Author Archives: all words on me

BWS 10.07.19: Teddy Syrette

PIKE-9695

Teddy Syrette (Ozhawa Anung Kwe/Yellow Star Woman) is a 2-Spirit Anishnaabe queerdo from Rankin Reserve of Batchewana First Nation. Their short stories and poems have been published in various blog posts, anthologies and washroom stalls. Teddy currently lives in Toronto, but travels around Ontario and Turtle Island as a storyteller, artists and advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ folks. Teddy’s background in social work, theatre and bingo. They enjoy poetry (theirs), pugs (others) and polyamory.

Ahead of their appearance on July 10, Teddy shares a deeply personal essay on living with addiction, depression, and mental health.

 

Asking for help with addiction can feel shameful and make you question the value of your personhood. Add on the complexity of having ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ and you could feel very insignificant. That is how I feel. Not most times, but many times I feel inadequate. My social media presence can make it seem that on the surface I am, okay. But deep down I’m not. I haven’t been in a while. These feelings haven’t changed since I was a child. As a teenager, I denounced any form of prescribed antidepressants. I didn’t like the way they made feel. Instead of feeling all the feelings all at once, I was left feeling nothing.

Some days I feel nothing. Not the breeze creeping into the room I have sublet, in Toronto’s busy Annex area. I can barely feel the warmth of the sunshine as I sit in the park with a buddy. Everything even tastes bitter. The joy of eating the foods I love and that bring me comfort now taste muted. As a foodie, I should feel more alarmed. But I am not. My brain is coming out of the fog. That’s how it feels. I feel relieved to be out of the darkness that clouds me often. But now I am left with reflecting of my actions and inactions of this recent depressive episode.

This blog is very personal. But mental health and mental illness is personal. Our mental well-being is easier managed by others. Not me. I do my best to cope without a pill. But as someone who has lived with mental illness for almost 18 years, I am becoming open to the idea of more assistance with managing my emotional and mental parts of myself. The one thing that is helpful, is talking to loved ones and friends about how I am feeling. What causes me to be depressed and what helps me clear the fog.

There are folks who don’t understand the daily struggle of living with depression. Some days are better than others. Some days are better, but spent on recovering from the fog. When the good days are really good days, I do my best to spend them doing what I enjoy doing. And not just doing what helps me cope through depressive episodes.

I miss deadlines and don’t respond back to messages. I’m rarely on time and know that I’m not organized. I also don’t ask for help and would rather just crash and burn. That isn’t helpful and I’m aware of it. It is a tug of war, deciding if how I cope is harm reduction or enablism. Substitution of behaviours and avoidance are common themes in my makeup. But if I can account for the misgivings of my actions, why do I continue to make mistakes? Once you acknowledge a cycle of violence or harm, one should do their best to correct or stop it. Sometimes I just watch my situation get worse, like a fire, slowly burning away anything that it touches.

Taking the steps that are needed to get back to feeling worthy is slow and stumbly. Remembering what you do for work and how you get work and how you get to work becomes evident. People waiting to hear back from you are still people. Folks waiting to hear from you are family members, friends, clients and helpers. Don’t take them for granted. They very important people. Ask them for help. Apologize to them. Apologize to yourself and make a plan now, before the fog rolls back in.

Recovery is difficult. But working towards those goals can be so beneficial. They can be life saving. I apologize to those who don’t appreciate this blog. But for those who are also struggling, I feel you. I know how alone and isolating it is when we feel trapped in our mind. Please know that there are others out there who want to help. You just need to want it.

 

Teddy Syrette visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Jenny Yuen, Terry Favro, SK Dyment, and guest speaker Leah Bobet who will be exploring the topic, “Worlds are Made of People.”

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Brockton Writers Series 10.07.19

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Teddy Syrette
Jenny Yuen
Terry Favro
SK Dyment

with special guest speaker

Leah Bobet

Glad Day Bookshop

499 Church Street, Toronto

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books and refreshments are available for sale.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO
The venue is accessible. Please refrain from wearing scents.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

OAC_REVISED_NEWCOLOURS_1805c

And to the Canada Council for the Arts for travel funding!

