horby's musings about books are just right--cool and slightly fizzy, like really nice not-too-strong ginger beer on a summer afternoon. So I'm hoping he gets me into the right headspace to write intelligent book reviews.