Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

March 10, 2013

Stormin’ H

As promised, with patience, here is the storm from p33 of Bertrand Sinclair’s The Hidden Places. (1922)

“He sat now staring out the window. A storm had broken over Vancouver that day. To-night it was still gathering force. The sky was a lowering, slate-coloured mass of clouds, spitting squally bursts of rain that drove in wet lines against his window and made the street below a glistening area shot with tiny streams and shallow puddles that were splashed over the curb by rolling motor wheels. The wind droned its ancient, melancholy chant among the telephone wires, shook with its unseen, powerful hands a row of bare maples across the way, rattled the windows in their frames. Now and then, in a momentary lull of the wind, a brief cessation fo the city noises, Hollister could hear far off the beat of the Gulf seas bursting on the beach at English Bay, snoring in the mouth of False Creek. A dreadry, threantening night that fitted his mood. ”

The storm then gives way to more from our operatic male (common place in BC literature of this & later periods it seems)
“He sat pondering over the many-horned dilemma upon which he hung impaled. He had done all that a man could do. He had given the best that was in him, played the game faithfully., according to the rules. And the net result had been for him the most complete disaster.”

I must pause here and interrupt this programming to give you a 7 hour respite before we hear Hollister continue his aria into the verdant moss of his wife!

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March 8, 2013


I continue apace with Mr Parks prostate memoir (Teach Us to Sit Still) which is no longer the Lincoln Tunnel of urology. Indeed his pains are not the precise rattling trains he initially suspected they were, which is quite extraordinary given the operatic sounding scale of them. How and ever the body is perplexing and impatience apparently does you in. Hence I’ll have to now refer to the book as Mr Parks impatience memoir.

He has just turned left into a meditation retreat in Northern Italy and frankly reading about meditation retreats is as painful as sitting through them and I almost became derailed during the gong, lip, breath, cross legged nothingness until two people had a fight in the garden & took off and a blessed salve in the form of a reference to Robert Walser. We can carry on now Walser has been invoked.

Mrs Dalloway is currently on the embankment resting. She was interrupted by Bertrand W Sinclair’s hysterical prose from 1922. Tomorrow I shall unveil his description of a storm in False Creek in this novel I tripped upon today. Calm down laddie is where I’d file it. But since we are hovering on the theme of impatience. We shall be patient and anticipate telling Bertrand to calm it down there.


It’s 3 degrees outside, which seems v low. Tomorrow sunshine will return to us or so the headline promises. On va voir.

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March 5, 2013

Où sont les femmes?

The VIDA stats are out. Naturlich they are grim. Here are the choices:

1) Boil your head and despair

2) Figure out who in The Atlantic precisely is so unable to locate more than 4 women reviewers & Harpers who can only locate 3 & have a whip round to get them a GPS.

or wonder whether readers should vote on the matter that this magazine refuses to afford women writers any critical authority on literature by, well, unsubscribing.

3) Remember that print is a dying medium, the stats are, I assume, based on print and pay no heed to the blogs this publications operate, where perhaps women prevail and are more prolific.

4) Question whether 3) is true and recognize my optimism about these publications blogs is likely blindingly delusional.

5) The obvious option is be ambitious, write more, but this is difficult to resolve in a year where I wrote a novel that was reviewed by NONE of those publications. (Obviously my novel had the company of a great deal of other novels in this regard).

6) Remind myself that the mainstream is the mainstream is the mainstream is the mainstream and unto the mainstream it shall remain. Also literary culture is conservative. But there’s plenty space outside the mainstream. Acres of space for all sorts of cross polination. It’s a matter of taking up some of it.

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March 3, 2013

A moment of reckoning

Should I learn to speak International Art English (do I already speak it?) or make a sad trot back to my sad history of assaulting Egyptian Arabic in a classroom with a lovely teacher who burst out laughing at my hurdy gurdy pronounciations? Or continue my hola-ing at any Espanola, Mexicana or Coo-bana I meet? Yesterday three. And daily I meet and greet my 3 sets of Mexican neighbours with the same two phrases. Or up the robust effort to live en Francais? I can manage paragraphs en Francais and am fluent in Le Petit Nicolas. Or keep cracking away with my auditory lusting after mo chuid Gaeilge? Cad e do baruil h’Edel?

