Author Archives: all words on me

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 Aparna has written a novel called, Across Boundaries (unpublished).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

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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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BWS 13.03.19: Kim Moritsugu

Kim_Moritsugu

Kim Moritsugu‘s seven published novels to date include a Toronto Book Award finalist, an Arthur Ellis Award finalist, and her latest, The Showrunner, a Hollywood noir story that’s been optioned for TV. Kim also writes TV recaps online, and is a longtime faculty member of the Humber School for Writers.

In anticipation of her newest novel, The Shrowrunner, being optioned for TV, Kim shares the book trailer with us along with a short Q&A.

 

theshowrunnerWhat genre of fiction is The Showrunner?

It’s darkly humorous, women-centric, Hollywood-noir suspense – and yes, I may have just invented that specific sub-genre.

What’s it about?

It’s a power struggle between an older TV producer and her younger producing partner that escalates after a third woman – with her own ambitions – is hired as an assistant at their production company. Those who know the classic 1950 film All About Eve will not be surprised to learn that it was, in part, an inspiration for this novel.

Why did you write this novel?

My principle objectives in writing have always been to amuse and entertain. Within a dramedy framework, I often explore relationships between women – as friends, family members, and work colleagues. This time around, I was interested in the tensions ­– and drama! – that arise when Olds are pitted against Youngs in a competitive creative industry. What’s the famous line from All About Eve? Oh yeah: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

 

Kim Moritsugu 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 ShahJim Nason, and guest speaker Zoe Whittall who will  be “Talking TV and Prose.”

 

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BWS 13.03.19: Daniel Perry

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Daniel Perry is the author of the short story collections Nobody Looks That Young Here (Guernica, 2018), and Hamburger (Thistledown, 2016). His fiction has been short-listed for the Carter V. Cooper Prize and has appeared in more than 30 publications in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the Czech Republic. Dan lives in Toronto, and from 2013 to 2017 was the co-host and blog co-ordinator for Brockton Writers Series. You can follow him on Twitter @danielperrysays.

 

What a pleasure it is to come back to Brockton Writers Series! A lot’s happened since the first time I read here, way back in November 2013–for one, the short story I read that night, “Comets”, found its way into my second collection, Nobody Looks That Young Here, which at the time I thought was my first book and I thought was finished, too… It was finally published last year.

Volunteering with BWS for four years changed me as a person and as a writer, and mostly because of the diverse group of talented, passionate writers and volunteers I got to know during this time. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, but also some new ones; if I don’t know you yet, then let me introduce myself by way of the interview below, from December of last year.

See you on March 13!

Ahead of his appearance, Dan shares his interview with Storylines about the inspiration behind his collection of short stories, Nobody Looks That Young HereClick here to listen.

 

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

 

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Brockton Writers Series 13.03.19

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Daniel Perry
Kim Moritsugu
Jim Nason
Aparna Kaji Shah

with special guest speaker

Zoe Whittall

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.

This event will have ASL interpretation.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

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

 

GUEST SPEAKER

“Talking TV and Prose”

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Zoe Whittall is the author of the several novels and poetry books, most recently the Giller shortlisted The Best Kind of People, soon to be a film by Sarah Polley, which was Indigo Books Best Book of the Year. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible won a LAMDA literary award and was a Stonewall Honor Book, and her first novel Bottle Rocket Hearts is currently being adapted for TV. In 2018, she won a Canadian Screen Award for best comedy writing for The Baroness Von Sketch Show, and has worked on Degrassi, Schitt’s Creek and more.

 

READERS

 

2015.HS.DAN.PERRY.008_CONTRASTDaniel Perry is the author of the short story collections Nobody Looks That Young Here (Guernica, 2018), and Hamburger (Thistledown, 2016). His fiction has been short-listed for the Carter V. Cooper Prize and has appeared in more than 30 publications in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the Czech Republic. Dan lives in Toronto, and from 2013 to 2017 was the co-host and blog co-ordinator for Brockton Writers Series. You can follow him on Twitter @danielperrysays.

 

 

 

Kim_MoritsuguKim Moritsugu‘s seven published novels to date include a Toronto Book Award finalist, an Arthur Ellis Award finalist, and her latest, The Showrunner, a Hollywood noir story that’s been optioned for TV. Kim also writes TV recaps online, and is a longtime faculty member of the Humber School for Writers.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

AparnaAparna 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.

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BWS 09.01.19 report: “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?” with Dorothy Ellen Palmer

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Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a disabled senior writer, accessibility consultant, and retired high school Drama teacher and union activist. Her disability memoir, Falling For Myself, will appear with Wolsak and Wynn in Fall 2019. She can always be found tweeting @depalm.