 

GUEST SPEAKER

“Worlds are Made of People”

 

Leah Bobet -- Headshot

Leah Bobet‘s most recent novel, An Inheritance of Ashes, won the Sunburst, Copper Cylinder, and Prix Aurora Awards; her short fiction appears in multiple Year’s Best anthologies. She lives in Toronto, where she picks urban apple trees, builds civic engagement spaces, and pickles basically everything. Visit her at www.leahbobet.com.

 

READERS

PIKE-9695

Teddy Syrette (Ozhawa Anung Kwe/Yellow Star Woman) is a 2-Spirit Anishnaabe queerdo from Rankin Reserve of Batchewana First Nation. Their short stories and poems have been published in various blog posts, anthologies and washroom stalls. Teddy currently lives in Toronto, but travels around Ontario and Turtle Island as a storyteller, artists and advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ folks. Teddy’s background in social work, theatre and bingo. They enjoy poetry (theirs), pugs (others) and polyamory.

 

Jenny_Yuen

Jenny Yuen is an award-winning news reporter, who covers a wide variety of local, provincial and national stories, and has written for the Toronto Sun, Now Magazine, and CBC Radio. She is a proud poly partner. She lives in Toronto with her family.

 

 

 

 

 

Terri

Terri Favro is the author of four books including  “Sputnik’s Children”, a Globe & Mail 100 book, CBC Books top ten book and Quill & Quire best book, shortlisted for the Sunburst Award and optioned for the screen by EntertainmentOne. Terri also collaborates on graphic novels and likes robots, her family and wet, dirty martinis. Michael and M.J., “Sputnik’s Children” is published by ECW (2017) and is still in print.

 

 

 

 

 

WriterPhotoNiceSK Dyment is a writer and visual artist. SK has an illustrated blog with The BuzzMag called Inking Quickly, and his humour and illustration work have appeared in Peace Magazine, This Magazine, Briarpatch, Open Road, The Activist, Kick It Over and Fireweed among others. Steel Animals is their debut novel.

 

 

 

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BWS 08.05.19 report: “Submitting to Literary and Genre Magazines” with Yilin Wang

yilin photo

Yilin Wang is a writer, editor, and translator who lives on the unceded traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Abyss & Apex, carte blanche, Arc Poetry Magazine, Grain, Contemporary Verse 2, LooseLeaf, and other publications. She is an assistant editor for Room Magazine and a former editorial board member for Prism International. 

At our last event, guest speaker Yilin gave us tips on submitting work to literary and genre magazines. She spoke on the topic based on her experiences as a writer and as an editor for various publications.

 

I want to start by saying that I’m not a huge fan of labeling work as “literary fiction” or “speculative fiction,” because I find that these labels can be limiting and marginalize speculative fiction writers. However, I’ll be using these terms in this blogpost because they can be useful when it comes to describing the submission process for different types of stories.

I hope that the information in this blogpost will be helpful to not only those with an interest in submitting to both literary and speculative fiction publications in North America, but also help encourage those who work for literary journals to consider what they can learn from speculative fiction publications and ways that they can create more space for speculative and genre-bending work.

How are literary and SF magazines different?

 

Style and content

SF Magazines often have a focus on narratives and plot that engage strongly with speculative elements and/or genre tropes. Some of the publications can be quite niche, publishing work that is specifically second-world fantasy (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) or science fiction (Apex, Asimov’s Science Fiction), whereas literary fiction publications tend to publish a wide range of realistic stories with some speculative work occasionally thrown into the mix. Another unique feature of many SF publications is that they sometimes accept stories up to 8,000 or 10,000+ words, whereas most literary journals tend to prefer much shorter pieces.

Submission process

When it comes to formatting, most SF magazines require all submissions to follow the “Standard Manuscript Format,” which is actually not “standard” because many literary journals have their own unique formatting guidelines instead. SFF magazines rarely take simultaneous submissions, whereas many literary journals do, which is important to keep in mind. Some SFF magazines have a very fast response time (e.g. Clarkesworld is famous for sending rejection letters in two days), although most SF and literary magazines respond to submissions within a few months.

Pay

Canadian literary journals tend to have varying pay rates that are partially influenced by grant requirements. On the other hand, the pay for SF magazines is heavily influenced by standards set out by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The minimum pay rate set out by SFWA is currently 6 cents USD per word, rising to 8 cents per word on Sept 1, 2019. This standard rate allows for equity and transparency in the publication process for writers.

