Thursday, December 13, 2007

Toronto Small Press Fair Dialogue

I have been following with interest the useful discussion about the Toronto Small Press Fair on this [Toronto Small Press Fair] Facebook Group. The Fair has been an important part of my cultural life since its inception twenty years ago. It has contributed significantly to my development as a writer and is responsible for introducing me to many writers, publishers, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and much writing which has been important to me. All of which made my last twenty years of engagement in the Toronto and area literary scene inspiring, collegial, pleasant, welcoming, intellectually engaging, and fun.

It hasn’t been free from dispute, often passionate disagreement, and the usual ‘family’/community issues – and indeed has included some unfortunate ad hominem attacks – all of which have required us all to take the long view, to agree to disagree, to find our own resolutions for the various unkindnesses, wounds, and injustices. To find ways to heal. Clearly, all of us, whether we like it our not, are rhizomatically connected. Perhaps from one angle, we look like disconnected stars, but seen from earth, we appear as part of one constellation.

We don’t have to like each other, or even respect each other. But we do need to find a way to be able to dialogue. To engage each other. To keep on living and writing together. Lately there has been a considerable controversy over the Fair. Regardless of the details of its resolution, we all are going to have to continue to live and work side-by-side in the same literary fishbowl, the same micro-ecosystem. No matter how divisive or painful it may seem in the short run, we need to keep listening to each other. To continue to be both writers and readers of each other's words.

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