Martin John SHORTLISTED for Giller Prize
I was not asleep.
I was awake and walking about trying to get a flu shot. That’s an early flu shot because I very much need to get vaccinated because I am travelling about so much on little sleep until November.
I had decided not to watch any live stream of any book prize announcement since it feels a bit too much like going to the Stocks. I had instructed the teen to take it up with Google and report as needs be.
As I was failing to find an early flu shot at this early hour, the Teen gallantly phoned me to emit a tirade of complaint against the poor web functionality of various literary media sources. He was expounding on how technologically useless such outfits were and was much more interested in assessing the web technicalities of how they were conducting themselves than paying any heed to the matter in question. He concluded his tirade with “if you are wondering why I have no update or information whatsoever that is the reason why”. I joined him by fermenting on my failure to secure a flu shot at one outlet but that I was now marching on in search of other possibilities.
I was precisely by the VGH ER dept when I learned by phone from a friend that my book had been selected for the Giller Prize shortlist. Where are you? She asked. I am trying and failing to get a flu shot.
Today really was some day for a single day and I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary messages of support and kindness that have been flying my way all day long. I don’t quite know what I have done to deserve such outpourings of kindness and celebration and may well be undeserving, but I’ll take it.
What a great longlist, what a great shortlist. You’re only as good as those you nest beside. And that for me includes a long continuum of writers, some of whom may be forgotten, some of whom were insufficiently acknowledged, but all of whom were read by someone, somewhere, including me. And that’s the entire point of literature. That it’s be read and contemplated. So thank you to anyone who reads and contemplates my work or any writer’s work for that matter. Books give way to books the way sentences give way or respond to sentences.
In that spirit, I took to the bed a la Proust with a glass of hot port to help my husky voice and books by Lisa Robertson and Vivian Gornick along with the telephone, which rang and rang and all was well. By night to celebrate, my son and I took a walk by the sea, ate Thai rice & looked at pictures of cats on Reddit who poke their tongues out.