At our last event, Dorothy shared stories of her experiences as a disability sensitivity reader, exploring the do’s and don’ts, the reach and limitations, the boundaries and ethics, of working collaboratively with abled writers. She also talked about how disability sensitivity reading has helped her to understand the need for sensitivity readings.

The What, Why, and How, of Sensitivity Readings 

What are sensitivity readings?

A sensitivity readings is another layer of research. After consulting traditional sources, books, journals, the internet, interviews, etc., it’s a decision to ask a living “expert” about the writing itself. It can be done for any piece of work– poems, short stories, blogs, interviews, podcasts, articles, and books. It can occur at the request of author and possibly editor and publisher.

When we think of sensitivity readings, we usually think of cultural and racialized sensitivities. We typically think of a white writer wanting extra feedback about a character who is Black, Indigenous or a person of colour, or a straight, cis writer wanting feedback about a transgender character. I want to be clear: I do not do sensitivity readings for cultures, races or identities not my own. I equally do not do sensitivity reading for disabilities not my own, for blind or deaf characters. I refer all those questions to those qualified to do so. In post 150 Canada, in respect for reconciliation, given the vile Appropriation Prize, and the current behaviour of Canadian Governments prepared to violate Indigenous land for oil, it is particularly important that settler writers seek Indigenous feedback about Indigenous characters.

In general, the need for extra research, awareness and sensitivity holds true for any writer wanting to write about any marginalized experiences not their own. I began referring students to seek out lived experience informally thirty years ago as a High School senior Writer’s Craft teacher. After I retired, my first novel When Fenelon Falls came out with Coach House in 2010. Because it has a disabled protagonist, and because I spoke openly about the fact that I am old, and both disabled and chronically ill, I began getting sensitivity inquiries on my experiences.

At first, I provided all kinds of advice for free. I loved it when it was a swap, where two authors could exchange work and help each other. As I became more skilled about how to help, and more aware of the concern of the disabled community that we are too often expected to provide our expertise and experience for free, I still do swaps, but when asked to read whole articles or books, depending on the author’s ability to do so, today I ask to be paid. I’ve accepted payments from $20 to $300 for three months feedback. Sensitivity readings will not make you rich.

 Why do writers and readers need sensitivity readings about disability?

All books produced in ableist culture will have some degree of ableism. It isn’t always conscious or overt. The use of stereotypes and tropes are often completely inadvertent on the part of abled writers, and sometimes even disabled writers. It isn’t about removing ableism so much as it it about how the author treats it. The real struggle with writing disabled characters is to give them enough of two sometimes contradictory things: realistic barriers and defeats that acknowledge their struggle with systemic ableism, and realistic successes which keep them from being tragic victims, or inspiration porn.

Depending on what the author has asked me to provide feedback about, here are five things I like to address in my sensitivity readings of novels:

  1. The use of ableist language both in narration and conversation
  2. The use of stereotypical inspiration porn, using disabled people as props to make abled people feel good about themselves
  3. The use of ableist tropes such as: making disabled lives tragic and pitiful, longing for a cure, the discovery of miraculous cures or killing us off
  4. The individual denial of ableism, creating supercrips who “overcome” all obstacles
  5. The erasure of systemic ableism, no portrayal/discussion of systemic barriers, omitting or white-washing bullying, insults, slurs, prejudices, and societal barriers

 How can we all best work together towards the the respectful representation of identities?

-Request a sensitivity reading after first draft or early enough that the author is open to change

-When other research has been thorough

– When the author’s questions are clear and they are willing to revise them and ask new ones

-When author and sensitivity reader collaborate, understanding that the book is the author’s

-When the author isn’t pandering or sanitizing, they want characters who aren’t saints, who fail, who are human beings who sometimes act badly

-When authors, editors, and publishers aren’t looking for a stamp of approval

-When sensitivity readers stay ethically in their own lane, don’t speak beyond their experience

-When we both learn things through our collaboration

When we all work collaboratively together, it is my firm belief that together we can build better books and a stronger more diverse and representative Can Lit.

 

Stay tuned for features on our upcoming writers! 

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BWS 09.01.19: Judy Rebick

JudyRebick

Judy Rebick is a life-long feminist activist, journalist and writer.  She is the founder of rabble.ca, a former President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, a leader of the pro-choice movement and author of six books, most recently a memoir. Heroes in My Head. Follow her on twitter, @judyrebick, for her latest updates.

