Event coming up for anyone in the Montreal area. My short play “Down in the Valley”, a meditation on what it means to be human set in a kind of post-Apocalyptic Quebec City, is getting a public reading with the community theatre group Theatre NDG. This is such a cool program that they do, giving writers a chance to test out the plays they’re developing in front of a live audience. I’m very excited and a little nervous to hear my words read aloud by their actors. Plus, it’s a double feature, so the audience gets to hear two plays in one evening!
Northern Review, a peer-reviewed journal exploring human experience in the circumpolar regions, has just done a special issue on northern literature, and my short story “Permafrost” is in it. In this story about a family emigrating from Bangkok to Svalbard, Nok has always believed implicitly in her parents’ love for each other—until an unforeseen crisis casts doubt on the very foundations of their family. Head on over and read it!
The lovely online Albion Magazine has just published my review of Rumer Godden’s 1955 novel An Episode of Sparrows, about children planting a garden in the rubble of bombed London. The book was also made into a film called Innocent Sinners, starring talented child actress June Archer, which you can find on YouTube. Both the book and the movie have some uncomfortable and sad moments, but the overall message is one of irrepressible life. You can read the full review here.
The summer issue of carte-blanche has just come out, and with it my short story, “The Merlot.” A story that’s about friendship, growing up, and being a girl. You can go read it here.
I have a new writing project: I’ve challenged myself to try to write a sonnet every day. It’s an exercise, partly in writing skills (like doing scales on the piano), and partly in mindfulness: writing a poem is a particular way of paying attention to the everyday things that surround us. The sonnets are going up, one at a time, here.
Let’s see how long I can keep it up!
Last fall I went to a fascinating stage adaptation of Orwell’s novel 1984. I never loved the novel as a teenager, but in my twenties I discovered Orwell’s non-fiction—Homage to Catalonia, Down and Out in Paris and London, and I haven’t yet managed The Road to Wigan Pier, but it is climbing my to-be-read pile—and every one of them blew my mind. This production at Théâtre du Trident in Québec City seemed like the perfect chance to tackle the classic dystopia once again, and see if I’d grown up enough to enjoy it. To add the experience, I’d just finished a stint as lighting technician for Quebec Art Company’s production of La Cage aux Folles, which involved a lot of on-the-job learning for me. Lessons such as: I really should have memorized those formulas for converting between amps, volts and watts from first-year physics, and electrocution is no fun. So, going to see 1984 also meant relaxing into a safe comfortable seat and watching a professional take over.
Then I pitched the idea of writing a review to my dear friend and editor at Albion Magazine, and she did her usual brilliant job putting out this winter’s issue. The full review can be read here.
So, in the past few months I’ve been working on a collaborative zine project with a couple of friends, Pablo and Kirsten (a “zine” is a small, self-published book, put together old-school style with a photocopier and a stapler). The theme of our project is “Unrequited.” Basically, we interviewed each other about the people we’ve had crushes on over the years, and the silly things we did to try to get their attention. Next, we each produced a zine in a totally different style. Mine was comics. Here is the cover and first three pages, just to give you a taste (click on the image to zoom in): Continue reading