Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

February 4, 2013

Sometimes I think it is foggy and I am interrupted in this thinking

There was again a hint of fog yesterday. A friend texted me to report it was rolling up the hill! A most generous gesture. However the fog did not reach our recent fog capacity. By this evening, I exited the Vancouver Art Gallery to the least celebratory of rains. A smearing type of rain, with one redeeming feature. It did not flood your shoes.

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Today was the final installment of the PuSh Festival project Sometimes I think, I can see you (Mariano Pensotti) that I’ve been working on for the past three weeks. It has been a curious study in response, boundaries, public space, movement, exhaustion, repetition — and most poignantly for me, interruption. What is it for text (created realtime) to interrupt public space and respond to movement, to speculate on that movement or fictionalize it and then or perhaps now contemplate the response to that fiction.  It was diverse and darting the response. From the warm hugs, loud laughter, genuine confidant who would share the other side of “their story” to the restrained, to the affronted, the indifferent, confused and much more inbetween.

I’ll share a moment from today Sunday. A young woman who I had fictionalized on the screen as a skateboarder jumped to her feet, took to the foyer of the VAG and broke out twice in some fairly wild break dancing.

And yesterday, a woman and her daughter passed me on the street on my way to VPL and we exchanged a bit of banter about boots. Later I noticed them walking and watching the installation as I wrote, so I added them into my fiction. Finally I bumped into them again on the third floor at the Human Library PuSh project and we had a great old natter about our various encounters that day: the real and the fictional.

I had multiple experiences with this kind of exchange with members of the public who would chat once I had finished my writing shift and I am grateful to those people who approached and spoke with me so warmly about their experience on the other side of it. Thank you to the public for their collaborative, warm spirit and even to the resistors (or affronted) since resistance or objecitng in itself is a response. It’s a response to public art. It’s a response to the interruption that is public art. And it causes us to examine what we are prepared to be interrupted by? Must interruption have a purpose? What is the relationship between interruption and entitlement? Do the entitled feel they are above interruption? What is the relationship between interruption and social class and how does interruption manifest itself in other parts of the city ? And to return to the project brief what of the silent interrupter, the hidden documenter, what of the surveillance camera or drone? What if the charting is quiet, passive and secret rather than bold and declaratory?

Thank you to the PuSh Festival for including me in this project and to my fellow writers who participated and the volunteers who helped out and the staff at the various locations.

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January 31, 2013

Fog recall, peace be among the pigeons

I thought I caught a much welcome smell of fog earlier, however it did not build at the volume I had hoped and create actual fog. We are clamped beneath the worst grey sky, practically being erased with gloom. Bring back the rolling, bowling fog. Come home foggy. We suit fog. We don’t suit grey.

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Week II at Sometimes I think, I can see you (PuSh Festival) was more challenging than our blast off week. The pigeon wars have commenced at VPL, which added to the challenge. Also, physically the act of sitting and writing non stop for two hours under the public gaze — the performative demands therein are exhausting. However it is never uninteresting (except perhaps during the last 20 mins when I am desperate for a cup of tea and my brain has written itself inside out) and I continue to be glad of this opportunity and somewhat Oulipian encounter.
What will the third week reveal?

I certainly have even more respect for anybody who works with or within the public relentlessly and would appeal for patience and respect toward such folk rather than swollen entitlement and footstamping. Likewise I’d urge the same appreciation of public art and public writers! Interrogate the interruption, bounce along the ropes that the boundary of having somebody writing in public space creates for you and please find some place else to chase your pigeons rather than into our fatigued eyes.
Generally though the public engagement has been very good spirited and warmly receptive and people seem genuinely intrigued by the boundaries we are blurring and narratives weIMG_0001 are creating.

On Sunday a most wonderful thing happened during our piece at the VAG, a woman/artist watching/reading my stories on the screen handed me this sketch she had drawn of me writing. It was a lovely response, a looping in and out of the text. I was most touched. Thank you Erin.

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January 23, 2013

Sometimes I think, I can see you

I have now undertaken my first week in Mariano Pensotti’s installation piece Sometimes I think, I can see you as part of the PuSh Festival 2013. 