Where can you find publications to submit your work?

Here are a few good sources to consider:

How do you decide where to submit?

I recommend writers submit to publications that are a good fit, that pay writers for their work, and that have published writing and/or writers that they enjoy reading.

Additionally, when deciding whether to submit to literary versus SF publications, here are some questions to consider: 1) To what extent is the story driven by plot elements and conventions of a speculative fiction genre? 2) How speculative is the story? Does it have dragons or is it set in a different world? Or are the speculative elements more symbolic? 3) How much does the story focus on language and experimenting with literary elements?

As a queer woman of color, I also recommend that writers from underrepresented backgrounds examine the publication carefully in terms of diversity and representation. It’s important to go beyond statements saying a publication is diverse. Check for awareness of subconscious bias in the publication’s mandate and submission calls. See who is on the masthead and who the publication has featured in the past. Look for transparency in terms of the publication’s editorial process and submission guidelines.

Finally, here are my top four tips for anyone who wishes to submit to literary and/or SF publications: 

  1. Send out your work to many publications. Don’t self-reject and don’t stop submitting your work after a few rejections.
  2. Read and follow submission calls carefully. Make sure to follow any formatting guidelines and check that you fit any demographic requirements for submitting.
  3. Be honest with yourself about whether your piece is a good “fit” for the publication. Can you really see your work appearing in this publication? Have they published work similar to yours before or expressed a desire to?
  4. Keep your cover letter short and concise. Do not explain the meaning or theme of your story or poem, and instead, let the work speak for itself.
  5. Take your time with each piece. Edit it carefully and give it to beta-readers for feedback before you submit. Make sure the work is something you are truly happy with before you send it out into the world.

 

Stay tuned for information about our next event and features on our upcoming writers! 

 

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BWS 08.05.19: Doyali Islam

Doyali Islam. Photo by Arden Wray

Doyali Islam‘s brand-new poetry book is heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019) – a lyrical and innovative collection that the poet describes as a “ledger of tenderness, survival, and risk.” Poems from heft have been published in Kenyon Review Online and Best Canadian Poetry, and have been rendered into film through Visible Poetry Project. Doyali is the poetry editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and she lives in Toronto. In 2017, she was a guest on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition.

 

I wasn’t sure what to write for this blog, so I thought I’d provide a little fun in advance of my May 8th reading! I hope you enjoy this small game!

Poetry Quiz: heft

How to Play: Each of the six images below matches up with one of the six poem excerpts from my new book, heft (McClelland & Stewart, March 2019). Have fun guessing the matches!

ant carrying grain of rice (2)

okcupid

aries [the ram]

llama

pears

hands and dove

* “because i see / your shadow fatten, tumour-like, i say, look, / silverthorn’s tree. (one autumn we gathered / the fallen, fly-bitten pears to knock down // better fruit.) we walk, and i want to share / what i wish you had known – that love is built / not found”

 

* “my hairdresser, llisa, / untangles again & again the knot / of one question”

 

* “so, it traced / the perimeter of its plastic cage, / wondering at the hard unseeable edge, / hurrying to make sense of its enclosure.”

 

* i admit none of this would matter // if you, father, were not born stubborn ram / and i, libra”

 

* “& because / when has my dating life ever turned out, / i decide, for once, to be prudent & / selfish – to take this one thing, store it away / for winter, here in this poem, this ledger / of tender”

 

* “in four directions let the body move / a hand                                 a dove”

Doyali Islam visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Paul Vermeersch, Andrew Gurza, Andrea Bain, and guest speaker Yilin Wang who will  be giving us guidance on “Submitting to Literary and Genre Magazines.”

 

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BWS 08.05.19: Andrea Bain

Andrea_bain

Andrea Bain is an author, podcaster and an on air personality. Her newest project is the funny and insightful podcast Single Girl Problems named after her first book. Most recently she was one of the hosts of the national lifestyle program The Goods on CBC. This two time Canadian Screen Awards nominee has also hosted a number of lifestyle programs including Live Here Buy This (HGTV), Revamped (Slice), and Three Takes (Slice). Her career began in the newsroom at CTV and Global news and she later worked as an entertainment reporter for Reelzchannel (Los Angeles) and HLN’s Showbiz Tonight where she interviewed Hollywood heavyweights like Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese and Madonna.