Or do the simple, most practical thing and learn to cook quinoa?

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March 3, 2013

Pineapple Express busted

The Pineapple Express weather event had silenced me, but fear no more for the heat of the sun has rejoined us. We have a SUNNY break. That be a blast of sun that may disappear behind the trees (or condos) before I put a full stop on this sentence.

The promised rise in temperature on the third day of the Pineapple (Saturday) did not materialize and last night out at an event and a late night dinner I fair froze on exit. It was lepping cold! The previous evening my partner Jeremy and I were discussing the Pineapple and concluded the experience matched the sense of being “sub aquatic.”


Onward with Mr Tim Parks prostate memoir. What a complicated organ! What a disadvantage and complex matter it is to be embodied at times. So many organs, so many muscles, so much can go wrong. He has now moved into what may be the final four hundred metres lap/ furlong and is concluding his problems are myofascial pain. Am I right Mr P?

I was particularly taken with the line where the man running the mediation/relaxation class tells him Senor Parks I have never met a man so utterly unable to relax as you before. I’m a tad confused by his title, since sitting still may actually be what caused his problems to start with. But all shall be revealed during my final Ascot type reading of this text. Squeezed in between a stack of deadlines and pain complications.

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February 27, 2013

Woo-hoo! Malarky nominated for First Novel Award

Hot off boiling the kettle here …Malarky has been nominated for the First Novel Award. This just in from the Toronto Star report

“ announced the finalists for the 37th Annual First Novel Award Wednesday. This Canadian literary award recognizes the outstanding talent of Canadian novelists who have published their first novel in 2012.”

Click here to learn about all 5 titles nominated including the intriguing People Park by Pasha Malla.

Click here to read the offical news release put out by Amazon at the rising of the sun.

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February 27, 2013

From a Malarky reader yesterday

I have been meaning to share some of the messages i receive from readers: the image of people discussing anything for hours is always boldly up lifting. This was most cheering to read. Thank you dear reader(s)

“My book club finally got around to reading Malarky and I must say we all loved it – what a wild ride! We talked about it for hours which doesn’t often happen when we get together – we forwent our usual gossip session to talk about your wonderful book. Our Woman was a delightful character and we all loved your dialogue and gift with language. Rarely has a book made me laugh so hard and feel so heartsick at the same time. Two of the group read it twice and recommended we all do the same. We can’t wait for the next one.”

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February 27, 2013

First weather news: a Pineapple Express is on the way passing through Thurs & Friday — it is rumoured to be a light one, so may prove more pineapple crush than express. Do not go out in your bedroom slippers unless you are after soggy toes.


Second: Tim Parks prostate memoir. Jeepers Mr Parks this memoir is the Lincoln Tunnel of urology! Fascinating ! It has pushed Mrs Dalloway aside so I returned to her and I am not sure if that is simply a talent of Mrs Dalloway but that book seems to constantly speak at or back to whatever is being read beside it.

Today Mrs Dalloway in reply to Mr Parks memoir:

“and all the time let rumour accumulate in their veins and thrill the nerves in their thighs…”

Perhaps it would need to be remixed to “and shrill are the nerves in the thighs”

There is a moment of deciphering happening in Mrs Dalloway where the women are looking at the sky trying to figure out the letters the planes are making. It could be said that Mr Parks memoir is entirely laden with deciphering and uncovering.

Mr Parks and his wife Rita have just undertaken a walk that’s not going very well on account of his prostate. For thirty years they’ve been together they’ve walked — isn’t that a mighty thing to have done for thirty years? I think so. But I am a walker. My current pain dilemma is making walking both a challenge and an enticement in equal measure. Dickens. I recall, was also an obsessive walker who suffered with terrible physical pain.