I am enjoying and appreciating this opportunity enormously. Physically, it can be a challenge, but reminds of gymnastics. More a lexicon gymnastics. So far I’ve only done in one of my knees. Mentally it’s invigorating. Socially energizing. And I love the interactions afterwards with the public and staff. I’ve learnt so much talking to the staff about their ongoing interactions and observations of the public within the space they work. On Saturday I had a good ole chat with three young folk who were part of a narrative on-and -off for the whole time I wrote that day. They were keen to explain their actual story, which was curiously close to what I’d invented.   

When you sit in public space and observe and record and fictionalize you also draw fleeting conclusions about where we live and speculate on how people may feel about it. They pass through one’s mind like a subway train. Sometimes they recycle themselves back into whatever replaces them. But some persist. I wonder if each week that we perform this project whether new conclusions or realizations will arrive. I wonder how the weather may influence this. Or exhaustion. Will immunity set in? On va voir. 

It’s quite strange for me to be Downtown. I only tend to frequent it in the quest for books, socks, films/talks, and popped rib relocation. Otherwise I mainly visit the Downtown Eastside where I like to admire the Army & Navy camping equipment or stare at peculiar items in restaurant supply shops in Chinatown. To make 5 journeys Downtown in 7 days is odd. I have had to reacclimatize somewhat to the rampant shopping culture. The other evening after the performance/installation I visited The Bay and stared at crockery and glasses perplexed that people really do shell out $49 for two of them. Of course a survey of the Dyson vacuum cleaners is compulsory. One happy addition to Downtown are the food carts. Very fun to sample them and chat with the chefs inside them. 

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Obviously the major news is: ice fog. We have had several episodes of it and I confirmed the definition of it on Twitter with the extraordinary seismologist and meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. 

exactly! suspended tiny ice crystals in the air.. had it again this morning for a few hours

 

Follow @JWagstaffe on Twitter especially if there’s an earthquake. She was marvellous tweeting live at 1am during the recent Tsunami watch and warning. 

We have become an enclave for fog and it sits well with me. Fog-alicious Foggy town. Except it’s v hard to sleep when it is foggy, not because of the horns which I never hear but because it’s too comforting looking out there. 

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Continued thanks to Malarky readers for all the kind words popping up on social media about Malarky. Glad you have enjoyed Our Woman. 

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January 20, 2013

Eileen Myles on class in language, language and class & on moolah

Myles on moolah and more over at Full Stop. Smart, incisive, and pragmatic.

“I do think it’s possible to make a living doing my writing but you have to be willing to live badly which I frequently do. There’s lots of blogs to write for instance and oddly even if they “pay” you you have to wait longer than ever before. While everything’s electronic pay checks are moving slower than ever before. You could blame the post office but I blame politics for that too. Increasingly though the belief is that you must be an academic or a publishing heavy if you are writing about books and you are obviously making your income elsewhere or else you are new or young or wealthy already and are just now climbing into prominence and need the “exposure.” So there’s less respect than ever for the idea that a writer or even a aloud reader of her work needs to get paid. There’s much shame about $ and that during an economic downturn. I find this trend to be deeply immoral. So the desire to make a living as a writer is a true perversion in this culture but I think we need our perverts more than ever.”

Myles on class and language, class in language and more over at Trop

Everything’s about class in some way, in the same way that everything about sex is about class. Everything about language is about class. You’re always giving a huge amount of information, and you’re always speaking as a member of a certain group in a way. It’s never without context. I’m very aware of that. When I first started writing poetry—especially because I was young and I had no idea who I was or who or what was speaking or who or what was making these poems—I made up a bit of a character who was quite a lot like me and decided that they were writing my poems. I exteriorized some of the things that actually made up my own identity. And I thought of all of the different ways of speaking I heard when I was growing up and what I liked and didn’t like. I’ve always been obsessed with the sonorous qualities of speech and with what figures of speech can most appropriately be said in conversation as opposed to in a poem.

and from the same Trop interview:

“There’s a kind of anywhere-ness and an anyone-ness that’s really exciting and important to me in language—that language not be of a particular privileged class. All class is a privilege, even the lowliest have a vernacular that is all their own that they use to keep people in and keep people out.”

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January 20, 2013

Salty Ink Dazzling Debuts includes Malarky

On December 20, Salty Ink, a Newfoundland based literary blog, announced its list of Most Dazzling Debuts 2012 and Malarky was among them.

See the full list here

On January 20, 2013, the same Salty Ink posted it’s (Probably) The Best Novels of 2012 list and Malarky was included again.

