Friday, October 06, 2017

Residencies, aleph nulls, clowns, prizes, audiobooks, US distribution and outer space

Image from Jim Andrews' Aleph Null program using some of my visual work as material for the "brush"


It's been a while since I've posted here.

What's happened?

I became Chancellor of the Exchequer of a land inhabited by small clowns.

I've begun as writer-in-residence at McMaster University and the Hamilton Public Library. It's been fascinating. I've met with a wide range of people already, from the quite young to the more senior, from someone who wanted help with a book on the finer points of kimono collecting to a science fiction writer who was going to write to one of Donald Trump's sons to ask where to publish. I find it inspiring to read work outside my usual range and to try to think about how I can best offer advice, information, or inspiration. I've read some knock-out poetry and some very vivid memoirs.

Yiddish for Pirates has won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Fiction—and my good friend, Stuart Ross's book A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak and Wynn) won for Poetry.

Yiddish for Pirates is now available in the US! And there's a Canadian audiobook version as well as the US version. They have different actors reading. It's fascinating—at least for me—to compare.

I created a story with music for a collaboration with Stephanie Vegh, Laine Groeneweg and Steve Mazza for an art exhibition at Hamilton's The Assembly Gallery. It was inspired by the recently discovered Trappist-1 Planets which add to the list of possibly inhabitable world. Here's a recording of the music and story:





I did some readings in Vancouver (The Real Vancouver Writers Series) and in Sidney by the Sea (on Vancouver Island) for the Sidney Literary Festival. Poems, poems with computer music accompaniment, and readings from Yiddish for Pirates. 

Digital poet Jim Andrews has an amazing program called Aleph Null which creates images or videos out using pre-existing visuals as "brushes." He's recently included my work as a brush choice.  The image at the top of this post is a first little sketch using the program, but I've been working on using the program to make some video imagery, too. Jim has made some fantastic images (he is, of course, an expert in using the program.)

AND....I'm beginning work in earnest on my new novel which is turning out to be some kind of Western set in Eastern Europe. I'm considering posting a word count on the door of my McMaster University office just to shame myself into keeping writing. We'll see if I'm brave enough.

Finally, I didn't really become Chancellor of the Exchequer of that land inhabited by small clowns. I didn't have the shoes. Or the hat.

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