Landing April 30, 2014

"The Dread Crew (the first in the series) is the exciting debut of an extremely gifted, original writer. Sparkling wordplay ... unforgettable characters in a world so richly imagined, readers will want more, more, more. I've become a Dread Crew tracker and huge Inglis fan." —Sheree Fitch

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Please do not email me for real estate on this website: ad space, reviews, or giveaways. I don't do that, and never will, so don't ask. To the wholly unconnected marketing machine: consider this the snarling dogs on my front porch. To everyone else: a smile.

Thursday
Apr032014

April come she will

It's been a winter of almost total hibernation. The wind tore my screen door off its hinges and blew a foot of snow into the shed. But now everything is happening, all at once, and the winter feels like bigotry. It is doomed, and it knows it.

Now for what's next: lists and mulch and manuscripts, because god knows I'm behind. Now that Flight of the Griffons is on the presses, I'll start editing this fall's picture book with Nimbus—a book of monster poems for 4-8 year olds called If I Were A Zombie. And I'll keep fussing over a growing posse of literary rejects because hope is a warm doughnut, ultimately empty but sweet enough to keep you from drifting off at the wheel. Then it's the beginnings of something big—the next gulag, if I'm worth anything at all.

The prospect of another novel, especially one that may digress from piracy, makes me feel like an infant all over again. Wailing! Acid reflux! Fits and spurts and blowouts and exhausted, tear-stained, falling-into-a-flushed-heap flounces. Someday, people are going to stop turning the word 'writer' into an adverb but until then, whenever I see it, repeated infancy is the only definition that comes to mind.

+++

I'm going to Calgary in a couple of weeks, hired to shoot Cheryl Arkison's next book as a follow-up to A Month of Sundays, the most epic and excellent week of photography in my life so far. Getting on a plane again after these land-frozen and head-frozen few months feels as improbable as a thaw. My camera is a dog, generally obliging and good company that doesn't ask for much. It will feel like play (if a marathon is play) and then I'll come home to a box of hardcovers waiting at the post office. Gonna stuff my face right in there on any page. There is no more potent drug.

Then it's the book launch, set for Saturday, May 17 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront. We'll have music and readings and Swedish yelling and possibly a live stream of it all—it's going to happen right here, in this space, after four years of writing and rewriting. Four years. I keep staring at all that teak and canvas of the Small Crafts Gallery, all those female swoops and curves, at ribs and bows and masts mere feet from the harbour, and it feels right. Air, land, or sea, all ships are cousins. One blesses the other.

It's going to be the greatest day ever, with banjo. I'm so excited. I'll hope you'll be there, or tune in from far away. More here in the coming days and weeks, plus whatever treats from the book I can sneak away to show you. Res upp.

+++

The windshield wipers are pushed up so they won't freeze to the glass and a robin just landed on the tip of one, staring beady-eyed at what we both hope is the great giving-up. The field freezes and unfreezes. It's snowing but it's a spineless snow, sugar on top of defrosted mud.  There's life under there. The robin took off and the wiper blade twanged like a plucked string.

Everything's coming alive.

 

Monday
Jan272014

Generally hongzhi

They barrel down the street, backpacks swaying as night gives way to winter grey. Ben found ice. Ice! he yells. There is something about the two of them this morning. Knotty bedhead, mittens damp with yesterday's slip into the creek. The schoolbus pulls away in a cloud of exhaust and I walk home along the edge of the field, looking forward to tea and a fire, cycling peacefully through love; death; toast.

Marriage or parenthood change us as we expect them to, within fair boundaries, most often pleasantly so. You become a couple and there are more elbows and feet. You laugh at the same stuff. You suffocate a little. There is laundry. You say 'we'. He sees welts on your neck from absent-minded scratching and he says You're doing it again. It's nice that he does that. You have a failsafe chili, three soups, a hot dip. Everybody likes the same crackers. You never buy Farmers' milk. Only Scotsburn. You are changed in whatever way is your way. You are merged, both hard work and ease.

Walking to my home along the edge of a field feeling soft and distant and curious: Liam's death was unchartered. The ground hummed and the wind had hands. Six years later, there's a fondness, almost, for the only time in my life that I've ever been genuinely strung out. A decade ago I'd watch from the bus as junkies staggered across East Hastings Street in Vancouver. I'd sit compressed in the manner of public transit, chin in my hand, and follow them until I couldn't anymore, taken away by green lights and vanishing lines. Was he pulled or pushed here? ... What does she see?

They'd hang on to street posts while inanimate things talked back. In them I saw an amplified awareness of all that was menacing, the ghosts and demons and sorcery denied to unaltered states. I saw feet of either four hundred pounds or feathers, a ground of frozen molasses and fly paper, buildings made of fists. And something else that was, as much as it was killing them, exquisite.

+++

I need a hurricane cap for the stovepipe in the shed. Water from the last northeaster blew in and trickled through, leaving a puddle on the slate and splatters of rust on the woodstove that need to be scrubbed off with steel wool and rubbed again with blackening paste. The back windows need glazing, priming, two more coats of paint. I need mulch for the garden; the electrician for a back door light; insulation for the dining room; dad's iron fork to rip out sod and make a bed of soil along the back of the house; more trips to the greenhouse; a better axe to chop the scrap wood for kindling.

I love this list.

I take apart a stack of photo albums, removing their contents in favour of one box. I look at how small I was, yet I didn't know. I held nothing in because there was nothing to hold in. I imagine telling that girl what was to happen. She wouldn't believe it, but she wouldn't believe that list, either.

I love it so much.

+++

I wondered if I should explain the past year's news reporting here (what I am doing, what I did) as compared to crafted thought or emotional exposure, but I couldn't stand to even try. The only meta discourse I'm comfortable with is when somebody goes onto a football field and lines up tiny salted caramels into giant words that say DO YOU LIKE SALTED CARAMELS, and then I eat the S, the A, the L, the T, and the E, but then it says DO YOU LIKE D CARAMELS and now it looks grammatically ridiculous, so I have to eat the D too.

Karen Maezen MillerI just haven’t wanted to say anything for awhile. That’s not true, I’ve wanted to say a lot, but I haven’t said what didn’t need to be said. ... 'The motto for becoming genuine: nothing is gained by speaking.' — Hongzhi

It has been delicious.

 

Friday
Dec202013

April 30, 2014

ISBN #9781771081320 because life is the most fantastic thing.