Thank you to Salty Ink for this double listing and for bringing Malarky to the attention of readers in Atlantic Canada.

Although I remain slightly underwhelmed by the much lauded by my Atlantic Canadian friends “King Cole tea” — I would very much love to read in Atlantic Canada, as I am most keen to visit the other side of Canada and discover lobster. I am quite an expert in the weather forecasts for those regions. They have some serious storm action going on in them there parts!

Newfoundland yahoy!

 

 

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January 14, 2013

Malarky on Montreal Gazette’s Top Shelf

“Anakana Schofield’s Malarky (Biblioasis, 225 pages, $19.95) introduced an indelible heroine into our national literature, no less so for the fact that she’s Irish. Inhabiting the sometimes confused but always indomitable mind of the grieving and randy Dublin housewife Our Woman, Schofield has created a note-perfect literary joyride, a “voice novel” in the best sense. An unaccountable collective oversight saw Malarky left off all the major prize short lists, but Amazon and other Internet indicators show that Irish-Canadian Schofield is finding readers regardless, and that’s as heartening a story as 2012 has provided.”

Thank you to Ian McGillis of the Montreal Gazette for including Malarky in his year of reading list. I am delighted that my novel is included in our national literature here. I hope she’ll be taught as Canadian Literature and World Literature and Irish Literature. I owe a great deal to this country and Vancouver, the community where I live and its many kind people who have encouraged and inspired me, especially during difficult times. Malarky was Made In Canada. I hope to contribute more to our literature, as I am keen to write into, out of and in response to the where I live. On va voir!
To discover the other books and read Rewind 2012: No shortage of top-shelf titles click here
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January 13, 2013

Pride: Malarky makes Pickle Me This 2012 Books of the Year

I am so topsy turvy in my reportage I have failed to register the most significant Book of the Year nod. Pickle Me This! This inclusion makes Malarky therefore a Pickler! I have ambitions to be a pickler. Only thus far managing to be a disastrous canner. A lovely list indeed filled with thoughtful, talented women’s work. Yes! Thank you Kerry Clare.

“According to everybody that matters, this was one of the best books of the year, and when it comes out in the UK next year, the whole world is going to know it.” Discover all the best (potential) picklers here

 

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January 13, 2013

Toronto Star The Best Reading of 2012 includes Malarky

Malarky by Anakana Schofield (Biblioasis, $19.95, 222 pages)

Unaccountably overlooked by this year’s prize juries, Anakana Schofield’s ribald story of an Irish farmwife’s descent into late-life cougardom and mental breakdown is a standout debut and one of the best Canadian novels of the year: the sort of book that forces you to read it over again as soon as you finish. AG

Thank you Alex Good and The Toronto Star for such a spirited inclusion and description of Malarky.

Delighted to sit beside intriguing works like A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava, Rawi Hage’s Carnival and my ole favourite buoyant Leanne Shapton! Not to mention a sister Biblioasis author Alice Petersen (All the Voices Cry).

Read the entire list here.

 

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January 13, 2013

Salon.com What To Read Awards

And there’s Malarky at Number 9 in David Gutowski’s Salon list. (A musical number if my recollection of that Beatles album, or perhaps it was Lennon alone that had the recursive number 9, number 9 refrain in it.). Thank you David.

1. “Building Stories” by Chris Ware
2. “Arcadia” by Lauren Groff
3. “The Devil in Silver” by Victor LaValle
4. “Battleborn” by Claire Vaye Watkins
5. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
6. “Birds of a Lesser Paradise” by Megan Mayhew Bergman
7. “Gods Without Men” by Hari Kunzru
8. “Girlchild” by Tupelo Hassman
9. “Malarky” by Anakana Schofield
10. “The People of Forever Are Not Afraid” by Shani Boianjiu

And in the spirit of Large Hearted Boy I offer:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVf5Cr4M-F8&w=420&h=315]

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January 13, 2013

Splash! A swarm of year end nods & warmth for Malarky

I am behind. Forgive me. 2013 is upon us and it’s a lively January with rehearsals commencing this week for PuSh Festival. I am participating in Mariano Pensotti’s installation piece Sometimes I think, I can see you at VPL and the Vancouver Art Gallery along with 7 other writers. Viva la collaboracion! Thank you to PuSh and the curators for inviting me to participate.

In the meantime the following posts will be a round up of all the warmth I missed recording as December scampered by a toute vitesse.

Thank you to the CBC The year-in-review panel, most especially Brian Francis (Natural Order) who when asked the following question … Touched especially by the association of splash and being a non-to-struggling swimmer.

3. Which Canadian author made the biggest splash this year?

“I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve heard lots of positive chatter about Tanis Rideout’s Above All Things,” Francis said. “Same goes for Anakana Schofield’s Malarky. And both debut novelists! Also, I’ve heard very good things about Lynn Crosbie’s Life is About Losing Everything.

Read the whole year-in-review panel here

Also, a shout out to Ben McNally and especially Lynn, who has been indefatiguable at selling Malarky in Toronto at their beauty Bookshop. Thanks also to Pulp Fiction, who’ve consistently stocked it since it came out & shifted a box of Malarkys & Book Warehouse here in Vancouver, The Bookshelf in Guelph, Tradewinds in the Sunshine Coast, Johnny Pigeau of Backbeat Books & Music — and many more booksellers in Canada & US. Add yourself or your bookshops to the comments pls.

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January 13, 2013

Malarky selected as Chatelaine: Top Five Books Picks of 2012

There’s something rather post-Blanchot about this one I quite enjoyed. Blanchot maintained (correct me if I am wrong) that the writers intention should not be considered, nor the readers response, but the text alone. Hence this one leans toward a pre-digestion of the text! The conjuring of an appetite. Thanks to Laurie Grassi for this nod. I am glad to know thinking women on Twitter are thinking about Our Woman.

“Everybody’s come up with a list of their fave books of 2012, but I thought I’d try something a little different: My picks of my top unread books of 2012.”

Click here to discover the other 4 books along with Malarky, (including Rebecca Lee’s Bobcat and Other Stories.)

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January 2, 2013

Read all about it: New Statesman Books of the Year 2012

To see Malarky show up in The New Statesman, a publication I am long familiar with from my London and Dublin days and my lifelong cultural left inclinations, was a big surprise will hereby ever be referred to as my Jimmy Knapp moment. I may not get another Jimmy Knapp moment, hence it was special. (I am sure there will be further surprises as my knitting and plumbing disasters appear steadfast and always surprise me.)

To sit beside Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (published by the fine and progressive And Other Stories) only solidified this as my Jimmy Knapp moment.

Jenny Diski, who je remercie mille fois, wrote the following:

Anakana Schofield’s Malarky (Biblioasis, $19.95) and Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (And Other Stories, £7.99) are quite different novels, each with their own notable style and imaginative power. Good new novels are rare and here are two of them. Diana Souhami’s Murder at Wrotham Hill (Quercus, £18.99) is a brilliantly formulated and well-written account of a tawdry murder that shines a bright light on postwar austerity

Full evidence of Jimmy Knapp moment found here.

To read Tom McCarthy’s intro to Swimming Home click here and scroll to More Information.

To read Malarky, well you know exactly what to do. Hop on down to your local bookstore or click on over to the various online stores. You may or may not experience a Jimmy Knapp moment.  You will certainly experience multiple moments for Malarky is an episodic narrative in which each episode is an extrapolation of a single moment in Our Woman’s life.

If you’re in the UK or Ireland or Australia, India or South Africa: Malarky will be published by Oneworld and on your doorsteps during 2013, likely summer. I shall post the publication date as soon as I know.

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January 2, 2013

Malarky chosen by Apple iTunes, iBookstore BEST OF 2012 Fiction

Thanks a million to the (Apple) iBookstore who selected Malarky as one of their 10 BEST OF 2012 FICTION titles.

iBookstore described its chosen 10 titles as “spectacular books” which sent rather a bounce of reverb between my kettle and toaster!

Among the 10 titles selected were writers I personally admire such as the brave Tamara Faith Berger’s Maidenhead (I read with Tamara at Incite at VPL which was delightful), Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her. (I was actually due to read with Junot in Toronto but there was a double booking with another festival, hopefully we’ll have another chance to read together in this lifetime) and Ben Stephenson (who if I am not mistaken contributed flash fiction to the same Boulderpavement issue I did in May, along with Stuart Ross.)

I also thank and commend the iBookstore Canada for their strong support of Canadian Independent Publishers. I am a fan of ibooks as an interface and enjoy swiping my way through novels.