 

Ahead of her May 8th appearance, Andrea shares an excerpt from her first book, Single Girl Problems as well as her responses to some commonly asked questions.

Being single sucks! Well that’s what everyone seems to think anyway. In pretty much every culture single women over the age of 28 are seen as lonely, miserable, undesirable crazy cat wranglers. Family members, friends, heck, even my dentist asks, “when are you going to get married?” And if one more person tells me about their third cousin twice removed who met the love of their life online I’m going to take out my weave and eat it.

Last week I picked up my favourite magazine and was shocked to see that they dedicated an entire issue to instructing women on how to draw, drag and hunt men down and once you’ve caught him in your trap they gave further instructions on how to make him propose. Very romantic. Not.

Meanwhile on the other side of the fence the marketing department for married life is knocking it out of the park. And let me tell you it looks awesome, married people go camping, eat dinner, ride bikes and seem to be having the time of their lives at the Sandals resort in Jamaica. The last time I saw a happy single woman in a television ad she was marvelling at how absorbent her new feminine hygiene product was.

I wrote my book “Single Girl Problems” to change the narrative about single women. Being single is not a problem that needs to be solved. Single women today are leading the charge in politics, real estate and consumerism. It’s time to bury the old notion that all single women are sad lonely spinsters. Times have changed, dating has certainly changed and this book takes a real look at how single women are perceived versus the reality of who we really are and what’s really going on in the dating world.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE SINGLE GIRL PROBLEMS?

What inspired me to write SGP was a conversation with a woman who told me that I’d be an author one day. Of course I didn’t believe her, but she planted that seed on my mind. Ten years after many relationships and even more conversations about relationships the idea just came to me.

WHAT WAS THE WRITING PROCESS LIKE AND WOULD YOU WRITE ANOTHER BOOK?

The writing process was easy but challenging, which I know is an oxymoron. Let me explain. It was easy because I felt really connected to what I was writing about. I had be doing tv segments about single lifestyle for awhile plus I had done a lot of research on the topic so I knew what I wanted to say to my readers. The challenging part was jotting down all of my thoughts, facts and anecdotes and not second guessing myself in the process. I’d never written a book before, so at times I felt a bit overwhelmed. In the end it was the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done. When I received the final manuscript from my publisher I spread the pages out all over the floor in my house looked down at my work and yelled, “I have made fire” like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I’m currently working on my second book. It’s fiction and my hope is that it’ll turn into a tv series one day.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A GUY?

I hate this question because I can hear my 13 year old self say crap like, ‘He has to be 6 foot 4, muscular but not too muscular, really nice, straight white teeth, nice butt, come from a good family, know how to dance, smart, drive a nice car’. After dating several idiots guys who fit this criteria I’ve learned that sometimes the mate who is a great match for you may not have everything on your shallow list but may end up being a much better partner than the guy with the bleached white teeth, 6 pack and leased luxury car.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SINGLE WOMEN?

The biggest misconception about single women is that we’re all crazy, neurotic, lonely, unlovable, child hating psychopaths. The truth is we’re only a couple of those things – lol. All jokes aside if you really want to know what society thinks about single women just watch Bridgett Jones Diary. I hate those fucking movies.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PODCAST

Last fall my podcast ‘Single Girl Problems’ hit the airways at EOne. The show is an hour of no holds barred conversations about dating and relationships featuring guests ranging from relationship experts to celebrities and some of the top online influencers.Since its launch in October 2018 the show has gained a very good audience and was recently nominated for Best Adult Podcast by the Canadian Podcast Awards this past January.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 15-YEAR-OLD SELF ADVICE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If I could talk to my 15 year old self I’d say Girl, don’t cut your own bangs before picture day! No in all seriousness I’d say don’t look for your happiness or validation in a guy. You are enough! Everything you’re going through is teaching you a lesson so pay attention.

WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT SINGLE LIFE?

The key to enjoying your single life is Self Love. Self love is the key to true happiness. I don’t believe it’s your future partner’s job to make you happy, that’s your responsibility.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE VALENTINE’S DAY , CHRISTMAS, NEW YEARS EVE AND ALL OTHER HOLIDAYS WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE

I treat it like any other day and keep it moving.

YOUR PERFECT YOU, DATE? THIS COULD BE TAKEN YOURSELF OUT TO DINNER?
I’ve been taking myself on dates for years. Often my dates include watching foreign films, going to the bookstore, getting a mani pedi and picking up sushi for dinner.

SAVORY OR SWEET, WHAT DO YOU PREFER?
No sugary sweet treats for me I’m a salty bitch.

 

Andrea Bain visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Paul Vermeersch, Andrew GurzaDoyali Islam, and guest speaker Yilin Wang who will  be giving us guidance on “Submitting to Literary and Genre Magazines.”

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BWS 08.05.19: Andrew Gurza

Andrew_Gurza

Andrew Gurza is a Disability Awareness Consultant and Cripple Content Creator whose written work has been featured in Daily XtraGay Times UKHuffington PostThe AdvocateEveryday FeminismMashableOut.com, and several anthologies. He has guested on a number of podcasts including Dan Savage’s Savage Love and Cameron Esposito’s Queery. He has spoken all over North America on sex, disability and what it means to be a Queer Cripple. He is also the host of the DisabilityAfterDark: The Podcast Shining a Bright Light on Sex and Disability available on all podcast platforms. You can follow the podcast @disaftdarkpod.  He is also the creator of the viral hashtag #DisabledPeopleAreHot. You can find out more about Andrew here and by connecting with him on Twitter and Instagram @theandrewgurza.

My name is Andrew Gurza, and I am a Disability Awareness Consultant and Cripple Content Creator.  This is a piece I wrote for my blog about the challenges of creating content and pieces of artistic expression around sexuality and disability, and how it can be tough to constantly talk about sexuality and disability, but not be actually seen as a viable sexual partner.

 

Recently, I helped create a piece of theatre around sex, disability and queerness. It was a tough process where the participants and principal actors were asked to dig into their lives around the intersection of sex, disability and queerness, and share their stories in a theatrical way. It was a harrowing and difficult month long creation process that brought up a lot of feelings for me. My arc in the show was talking about the work I do as a Disability Awareness Consultant; namely presenting to audiences about sex, disability and queerness. In one scene, I am presenting a pretend presentation to the play audience, and as I am talking, I get so frustrated during the presentation that I storm out of the play, leaving the audience to wonder what will happen next.

When we were workshopping this part, the director asked me: “Andrew, what do you feel when you go up there to present about this stuff?” Initially, when he asked me this, I turned on my professional cadence, and told him that I loved presenting to people, and that it was my calling and what I had chosen to do. It was what I wanted.  He looked at me, smiled wryly and said, “Okay.  But, how do you feel about it, Andrew?  Honestly.” I tried again to put this feeling away, and continued to protest that I loved my work, I loved what I had built for myself, and that I got to share a message with people. As I started saying it a second time, though, I stopped myself. I looked at the director square in the face, and with a glimmer of tears in my eyes, I said: “I’m tired.”

That was the first time in over 5 years of being self-employed and self-made as a disabled speaker working in sexuality and disability that I ever admitted that to anyone. As the words tumbled out of my mouth, I felt ashamed and angry. Why was I saying this? Was I saying that I didn’t want to do this anymore? The words kept coming: “I don’t want to present to able-bodied people anymore, so that they can learn about sex and disability through me. I don’t want to play up disability for these people who won’t see me as sexy anyway.” And, sometimes, that’s the truth.

Working in sexuality, disability and queerness is one of the hardest things I have ever done. While I am proud of the people I have met, the presentations that I have given, and the name I have built for myself in this niche market, there are absolutely days where I can’t do it. Days where instead of showing you Powerpoint presentations about how great sex, disability and queerness is, I want to scream out to the group and say, “Does anyone find me sexy?! Would any of you fuck me? Honestly?!” There are days where I have finished a talk, smiled at people, networked, and then I go home alone and bawl my eyes out.

It isn’t easy to turn your stories, things that actually happened to you, into slides for people to make notes about. It isn’t easy to sit there in my wheelchair, staring at all these able-bodied faces of people who probably wouldn’t give me a second look if we met at a bar or on an app. It isn’t easy advocating for real money to tell your stories, when most places want to pay you nothing for your lived experiences.

I tell you this, not because I am going to stop doing what I am doing, but I am telling you all this so that you can begin to understand that when you hire a disabled person to tell their story of rejection, of pain, of hurt; you are asking them to relive the ableism, asking them to confront their fears around it again and again. I tell you this because I want you to understand that making a name for yourself as a disabled advocate – is hard – especially for those of us who have decided to share our feelings around sex and disability. We don’t get paid enough and we certainly don’t get laid enough to do what we do.

So the next time someone with a disability presents about sex, disability, queerness, or any facet of their lived experience for you, know this: we’re tired, we’re angry, we’re horny, and it took every ounce of strength for us not to leave the room. Maybe buy us a drink and flirt with us after…that’d be nice. And maybe instead of just taking notes, take down my number.

 

Andrew Gurza visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Paul Vermeersch, Andrea BainDoyali Islam, and guest speaker Yilin Wang who will  be giving us guidance on “Submitting to Literary and Genre Magazines.”

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BWS 08.05.19: Paul Vermeersch

PVermeersch-9474C Social-

Photo credit: Justice Darragh

Paul Vermeersch is a poet, multimedia artist, professor, and editor. He is the author of six poetry collections, including the Trillium–award nominated The Reinvention of the Human Hand (M&S, 2010). His latest book of poetry is Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy (ECW, 2018). He is the creator of Buckrider Books, the poetry and fiction imprint of Wolsak & Wynn. His next book, Shared Universe: New & Selected Poems 1995 – 2020, will be published next year by ECW Press. He lives in Toronto.

 

The Holy Order of the Sasquatch is the world’s oldest cryptoreligion.

If you can imagine it, you can believe it!
If you think you saw something, you did!
If you think you know something, you do!

You may already be a follower of the Holy Order of the Sasquatch and not even know it. If you believe in anything that you’ve imagined, you are already practicing this religion.

The Order is a sacred Knighthood of creative warriors, a DIY spirituality that exalts the imagination and battles the forces of the Great Regression in order to make the world a better place. 

You can believe whatever you want, become your imaginary self, and maybe even save the planet! To find out more about the Holy Order of the Sasquatch, or to become a Knight yourself, please visit saintbigfoot.com.

Paul Vermeersch
Supreme Voivode

Holy Order of the Sasquatch

Baby on Flat Earth

 

Earth

 

Faith Lube

 

Guillotine upsidedown SBF

 

Never Be Wrong Again

 

No Name Pet Cosmos

 

StomachThinker

 

World_record

 

Paul Vermeersch visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Andrew Gurza, Andrea BainDoyali Islam, and guest speaker Yilin Wang who will  be giving us guidance on “Submitting to Literary and Genre Magazines.”

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Brockton Writers Series 08.05.19

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Paul Vermeersch
Andrew Gurza
Andrea Bain
Doyali Islam

with special guest speaker

Yilin Wang

Glad Day Bookshop

499 Church Street, Toronto

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books and refreshments are available for sale.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO
The venue is accessible. Please refrain from wearing scents.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

OAC_REVISED_NEWCOLOURS_1805c

And to the Canada Council for the Arts for travel funding!

 

GUEST SPEAKER

“Submitting to Literary and Genre Magazines”

yilin photo

Yilin Wang is a writer, editor, and translator who lives on the unceded traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Abyss & Apex, carte blanche, Arc Poetry Magazine, Grain, Contemporary Verse 2, LooseLeaf, and other publications. She is an assistant editor for Room Magazine and a former editorial board member for Prism International. 

 

READERS

PVermeersch-9474C Social-

Paul Vermeersch is a poet, multimedia artist, professor, and editor. He is the author of six poetry collections, including the Trillium–award nominated The Reinvention of the Human Hand (M&S, 2010). His latest book of poetry is Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy (ECW, 2018). He is the creator of Buckrider Books, the poetry and fiction imprint of Wolsak & Wynn. His next book, Shared Universe: New & Selected Poems 1995 – 2020, will be published next year by ECW Press. He lives in Toronto.

 

Andrew_Gurza

Andrew Gurza is a Disability Awareness Consultant and Cripple Content Creator whose written work has been featured in Daily Xtra, Gay Times UK, Huffington Post, The Advocate, Everyday Feminism, Mashable, Out.com, and several anthologies. He has guested on a number of podcasts including Dan Savage’s Savage Love and Cameron Esposito’s Queery. He has spoken all over North America on sex, disability and what it means to be a Queer Cripple. He is also the host of the DisabilityAfterDark: The Podcast Shining a Bright Light on Sex and Disability available on all podcast platforms. You can follow the podcast @disaftdarkpod.  He is also the creator of the viral hashtag #DisabledPeopleAreHot. You can find out more about Andrew here and by connecting with him on Twitter and Instagram @theandrewgurza.

 

Andrea_bain

Andrea Bain is an author, podcaster and an on air personality. Her newest project is the funny and insightful podcast Single Girl Problems named after her first book. Most recently she was one of the hosts of the national lifestyle program The Goods on CBC. This two time Canadian Screen Awards nominee has also hosted a number of lifestyle programs including Live Here Buy This (HGTV), Revamped (Slice), and Three Takes (Slice). Her career began in the newsroom at CTV and Global news and she later worked as an entertainment reporter for Reelzchannel (Los Angeles) and HLN’s Showbiz Tonight where she interviewed Hollywood heavyweights like Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese and Madonna.

 

 

Doyali Islam. Photo by Arden Wray

Doyali Islam‘s brand-new poetry book is heft (McClelland & Stewart, 2019) – a lyrical and innovative collection that the poet describes as a “ledger of tenderness, survival, and risk.” Poems from heft have been published in Kenyon Review Online and Best Canadian Poetry, and have been rendered into film through Visible Poetry Project. Doyali is the poetry editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and she lives in Toronto. In 2017, she was a guest on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition.

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BWS 13.03.19: Aparna Kaji Shah

Aparna

Aparna Kaji Shah’s debut collection, The Scent of Mogra and Other Stories, was published in September 2018. Her fiction and poetry have been published in anthologies. Aparna has written a novel called, Across Boundaries (unpublished). At present, she is working on another about the impact of dislocation on people’s lives.

 

Although Aparna Kaji Shah will be reading from her collection, The Scent of Mogra and Other Stories for her appearance at Brockton Series next week, she would like to give you a peek into what she is immersed in at present. She has titled her work-in-progress (she is unsure whether it will be a full-length novel or a novella), The Root of the Matter. The story is about the emotional impact that displacement has on people’s lives. This subject is close to Aparna’s heart not only because her grandfather, on whom this work is partially based, moved from the city of Ajmer to Bombay in the early part of the twentieth century, but because she herself moved from India to Canada in 1985; and after nine years in Toronto, she lived in London (UK), Singapore, Mumbai and then returned to Toronto. After traipsing across the globe, she has first-hand experience of what it means to feel like an outsider.

Here is an excerpt from The Root of the Matter. The protagonist, Dr. Pandit, his wife Lilavati, and their three daughters are relocating to Bombay (where they are originally from), after many years in Ajmer:

Lilavati and the Doctor woke up early. Their train was leaving late that evening. Lilavati looked anxious, and he smiled at her. As they sat with a cup of tea on the sofa, a soft cool breeze was blowing in through the open door. He said, “What a gorgeous day, but it will be scorching by lunch time.”

Lilavati looked into his eyes. She said, “You will be okay, won’t you?”

Putting his arm around her, he said, “Of course, I will. Don’t worry. We are going to begin a new life, with a lot of love from our families. How can that go wrong?”

“But you did wake up a couple of nights ago, didn’t you?”

“I did. But that’s all in the past now; a different place, a new life…. that’s what I’m waiting for. We are going back home.” Even as he was saying that, a little voice in his head whispered, this, here, is home.

It was not yet eight o’clock, and the doorbell started ringing. There was a stream of people coming in to say farewell to the Pandits, some carrying gifts of Rajasthani specialties, like sweet gajak, or spicy kachoris. Others came with a shawl for the Doctor, or books and games for the children. “For the long train journey,” they said.

The atmosphere in the Pandits’ living room was festive, with talking and laughter, but there were also tears as people left to make room for others. Many touched the Doctor’s feet. Dr. Bajaj came to whisk the Pandits away for lunch at his place. After lunch, they came home to rest a little. Kavita and Sushmita were cranky with all the excitement around them, and Indira was angry and tearful because she had had to say goodbye to her best friend, Juliet.

When they went to the station, a large group of people had gathered to see them off. Dr. Pandit’s tennis partners slapped him on the back, and his bridge group joked about his game. It was time to get on the train and say goodbye. As the train moved forward, and Lilavati settled the children, Dr. Pandit waited at the window until the last waving figure had receded.

He turned to look at his family. The two younger ones were already asleep, but Indira’s face shone with anticipation as she looked out of the window. Lilavati’s eyes were free of the anxiety that he had seen earlier, and she smiled at him. He sat down next to her and squeezed her hand. “We did it,” he said, and watched as she closed her eyes to rest.

Dr. Pandit looked, in the descending darkness, at the cotton and tobacco fields speeding by. They passed the marble quarries of Kishangarh. They had now left behind the outskirts of the city of Ajmer, and he felt hollow in the pit of his stomach. Someone had turned on a radio; it was a classical station playing an evening raga. It was only a few hours ago that his patients had come to touch his feet. And it was just moments ago that he had said good bye to his closest friends.

He swayed to the rhythm of the turning wheels and the closing notes of raga Kamod washed over him. As the miles stretched longer and longer between him and the city he loved, he felt as if he was not all there. His chest tightened with fear and he knew that a vital part of him had been severed and left behind in Ajmer; he was moving on without it.

 

Aparna Kaji Shah visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Daniel Perry, Jim NasonKim Moritsugu, and guest speaker Zoe Whittall who will  be “Talking TV and Prose.”

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BWS 13.03.19: Jim Nason

jim nason (1)

Jim Nason is an author, teacher, publisher, and activist. His sixth poetry collection, Rooster, Dog, Crow was recently released with Frontenac House.  He has also published a short story collection The Girl on the Escalator and his third novel, Spirit of a Hundred Thousand Dead Animals, was recently published by Signature Editions. Jim is a Finalist for the 2018 ReLit Poetry Award.

Rooster, Dog, Crow – Jim Nason: A Few Thought-provoking Questions and a Friendly interview

The book depicts a world where upside-down politics dovetails with the carnivalesque, a love triangle unfolds between a belligerent Rooster, a happy-go-lucky meth-addicted Dog, and a gender-fluid Crow. This is my sixth poetry collection and I believe I have pushed myself to the extremes of the creative mind to depict a world that is real and surreal, a place where women, men, and animals shape-shift and trade places, intermingle within each other’s feathers, coats, and skin. Sometimes these characters are the masters of decadence and desire, other times they question the very worlds they’ve invented.  The opening poem, “Rooster Wears Stilts to the Pride Parade,” depicts a self-righteous, party-pooper bird shouting: Lower your banners, swallow your whistles! To hell with this stream of green, blue and youth.

Rooster, Dog, Crow follows the Trump campaign to an apocalyptic finale. In “Flame,” Rooster, high up on stilts, claims that he learned to swallow flames/ by watching Hillary Clinton in a bright red suit deflect Trump’s abuse and lies. Rooster says, Clinton leaned into the gap/ of the next question as if the floor were/ about to part, as if she were about to be/ swallowed – red and burning and whole.

This collection asks the reader to abandon fear and commit to a life that is ecstatic with risk. The poems in this book insist that the only wrong is an unexplored life. I invite one and all to join the parade with its full range of costumed marchers, banal banners, and erogenous, music-thumping floats.

In anticipation of the Brockton Reading Series on March 13th,  I send the following questions that will allow you to begin to understand and engage with me about my new, exciting and controversial, poetry book: Rooster, Dog, Crow.

How many dogs live on the streets of Toronto?

How many Roosters reside in a single Lethbridge Co-op?

On any given morning, just before dawn, how many crows can be seen landing on the moss-covered logs that line the English Bay shoreline?

Can Roosters speak French?

Are all teenage crows gender fluid and all city dogs at risk for opioid addiction?

I will do my best to answer these and the many questions you might have when I see you at the event. In the meantime, I wholeheartedly invite you to read the following interview about the book on rob mclennan’s blogspot.

 

Jim Nason visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Daniel Perry, Aparna Kaji ShahKim Moritsugu, and guest speaker Zoe Whittall who will  be “Talking TV and Prose.”

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