I know it's been forever since I updated this site, but it's actually been a pretty productive year. In between life and parenthood, I've also managed to get a reasonable amount of writing done. So, I'm still around, and I'm still doing this. When I have a better sense of where some of my projects are heading, I'll post some news.
A couple of things to tell you about:
A few nights ago Janine and I were at the launch of Jared Young’s novel Into the Current (Goose Lane Editions). In conversation with CBC’s Alan Neal on stage at the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa, Jared was funny, confessional and articulate. Readings from the novel promise more of the same, so I’m really looking forward to reading it. What I heard was intimidatingly good writing.
Also, I can now tell you that my brother-in-law John Muggleton’s thriller Burn is being performed at the Avalon Studio on Bank Street November 4-6 and 11-13. Janine and I were honoured to be part of a small group who got to hear and offer comments on a live reading of the play while it was still in development. John is a legend in the Ottawa theatre community, known especially for his dedication and humour. The latter is in fine form in Burn, which freely indulges your nervous laughter as the growing tension looms. I’m really looking forward to seeing it live.
I love this little kid. Turns out babies are also a lot of work. Still writing. Slowly.
I'm not sure how to write this blog post. When you're a writer, people expect everything you write to be ... good. Janine gets that because sometimes I'll bug her to take a photo of me making some silly face in front of a monument or something, and she will, but there's no way she's publishing it. Sometimes, like anyone else, writers have to fire off that two-line Christmas card to a fourth cousin twice removed, or jot down instructions about feeding a cat or something. And if the instructions suck or are boring or predictable or derivative, they might get a little judged. And other times they'll be going through the most incredible, biggest and best adventure of their lives and find, on four hours' sleep, that nothing comes forth but cliches.
But what can I say? So many of the cliches are true. Janine and I have fallen in love with our daughter. She is a wonderful little person. I don't feel particularly insightful at the moment and certainly not witty. I just want to say that I love her, that I can't wait to see every little step of her life, and that I am more in awe of her mom than ever.
So, I'm going to be busy for the next while. I hope that I do a better job of this than anything else I do. But along the way, I'm going to keep working as well. Stay tuned on this site for updates on the different projects I'm working on: I'm still helping to edit the E.M. Delafield biography, I'll be contributing a chapter to a book on LGBT politics being published by the University of British Columbia Press, and I've started my next book. More about that later.
In the meantime, wish us luck! And hug your mom. And a nurse. They are angels.
What an incredible weekend! I’m back from the Galiano Literary Festival feeling refreshed and inspired. I enjoyed attending readings by Elizabeth May, Andrew Nikiforuk, the great George Bowering and many others. It was also great to meet fellow BC Book Prize nominee Arno Kopecky, poet Gillian Wigmore and authors Suzanne Fournier, Sandra Djwa, Cea Sunrise Person, Christine Smart, M. H. Callway, John Vaillant and many others. I also got to meet master carver Luke Marston, whose “Shore to Shore” sculpture is a permanent installation in Stanley Park. Meeting these people and chatting about writing, and comparing methods and challenges, was a valuable learning experience. I'm sure I walked off the ferry at the Tsawassen terminal a better writer...or at least with a longer reading list!
My reading went well, too. It was fun speaking more about voice and technique this time, rather than just politics. People asked informed and insightful questions, and I continue to be thrilled at the reception the book has received. It’s wonderful to know that the work has meant so much to people.
Of course, it’s always great to spend time with family and friends in BC, too (including Svend, in a cameo appearance!). My parents were able to attend the festival as well, which helped make it all even more special. When we got back to their place in North Delta afterward, with Galiano as our muse, my mom and I immediately dove into her manuscript for her biography of E.M. Delafield. The all-important first draft is done, and I have to say, it’s shaping up very nicely!
Thanks to Jim Schmidt, Lee Trentadue and Mary Trentadue and everyone involved with the festival for the invitation and for putting on such a great event. It will be a treasured memory for me.
What a journey all this has been...
I should have posted this much sooner, but later this month I'll be speaking at the Sixth Annual Galiano Literary Festival, which will be held February 20-22, 2015, on Galiano Island in BC. Other authors speaking at the festival include Elizabeth May, George Bowering, Cea Sunrise Person and many others.
I'll be discussing my biography of Svend Robinson, but I'll be focusing more on the literary side, rather than the political this time. I thought that appropriate, given the nature of the festival. There will also be a bit more of a focus on Svend's personal life; he still spends a fair amount of time on the Island, and a lot of people there know him well.
Tickets are still available through their website - sorry to be so late in posting this!
I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the Cirillo family, and a speedy recovery to Constable Son. I feel tremendous gratitude to the staff that keeps us safe here on the Hill. Thank you. Let us all respond to this tragic event with a renewed commitment to Canadian values: tolerance, love and respect for all peoples of the world. Let us reject fear, racism, and hate.
And let Parliament Hill, this symbol of what we stand for as a nation, remain an active representation of our civil liberties and commitment to free speech: a place for democracy, for peaceful protest, for celebrations, and yes, for soccer, picnics and yoga.
Peace on Earth.
Trick motions, surprise votes and fiddles - check out my latest article on the procedural warfare in the House of Commons.
I'm back from BC, and I had a great time, as always. There was an excellent turnout at the events, and the Q+A sessions were lively. Thanks to Raili Haapalainen at the Vancouver Public Library, Marie Paul at the Burnaby Public Library, Caitlin Jesson at Book Warehouse, Alan Zisman at Spartacus Books, and the New Star Books team for all their work to make these events so successful.
Along with visiting friends and family, I also spent some time working with my mom, Judy Truelove, on her book. Her writing has been published in Northern Light, Room, Branching Out, CV2, The Antigonish Review, PRISM international and Event. She also edited the first four drafts of the Robinson biography, and more or less taught me to write. She's currently working on a biography of E.M. Delafield, the celebrated English author. While Delafield's work is well known and retains its relatability today (it has been suggested that Bridget Jones is simply an updated version of the unnamed heroine of Delafield's Provincial Lady novels), my mom has uncovered a wealth of unpublished material about her personal life and the tumultuous world in which she wrote her most famous novels. It's a great story, and I really enjoyed batting ideas back and forth about how it might be told.
And, a lot of people have been asking what my next book will be. There are a few ideas floating around...stay tuned.
...but I'm not, because I have a no-pun policy...
I'm heading back to BC for the following events:
Vancouver Public Library (central branch/library square) - July 31 at 7 p.m. - reading and discussion
Book Warehouse (633 West Broadway) - August 6 at noon - book signing
Spartacus Books (3378 Findlay Street, just east of Commercial and 18th) - August 6 at 3:30 p.m. - book signing
Burnaby Public Library (Metrotown branch) - August 7 at 7 p.m. - reading and discussion
At the libraries, I'll be speaking and doing a couple of readings for about 40 minutes, followed by a Q+A. I'll do a variation on what I did in Regina/Saskatoon, because I felt that worked really well.
Always great to be back in BC - hope to see you there!
Here Graeme blogs about whatever he's working on.