Sunday, October 29, 2006

Soap Scum

Today I received confirmation that Soap Scum has been accepted in one of the six holiday craft shows it has applied to! (one, at the Gladstone, rejected Soap Scum; five more are pending).

It's called The Sassy Little Craft Show, and it's an evening event on November 18th, at the Victory Cafe. There will be live jazz ("and good jazz, not shit jazz," in the organizer's own words), funky indie designers, booze, dancing (dancing?!), and of course, lots of local DIY vendors. The motto is "This ain't your granny's church basement!" You get the idea. I'm looking forward to it (though I enjoy church basement shows too). I've never participated in a nighttime craft show before, and I think it's a great idea.

Hopefully you can all come out and shop and have some fun with me. And support local indie talent!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Moore

I just finished reading Jeffrey Moore's Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain. I didn't like it nearly as much as The Memory Artists. Was it well-written? Sure. I just didn't fall for the characters, or swoon in the depth of insight, or revel in the plot like I did with his second novel. I also found that certain characters in the first novel read like watered-down versions of characters I loved in his second novel: Jacques was a less-interesting Norval, Victor a weaker JJ, Milena a similar Samira (what's with the "Dark Lady" love object?) - you get the idea. Does he have a stock cast?

And I totally didn't buy the ending! (I won't elaborate to avoid spoiling.)

Jeremy's childhood, as well as Milena's, comprised the more fascinating elements. I would have been happier if he'd focussed on those time periods, with a motif of risk, loss, portents, and gambling instead of Jeremy's relentless pursual of Milena.

But I should just finish my own damn novel and stop trying to rewrite those of others!

I feel compelled though to reiterate that I adored The Memory Artists. One criticism of it was that it didn't need its postmodern trappings of various media to tell its story (articles, diaries, etc.) but I enjoyed that and thought it enhanced the narrative and didn't at all detract from the emotional development of the characters or driving force of the story. But hey, people get squeamish about that sort of thing. Too bad for them.

How about A. M. Homes' This Book Will Save Your Life? I had to take it back to the library without starting it, but I will get it again. I didn't really care for her Music For Torching, though again, I can't dispute its well-done-ness. I just didn't need well-written confirmation of how insensitive and selfish people are. And with no postmodern jazzing about!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Point of View

If ever I am mad enough to attempt another novel, IT WILL NOT BE WRITTEN IN A LIMITED SUBJECTIVE POINT OF VIEW!

I thought that moving from first person to third (subjective) would be an improvement, that it would expand my language options, which it did, but it can get frustrating. Frustrating for me. I have to keep coming up with varying ways of conveying relevant information and action while doing so only from the scope of one character.

Once I enjoyed writing within constraints. Today, I don't. God, I'm lazy.

I seem to remember reading an interview with Camilla Gibb in which she discussed the differences between the writing of her first and second novels. Mouthing the Words was highly subjective, while The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life was, if I recall correctly, omniscient (yeah, my books are still in boxes, so I can't check. But I bought on craigslist an old custom-made-for-someone-else massive oak bookcase! It's over 7 feet all! And wider than I am tall! It's uncertain whether or not it's going to fit through the front door, but it was such a deal! So, yeah, then I'll be able to unpack the rest of the books. If we can get it inside at all). Anyway, I believe she discussed those constraints in point of view, and said that she didn't want to write another first person novel, and deliberately chose omniscience for the second book. I think I'll do the same, if ever I reach such a point. I'm not sure what pov her third novel is in because I haven't read it yet.

Any readers have thoughts on limited vs. scoping points of view? As both writers and as readers.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Giller en Francais

I found this op. ed. piece by Andre Alexis in yesterday's Globe and Mail to be very interesting. It's about language and fiction and translation; specifically, about books translated into English then getting nominated for big English language book prizes.

I tend to agree with what he has to say about it. I'm curious how others respond to his contentions.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Leafs Season Opener!

Miraculously, I got a ticket to the Leafs' season opener game against the Ottawa Senators tomorrow! Thanks, Shawna! Very exciting. I don't know how things will fare, and as far as Toronto Maple Leafs' recent history goes, regular season and playoffs season are two distinctly different animals... but it's always a thrill to be in the audience at an NHL game, and it's been at least two years for me, so I'm excited.

For the handful of regular readers here, I apologize for my lack of posts lately, and lack of bookish content. I've been recently blown away by a brilliant novel, and have struggled with how to articulate my praise... maybe I should just say 'read Jeffrey Moore's The Memory Artists' and I'll tell you why later. God, it's so good. It's beyond writer-envy this time, and I recommend it to almost everyone I talk with. I just got his earlier novel today, and I'm looking forward to it. But right now, I just can't see how much would top The Memory Artists and I want to re-read it before anything else these days. More later on how it expanded my parameters of structural preoccupations...