(Maria Vargas Llosa: The Storyteller, Death in the Andes)
I’ve taken a travel year with my family, heading more or less East until we find ourselves back in Quebec (or prove the Flat-Earthers correct!) I’ve always liked to read something from the places I travel to, and I thought it would make a fun quest to explore the world simultaneously through the books of each country we visit. Like a literary Anthony Bourdain.
Of course, we can’t pretend to understand a culture from a few books; we aren’t going to catalyze a series of epiphanies and insights here… …no, OK, we can pretend. And pretending is fun. And cultures are different. Arts are different. Sensibilities and worldview differ. What a boring world it would be otherwise!
And if this project doesn’t turn up any cultural insights — which I’ll be honest, insights are pretty far between for me — it will still be fun. So let’s go.
Peru: land of mystery!
The biggest of which is: who to read? It turned out, Peru has it’s own literary giant, almost comparable to Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez in terms of world and domestic stature, and poetic-polysyllabic nomenclature: Maria Vargos Llosa! That name just tastes great, doesn’t it? Say it out loud. It also doesn’t rhyme with anything. The closest are bossa nova, cosa nostra and Operation Barbarossa. And so, I gave up on my plans to write this instalment as a ballad.[Read more…]
Pre-amble: I’ve taken a travel year with my family, heading more or less East until we find ourselves back in Quebec (or prove the Flat-Earthers correct!) I’ve always liked to read something from the places I travel to, and I thought it would make a fun quest to explore the world simultaneously through the books of each country we visit. Like a literary Anthony Bourdain.[Read more…]
It was a pleasure and privilege to join my friend Adam Chalifoux for a hockey odyssey into Eeyou Istchee, the home of the James Bay Cree. I am grateful to Sharp Magazine for giving me the opportunity to tell this story, and to the community of Waskaganish for being so welcoming. I look forward to coming back!
I have had Conrad’s Lord Jim in mind as one of my favourite novels since I first read it, close to twenty years ago. I remember it as the perfect mix of excitement, exoticism, storytelling, and idea. It was a perfect book to me. It was what I wanted to do, as a writer. I was convinced it was the greatest novel. I recommended it to everyone, I loved to talk about it.
Now,these many moons later, I have no idea, really, if this is remotely right. I haven’t really looked at it since then. I don’t remember what it’s about, except that its in India, or Thailand, or someplace hot and east. I remember the set-up for Jim. I remember the shell story, or the storyteller, at least (Marlowe? The same storyteller as Heart of Darkness, I think).
I don’t remember the story.
So, I’m reading it again.
Charles Adler is the last honest man! He promised he wouldn’t wait 15 years to have me back on the Charles Adler Tonight radio show, and true to his word, two weeks later, he invited me back to discuss John McCain and re-visit Tragically Hip, Twisted.
Worth listening to for Charles’ incredible voice reading from the stories Scared and Locked in the Trunk of a Car.
Had a great 15-year catch-up with radio legend Charles Adler, discussing, naturally, Tragically Hip, Twisted and the monarchy.
“Taking beloved cuts from Canada’s house band and, well, twisting them up into fictional stories that shine an entirely new spotlight on some of the songs that have been the soundtrack to our lives… …established fans will enjoy the new slants to some of their favorite songs as well as the photos of Gord and the boys. If you’re new to the Hip, this is a pretty unique introduction.”
–Ottawa Life Magazine
And it’s a good one!
Come join me!
RSVP on the FB page here:
I am very proud to announce that Chapters-Indigo bookstores across Canada have launched Tragically Hip, Twisted. Outside Ontario, it may not be available in every store – just ask, and the store can order for you. It is extremely rare for a self-published book to get picked up by Canada’s pre-eminent book chain. I hope we’ll reach some more readers and raise more funds for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.
I wrote this post 8 years ago, for the French Open. The Federer/Nadal rivalry was already one of the all-time great ones, though Nadal had not yet “run away” with the head to head. That took a little lustre off it as a rivalry in terms of their direct contests (Rafa dominates the H2H 23-11; but in terms of career accomplishments, Roger is far in front). Still, here we are, 6 years from their LAST Grand Slam final (a 2011 French Open win for Rafa), and the two are ready for a kind of tennis Valhalla battle. So, before we do, please take a look at some thoughts from a long time ago, a Nietzschean analysis about what makes this rivalry so enthralling, despite the lopsided H2H in Rafa’s favour: [Read more…]
An exciting week, this, and its only Tuesday. Monday, I connected with the Sunnybrook Foundation to begin a donor-relationship with funds from the sale of Tragically Hip, Twisted, going specifically to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. The whole idea behind putting the book together was as a tribute to the Hip; to be able to fundraise through the book in this way seems to fit together with that. Aside from these donations being in honour of the band, cancer has been a major actor in my life and my family’s story. I imagine a lot of people would say that, but I feel it acutely. I lost my mother to cancer when I was a child. My father, as a lung surgeon, spent his career fighting cancer, and my brothers and I had the opportunity create a visiting professorship at the Ottawa Hospital in his name, to bring cutting edge research in the field to my father’s old department. In addition, one of my brothers is a neurosurgeon, continuing the idea of cancer as a personal family adversary.
On a lighter note, today, Tragically Hip, Twisted became Amazon’s #1 bestselling Canadian short story collection. Anytime you can lead a list containing Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, David Bezmogis and Lucy Maud Montgomery, you’ll take it. (Bestseller-page image below the Sunnybrook letter).