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January 2, 2013

Edmonton Journal: Malarky selected for Five Favourite Reads of 2012

How lovely indeed to see Malarky selected as one of Five Favourite Reads of 2012 by the Edmonton Journal Book Columnist Michael Hingston alongside Cesar Aira’s Varamo / The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira (New Directions) and Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies.

I recently alighted on Aira’s work and have delighted in him. I appeared on a panel with Leanne Shapton at IFOA and admire the interdisciplinary approach in her work. Swimming Studies took me back to the swimming pool. Sadly disasters abounded upon my return so I shall stick to vicarious swimming through reading that memoir and keep my feet dry until I can afford some serious swimming instruction. (Again! I must have taken the most swimming lessons in history and made so little progress I’d have to wonder if there’s in a swimming gene I lack). I also really hope that 2013 or even 2014 will result in a reading in Edmonton. Never has a writer been keener than I to visit the home of the former Toonerville Trolley. (Not even sure many writers even know of the one time existence of this historical transport system) I have studied the weather in Edmonton and now own a parka for this impending visit.

Here’s some snips from the article (full piece click here)

2. Anakana Schofield, Malarky (Biblioasis) “an obsessive, voice-driven novel about a grieving Irish housewife that runs along irregular timelines and lingers at unusual places. It also never, ever apologizes for itself. More importantly, it all works….”

3. Leanne Shapton, Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press)

“Midway through this gorgeous, buoyant hybrid of a memoir, Shapton inserts a 26-part photo series documenting, with captions, every swimsuit she owns…”

5. César Aira, Varamo / The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira (New Directions)

“…Aira’s fiction is an ongoing, off-the-cuff record of his magpie imagination…Read Aira in the morning and you won’t need coffee.”

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December 18, 2012

Unison

There’s a construction worker belting out a song on the site next door. The notes came in through my window so I opened the door to hear them. Outside it is pelting a hailstone-ish sleet and his notes curved around and out from the building into it. It might well be the most perfect unison of note and weather I have ever heard.

The lyric he sang was something like “whatchuwawnt” with a reggae sound. Reggae and snow on a Tuesday who knew?

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December 8, 2012

Georgia Straight: Malarky selected as a best book of 2012

This week’s Georgia Straight contained some pretty wild and cheery news.

In the Georgia Straight Best Books of 2012 round up an extraordinary occurrence (by my standards anyway) three different critics chose Malarky as one of their picks in the same article!

Thank you to Brian Lynch, Michael Hingston and Alexander Varty for the thoughtful reflections on Malarky. Much appreciated.

Was also glad to be beside Karolina Waclawiak‘s novel How to Get Into the Twin Palms published by the dynamic Two Dollar Radio and Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies, which has to be a serious contribution to what Lidia Yuknavitch (another swimmer: see her Chronology of Water) termed “a literature of the body” during our panel discussion at Wordstock — The Portland Writers Festival.

Read the whole article here

Here are the three extracts:

Malarky
(By Anakana Schofield. Biblioasis)
In her debut novel, the Vancouver-based writer rolls out a fully realized marvel of a character, one who seems like she’s been there all along, waiting to be written into story form. Our Woman, as she’s named here, belongs to the settled ways of the Irish countryside—until her world is capsized by the hidden sexual lives of her husband and her son. Schofield has fashioned a truly memorable figure, clear as day from the opening pages of this raw, sad, funny book, and yet consistently surprising. (Brian Lynch)

Malarky
(By Anakana Schofield. Biblioasis)
Great fiction takes risks. That’s why descriptions of a classic and an utter fiasco can sound so similar. And yes, in theory, the debut novel by Vancouver’s Anakana Schofield is far from a sure thing: it’s an obsessive, voice-driven novel about a grieving Irish housewife that runs along irregular timelines and lingers at unusual places. It also never, ever apologizes for itself. More importantly, it all works. Joe Biden may have done more to repopularize the word malarky this year, but Schofield’s electrifying novel will leave a much longer impression.  (Michael Hingston)

Malarky
(By Anakana Schofield. Biblioasis)
I laughed, I cried, and I’m not kidding. The immensely gifted Anakana Schofield’s vivid study of a middle-aged Irish housewife’s nervous breakdown has a huge heart and a fierce brain; Malarky is, by a wide margin, the most memorable fiction I’ve read this year. Our Woman invents some dubious remedies for her diabetes, not to mention her sense of shame and loss over her husband’s philandering and subsequent death; nine out of 10 doctors would not prescribe fruitcake and sex with strangers. But sometimes cures can take curious form, in life as in this extremely delicious novel. (Alexander Varty)

