Beer mats, microfiction, and the future of publishing

So — Storm Crow Tavern — home of such dietary staples as Romulan Wings of Vengeance and The Tacos of the Damned (where you can roll a twenty-sided die to determine which shot you’re ordering) — ran a microfiction contest this summer … and I seem to have won!

I’m happy. So happy that, in future, I might never again publish if it doesn’t involve beer coasters.



There’s a super short piece of mine on this month’s Readers Digest site (along with pieces by Peter Jaeger, Jen Pendergast, Hermine Robinson, Rachel Lebowitz, Ashley-Elizabeth Best,  rob mcLennan and Jen Pendergast). If you’re on twitter, the site is streaming twitter-shorts under the hashtag #rdshorts.

The reason I love Sarah Jane.

I’ve been curious about the title of Spencer Susser’s short, its genesis. Wonder if it comes from the old blues song called “Make me a pallet on your floor” (there’s a Buddy Bolden version of this song ringing out through the ether; at least, that’s what Rob would say — that our voices vibrate out towards the stars; not so indelible as the “voyager golden record” maybe, but tiny traces of us still, a resonance). The following is a transliteration of the 1911 version set down in “Mama Yancey and the Revival Blues Tradition.”

Make me a pallet on the floor,
Make it in the kitchen behind the door.

Oh, don’t turn a good man from your door,
May be a friend, babe, you don’t know.

Oh, look down that lonesome lane,
Made me a pallet on the floor

Oh, the reason I love Sarah Jane,
Made me a pallet on the floor.

(Odum 1911)

People’s coop books

Just days after Duthies Books announced its closure, this after 53 years in the business of selling books, there is a chance to save another independent bookstore.

People’s Coop books is my local bookstore. They handsold Delible, as they do a lot of other books by Vancouver-based authors. Every time I drop in, I always find some interesting political or literary boardbook for my babe.

Come to the Wise Hall Friday night, 7:30, and $10 will get you entrance to a marathon line-up. Charlie Demers is hosting. The writers on the bill include George Bowering, David Chariandy, Kevin Chong, Rex Weyler and me, as well as playwrights Marcus Youssef and Camyar Chai. You’ll see performances by comedians Morgan Brayton, Katie-Ellen Humphries, and Alicia Tobin, DJing by Dreamscene and music by Chelsea Johnson, The Carnival Band and Team YPE.

I just can’t see the drive without People’s Coop Books.

All there is to offer

There’s an interview with Cormac McCarthy out. It’s been excerpted on various blogs, including Bookninja — the line specifically where he says

CM: I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.

which is smart and made me laugh out loud. Until I read on, the part where he talks about his (scientist) friends at the Sante Fe Institute. He says something here that feels much more true, and echoes something Wayde once said to me:

CM: I have friends at the Institute. They’re just really bright guys who do really difficult work solving difficult problems, who say, “It’s really more important to be good than it is to be smart.” And I agree it is more important to be good than it is to be smart. That is all I can offer you.

Books Rational

Interviews I’ve done with a number of different authors are now available as a podcast through itunes. In itunes, under “Books Rational,” there are four archived episodes (Prison Justice Day, Hiromi Goto, Jenny Sampirisi, Aaron Peck) and some upcoming, too. Or here.

The newest installment is below: