Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Reading Malarky and paragraphing

A couple of Fridays ago I was invited by Michael Turner to read with him (He read from No Apologies, Gilbert’s BC Monthly, Gerry Creede and a poem by Sharon Thesen in Writing magazine) at People’s Co-op Bookstore. The reading series (organized by Rolf Maurer) intends for writers to read from work other than their own, or from their unpublished work. It’s a fresh and enticing approach.

I indulged in some “paragraphing”, selecting mainly single paragraphs from different Vancouver novels and reading them beside each other, sometimes to amplify each other or to respond to one another.  I was interested in the oppositions of emotions or perspectives that results from such. It’s something I’d like to do much more. It’s also something I’ve done/collected by accident and, often, it’s humour that draws me to a specific paragraph.

I chose to read also from Episode 6 of Malarky, my forthcoming novel (April 2012). I deliberately chose one of the most fragmented parts of the book, a section that would not necessarily lend itself so well to a more standard literary reading because the paragraphs within it respond to each other. The episode contains my favourite line in the entire book: “See how I went back and forth?” Once you’ve read the book that line should explain itself.

In that context it has been useful to convene with Denis Donoghue’s literary reckoning since he studied music and literature and music and rhythm feature keenly in the first chapter of his book.

Rhythm became vital to Malarky as I edited it. I recall vividly being at Helen Potrebenko’s for dinner & Crokinole and leaving the room to sit in her study and work on editing my book and having to read it aloud and nearly beat it into the table with my hand. I could hear the crokinole pieces clatter into the board from the other room. I was slightly sad to miss the game, but it had to be done. God Bless Helen for all she did to help me realize this book.

Back to the starting point, the reading — it was one of my most favourite readings and one of my favourite women & writer’s Renee Rodin whispered in my ear that Malarky was “delicious” as I skedaddled off to collect my son.  Joy!

Giantesses: Gadd, Copithorne, Rodin & Robertson

Some links: Giantesses features the work of Maxine Gadd, Judith Copithorne Renee Rodin, and other women poet/visual artists. I love the line in Lisa Robertson’s intro which describes them or their work as possessed of

“An unembarrassed and clear criticality which never refuses the complexities of daily existence”

Sadly one of the complexities of my daily existence this moment is fever and sciatica, which renders me unable to say much more on this, despite wishing to.  Another time I’ll revisit it.  Mainly want to record the link here for the purpose of a revisit.


Event…Crossings: a return

Come on out people and embrace/re-embrace/ discover/celebrate your literature

Click to enlarge for event details.

Books November

I am currently reading between four books.

Betty Lambert’s Crossings I am rereading slowly in preparation for the up and coming event at the Vancouver Public Library I am organizing. A group of us writers — Annabel Lyon, Juliane Okot Bitek, Claudia Casper, Renee Rodin and Lori Weidenhammer — are revisiting Crossings to see whether there are new readings to be had on the book. Lori, a performance artist will revisit a Lambert play)

Lambert’s Crossings is a book to be slowly digested and it is at times an immensely difficult but worthwhile digestion. The book possesses an unevenness — something that is necessary or fitting when you think about the uneven nature of the two main people it circulates around.

The other three books I am nesting with, in a remarkably different manner of reading, are three old Press Gang books:

1. Common Ground: Stories by Women

2. An Account To Settle The Story of the United Bank Workers (SORWUC).

3. Sometimes They Sang. Helen Potrebenko.

The first book I have read two or three of the stories and they made me think about space and the close confines in which the people live to each other and how people are invited into space. The second (non fiction) reads rather like an adventure (I’ve read much less successfully attempts at this in fiction!) and the third, I consider a vital novel (out of print naturally). All three contain strikes and picket lines in relation to women. I did not select them knowing this, in fact two of them I found on the side of the road. It’s curious what emerges when you open books in tandem or parallel.