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February 26, 2013

Mr Parks Prostate

I am grateful to my fellow Little Star writer Tim Parks’ banjaxed prostate and his recording of such in his memoir Teach Us to Sit Still, which I have today added to the I Love Dick (Chris Kraus), Mrs Dalloway reading mix. The third party being Mr P’s prostate. What’s curious about his memoir is its, thus far, whole focus on urology! This a rare focus! Thus far it’s mainly him dithering over urology and living with astonishing discomfort. What possessed you Mr P to piss about for so long in such misery? It’s remarkable. Has the reader hopping leg to leg in some kind of Pavlovian retort. Anyhow he has finally gone to the clinic for tests at the chapter I have reached.

The first time I met a urologist I shudder to recall remarking to him that basically he’d pulled the short straw having to sit about puzzling out peoples piddle problems and wouldn’t he have been more excited by performing open heart surgery? He, a calm older dude, who reminded me of something out of The Godfather laughed warmly and explained how he gets to do kidney transplants and poking about with piddlers was only one part of urology. Now of course I hail him and all who work in urology, especially those who label test tubes and do the scans and the grunt work that delivers up the verdicts that urologists set about analyzing and fixing. But yes pain, it does rather do the head in, force one to stay still, drugged up while embracing three books and remembering all the many more days of flittering about, drinking too much tea in pain-free abandon.

This is curious: how to conflate someone who wrote a urology textbook with someone who wrote 10 mysteries who shares the same name. Or are the 10 mysteries full of urology? 

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February 25, 2013

Withering weather

There are up to 20 weather warnings today in our province. For our city, it is rain and for the Island wind warnings. It occurred to me that we haven’t had so many rainfall warnings this season, yet it never seems to cease raining.

Friday was a particularly abysmal day. Yesterday a beautiful blast of blue light, which now has given way to worse than Friday.

I think along with weather warnings forecasters could begin melancholy measuring alongside the warnings. This weather is likely to induce the following in people: then the challenge to find appropriate adjectives to match the weather. Writers could be hired. I find the language of weather forecasting has such potential.

How is your weather, wherever you are?


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February 25, 2013

Mrs Dalloway Loves Dick

Be not alarmed at the title of this post I do not infer smutty tones o’er Mrs D rather I have been on something of a reading adventure during these past 48 hours in tandem with a suspected kidney stone adventure.

I commenced yesterday morning with Mrs Dalloway and paired her with I Love Dick by Chris Kraus and have been fluttering between the two since. On my way back from loving Dick, which is very funny indeed, I began to note some parallels strangely in Mrs Dalloway namely: (This may only make sense if you’ve read I Love Dick if not you can listen to Ira Glass interview Chris & Sylvere here and gather the gist)

“… But with Peter everything had to be shared; everything gone into. And it was intolerable, and when it came to that scene in the little garden by the fountain, she had to break with him or they would have been destroyed..” (Mrs Dalloway, Woolf)


“She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on.” (Mrs Dalloway, Woolf)

Both of the above I cite relate to the autopsy that Kraus performs on her and Sylvere’s imagination or imaginings in relation to Dick. An autopsy of the possible perhaps? An autopsy of the exhaustible and inexhaustible? And a disciplined deconstruction on the dust passing the pair of them in the air in between. Whatever it is, the point of view in I Love Dick is fascinating, even if the tone of it reminds me occasionally of a BBC Wildlife program on penguin migration. It’s a microscopic interrogation of a moment that could have been fleeting but becomes its own landscape. And remarkably I am beginning to conclude it’s not about Dick at all.

And now a speculative riposte to Dick from Woolf in the form of this line from Mrs Dalloway.

“His letters were awfully dull; it was his sayings one remembered…” or to remix it a tad belatedly for Ms Woolf “His letters were non-existant, it was his sofa bed they remembered”

And Dick’s riposte to Chris Kraus and Sylvere Loringer via the words Mrs Dalloway (ok this one will require some Tardis time travel)

“..cared not a straw for either of them.”

Now I interrupt this post and return to Mrs Dalloway.