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December 8, 2012

National Post: Overlooked Canadian favourites 2012

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December 8, 2012

Gerry Gilbert

I was just thinking in the last half hour of a Gery Gilbert poetry book from the Gronk series called May 1931. Maybe 3 years ago I made a video reading a bit of it one night. I was v tired when I recorded it, but when I couldn’t recall the name of the poetry book I went hunting for the video. Lo there it was! The book captured and not just the title and details and poems recorded but my long gone candy stripe couch for posterity. Who knew Gerry Gilbert would imprint my candy stripe couch to digital pixels along with providing me with a weather treasure. Rock on Gerry whereever you may be now — resting peacefully I hope.
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Did you feel that chilly wind today? What an arctic gust she was! Lordy! The weather data insisted 6 or 4 degrees but it was so cold I find that measurement did not capture the experience. Science bedamned. It was fecking freezing and I had my arctic parka on.

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December 3, 2012

Warmth

Dear friends,

Here is a blast of warming for you all during these darker winter days.  Today we have a wind warning for overnight, but the world is quite still and almost a tad pulpy looking out there. Wherever you are I hope you enjoy this collaboration. I especially appreciated the hilly twinkles in the piece Pendulum. On an off beat note, I did wonder how the Mr Fain fiddler manages to play all those notes in such a restrictive jacket and how he doesn’t overheat. I wrote many parts of my novel Malarky listening to Metamorphosis 4 on repeat. I wonder if you can hear it under the prose.

I send you all my best Winter warmth and gratitude for your warm support throughout the year for Malarky. AK.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_jDwx9TYo4&w=560&h=315]

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November 20, 2012

Winter Reading Rituals

Here is a piece on Winter Reading Rituals I wrote for the International Festival of Authors blog back in October:

I’m not long returned from the Brooklyn Book Festival where the weather was beautifully warm and I had to pace about wearing shorts. Last weekend I travelled to the Victoria Writers Festival and Wordstock, the Portland writers festival, and tonight have just arrived home from the launch of the Vancouver Writers Fest.

I remember all four recent festivals by the weather and conversations. In New York I had to turn on the air conditioner. In Portland I had to turn on the heater and yesterday night I could not sleep because it was so windy here in Vancouver.

I love the fall season in Vancouver and pay close attention to the wind and rain. It signals for me the start of my winter reading rituals. The weather closing in, the sky turning grey means it’s time to turn in to the page.

All year I turn to the page, but in winter I embrace the page amid additional attention to physical comfort.

To establish any ritual it’s necessary to repeat it. It’s not a ritual if you only ever do it once. My reading rituals are particularly employed and important when it’s raining. As it’s regularly raining in Vancouver, I am committed.

Comfort is vital. I adopted two couches from a generous couch shedder because I deemed we needed a couch-per-reading-person (in this case two). I have invested in four hot water bottles because I deemed we needed two per person. I bought my son the softest blanket in the world which I subsequently commandeered and he has yet to raise a loud protest since he has disappeared into the vortex of video gaming. Quilts are very important in our apartment, they are dragged up and down stairs and sometimes found under the kitchen table and are thus umbilically connected to winter reading rituals. Pillows and cushions are critical.

Liquids. Liquid comfort matters during a winter reading ritual. In this case: teapot, teacups, milk jug, glass of hot port have proved trojan company. For smaller participants I admit to providing endless bags of chips and token chopped apples.

Finally I have found fuzzy or warm socks a most important part of my winter reading ritual. If my feet are cold or itchy it’s very distracting to my reading.

Once comfort is established and the weather has been noted, this liberates my brain and reading begins.

A stack of books is always within arms reach of the couch because I practice inter-reading. I might wish to digest a paragraph by reading a different work after it, or I might just dig in for the long haul with the same text.

Walks are taken only to refill hot water bottles or the teapot. Generally the plan is not to get up. Naps are sometimes taken at the book, but this isn’t encouraged. The teapot is the weapon against slumber. The curtains are always open, darkness is welcome but the curtains stay open because the weather doing its thing outside is a pleasing visual carnival.

Titles vary, but I would not necessarily reread Madame Bovary in winter. She is usually reserved for the wooden chair on Grandma’s deck.

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