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February 23, 2013

Iggy on stones


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February 19, 2013

Bridget condos

The other night I walked across the Granville Street bridge and it occurred to me that bridges could soon be locations pounced upon by real estate speculators and that custom slimmed condo towers may soon be plonked in the middle of them and determined to be the ultimate place to live. As I pondered this I could imagine the advertising slogans and what they’d promise. The property would naturally be called “Bridget”

This just caught my eye about the speculated upon BIG tower: “If approved for construction it would rise 52 storeys from a narrow base next to the Granville Bridge and curve up to the top.”

Not much of a hop or a slight misread of the plans (curve around and over onti the top) til my premonition could be realized.



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February 19, 2013

Tripping into collage

At 1:10:00 Jim O’Rourke’s new composition for the Glasgow Improvisors Orchestra can be heard. O’Rourke submitted his score via a double pack of playing cards. Each one containing an instruction to various instruments in the orchestra. I find the compact nature — small rectangles — of the record of his composition fascinating. And how it transforms in the hand/eye of the musicians. The title of the piece: Some I Know, Some I Don’t has a rectangular equality to it: precisely the same number of letters on either side of the comma.

While I listened to the piece I was researching Jeanne Randolph’s ficto-criticism and reading in FUSE her piece Interpreting Water.

This was co-incidental because I tripped over Jim O’Rourke, but went hunting for Jeanne Randolph.

I would love Jim O’Rourke to interpret my novel Malarky through a series of musical instructions to the French horn written on a packet of recipe cards.

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February 18, 2013

LRB piece on the Walkers

Thank you to Rachel Kawapit, Matthew and Chief Stan all of whom helped me with my research to write this piece about the Walkers — the Journey of the Nishiyuu for the London Review of Books blog.ImageThis photograph was taken on 16 January by Rachel Kawapit, a member of the Whapmagoostui First Nation, who live in Northern Quebec on the shores of Hudson Bay. It shows David Kawapit, Stanley George Jr, Geordie Rupert, Travis George, Johnny Abraham and Raymond Kawapit, aged between 16 and 19, with their guide Isaac Kawapit (47), setting off to walk 1000 miles from Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuaraapik to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, through temperatures lower than -30ºC, as part of the Idle No More movement, protesting against the violation of Aboriginal Treaty Rights.

To read the entire piece please click here

please share this LRB blog post. The Walkers deserve much more international attention for their extraordinary undertaking. They are walking in temperatures that have been between -30 and -50. They now number 43 young women and men in total, with more youth joining them along the way. I send them my deep respect and admiration.

There is also a Facebook group to follow the Walkers here

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February 12, 2013

Malarky hanging with the mighty Jamaica Kincaid

I would be thrilled to be on an overdue library book list beside Jamaica Kincaid, so was very happy to find Malarky invoked in a Winnipeg Free Press review of Jamaica’s new novel See Now Then.

Here’s the mention:

“Kincaid draws readers into the couple’s deepest thoughts and feelings as they ponder, as the novel’s title suggests, their past, present and future. In this way, the narrative is reminiscent of Canadian Anakana Schofield’s 2012 novel Malarky, a very different story about mismatched spouses, unhappiness and longing that focuses heavily on the inner dialogue of its characters. That one too was lyrically written, but too peculiar in style to enjoy wide appeal.”

I’ve just started reading See Now Then and ponder it’s curly, exhaling sentences. They perfectly fit the the image of  the roots of a plant or shrub that wraps itself under the soil and around and on and on … very much the way a marriage does. The way peoples lives entwine into and out of and away from, in parallel and back towards. There could be no better form for such a book. It’s a novel to ponder on the sentence level and to meet in the same way its’ sentences greet the reader. They are railway tracks. She manages to create undulating railway tracks where the train (from my reading) does not derail. As I said I’ve only begun the novel, but there’s also an assumptive quality to the text, that has an oration feel to it and such assumptive tone and lift are again the domain, the domicile of marriage. Versions within versions. Chorus. Back to the version.

I default to Blanchot when I talk about this work. Forget the writer’s intention, (who cares whether it is or is not from her life I can find no consideration more tedious) forget the reader’s response, interrogate the text and what’s it offers. What’s there in those words alone, how they sit, why they sit how they do. It’s plenty enough. Even the title gives us this instruction.

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February 6, 2013


“Exhausted is a whole lot more than tired. ‘It’s not just tiredness it’s not just I’m exhausted in spite of the climb. The tired no longer prepares for any possibility (subjective): she therefore cannot realize the smallest possiblity (objective): But possibility remains because you never realize all of the possible, you even bring it into being as you realize some of it. The tired has only exhausted realization, while the exhausted exhausts all of the possible. The tired can no longer realize but the exhausted can no longer possibilitate’…”

The Exhausted Gilles Deleuze and Anthony Uhlmann (with Beckett exhausted into it)

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February 5, 2013

“The Arcades of Paris and Walter Benjamin’s Philosophy of Cities”

Glad to see Frank Cunningham is coming back to SFU next Tuesday (Room 7000, SFU Harbour Ctr. 7pm) to give this talk. I heard him speak last year on philosophy of the city. The Institute for Humanites organize some fine events & talks in Vancouver, some of my favourites and there’s no old bullshit about them, which is uplifting. Anyone can ask questions without being made to feel like a dimwit. The Institute welcome public attendence and engagement in my experience.

“The Arcades of Paris and Walter Benjamin’s Philosophy of Cities”
Abstract: In the 1920’s and 30’s the German philosopher Walter Benjamin began a philosophical study of urban life inspired by the Paris arcades (passages). This paper revisits the still existing arcades referred to by Benjamin to explicate his urban-philosophical methodology and conclusions and to take account of continuities and changes in the arcades, their uses, and environs between his time and that of present-day Paris.

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February 5, 2013

Welcome Cinnamon Sally

We are back to neither here nor there weather. Rain on the road weather. It was so chilly inside I left the apt with two cardigans and a down jacket to discover it was a balmy 8.9 degrees outside.


Today there was significant family news. I met the new family addition in Dublin. Alfie Cyril has a four legged cousin and a great, mighty woman she is too. My sister introduced me by Skype to her new dog Sally Cinnamon, a rescue greyhound.

I am not a dog person, but am certainly, as of today, a Sally Cinnamon person. She lumbered over to greet me, laid her chin on my sister’s knee (“it’s a greyhound thing” said her mother) and then did a delightful yogic downward dog stretch. She is massive. Huge. In my opinion. Horsey!  Well compared to Alfie Cyril, a very podgy, hen shaped guinea pig. I had imagined more of Whippet type of dog. They sleep in a very remarkable manner greyhounds, like lounging queens from another century. Do all dogs sleep like that? My sister says she looks like Scooby Doo when she is asleep. I found her very regal, except she stuck half her back legs in her paw print furry basket while the rest of her (and there’s plenty of her) poured out across the rug. Apparently greyhounds are somnolent creatures and can sleep up to 18 hrs per day.

I am going to be knitting for Lady Sally since I think she could use some insulation on her hind humps from the ferocious Cabra wind. Really forget Downton Abbey — Sally Cinnamon in her snood slinking about Cabra will topple Lady Grantham’s mother.

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February 5, 2013

Hot! Hot! Hot! Crew, shoe and Malarky

Possibly by far the hottest place to cover Malarky is Crew Magazine. Crew is a gay magazine for everyone. Sometimes their chesty males flash up in my Facebook feed, along with very fine furniture and the current homepage features some rather ravishing shoes.

I just learned of a piece they generously wrote about Malarky in November of all months. When we were all feeling especially chesty because of that grim weather.

Thank you to Bruce Michael for placing Our Woman right where she belongs between the specimans and the furniture.

Read the piece by clicking the quote here (not entirely sure where I was heading with the chillies…): “Thinking back, she’s eroticizing what she witnesses in a way,” Schofield adds. “It awakens something within her. It’s a bit like foreign food. You either don’t like it or you stuff your mouth with hot chilies or whatever.”

Or click here to see the ravishing shoe if you prefer.

You can hunt for the chesties on your steam.


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