 

Heroes in My Head is a memoir of healing from childhood sexual abuse at the same time as being a highly public feminist activist.   It’s interesting how every reader takes something different from the book.  For those who have a history of childhood trauma, and there are many, the memoir is a story of hope, a story not only of surviving but of thriving despite serious mental injuries.  Many activists have told me that they relate most to the connection of personal and political in the activism described.   For younger generations, the most interesting part of the book is the description of how hard women had to fight to achieve what we have won so far.

For me, writing the book was another step in healing and in being a writer.  Putting this story into the world has been both difficult and rewarding.  It’s not easy telling your secrets, especially family secrets.  But I am increasingly convinced that keeping secrets props up systems of domination.  Telling our stories is the most powerful way of exposing how patriarchy and other systems of domination reach deeply into our spirit.  My story is also about how fighting those systems of domination is healing as long as it is accompanied by therapeutic support.

Click here to view the video where I talk about the experience of doing the audiobook.

 

Judy Rebick visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Jim Nason, JF Garrard, Anubha Mehta, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

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BWS 09.01.19: Anubha Mehta

1. Anubha Mehta

Anubha Mehta is a Canadian writer, educator, and artist who was born in India. With a doctorate in Political Science and over two decades of Canadian public service experience, Anubha has been awarded for innovative program planning and working with diverse Canadian communities. Anubha has always balanced academics and public service with art and has been a classical dancer, theatre-actor, painter and poet. Anubha’s publication, The Politics of Nation Building and Art Patronage (2012), was a culmination of years of her research in the late 1990s.

Anubha’s debut novel Peacock in the Snow, was launched by Inanna Publications on September 28, 2018 in Toronto. It was selected for sponsorship by City of Toronto Arts Council- IFOA’s Toronto Lit Up. On October 20, 2018, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, showcased and spotlighted Anubha in a ‘Launch of Launches’ in a packed event to a community of readers, patrons, writers and authors. Peacock in the Snow was declared as one of the most anticipated books to read for Fall 2018 by the 49th Shelf.

As an author-facilitator for the Toronto Public Library System, Anubha regularly teaches free workshops on the process of writing, tips and traps of an author’s world. A Writers Blog on her website engages writers to express and address their present challenges and Tell-Tale is space where people are encouraged to share their real life stories.Visit her website for more information.

Ahead of her appearance on January 9th, Anubha tells us about her debut novel, Peacock in the Snow.

This is a tale of a seamless, adventurous journey of a young woman across continents, cultures, and generations, to find a love that is so improbable and to uncover a secret that sets her free. It is about the tireless capacity of the human spirit to hope, strive and succeed despite impossible obstacles.

This is a story of shy and naïve Maya and how her perfect life with her new husband Veer is thrown into complete disarray when she accidentally stumbles on an ancient family secret. What begins as unwelcome behaviour by Veer’s family soon turns into something sinister. Trapped within the dark walls of her married mansion, the secret begins to haunt Maya and draw a wedge with Veer. To escape the malicious spirits lingering in the house, Maya and Veer migrate to a distant land and start rebuilding their life amongst adventure and hardship. Not knowing that the ghosts of their past have followed them, in a race against time, Maya is put to a final test. Armed with conviction and courage, she sets out to face the dark forces that lie await.

Will Maya ever be free of a dark past? Will she be able to survive so far away from home? Will her marriage stand the test of time, displacement, and hardship in a new country? Watch Anubha’s interview with Tag TV to find out more!

 

Anubha Mehta visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Jim Nason, JF Garrard, Judy Rebick, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

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BWS 09.01.19: JF Garrard

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JF Garrard is the founder of Dark Helix Press, Co-President of the Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto Branch, Senior Editor for Ricepaper Magazine and an Assistant Editor for Amazing Stories magazine. She is an editor and writer of speculative fiction (Trump Utopia or Dystopia AnthologyThe Undead Sorceress) and non-fiction. Her contributions to business, diversity and health subjects have been published in Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Moneyish, Monster.com, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan, among others. Her latest stories include The Metamorphosis of Nova in the Blood Is Thicker anthology by Iguana Books and The Perfect Husband in the We Shall Be Monsters Frankenstein anthology by Renaissance Press.

 

One of the most difficult jobs a writer has to do is to world build. No matter what genre of fiction, writers need to introduce enough elements to give readers a sense of understanding about the rules in which the story is operating in. Prior to a seminar on world building, JF Garrard thought about this subject and reflected upon the fact that she was already doing this in real life to hide a death in the family.

World Building on a Road to Hell

As an editor for Dark Helix Press, when submissions roll in, the stories can be from anywhere in the world. We publish speculative fiction, which includes horror, fantasy and science fiction. We’re a pretty open to anything. No matter what genre of story, one thing we work on a lot with a writer is world building. The term “world building” is often applied to stories which have complicated rules and magical elements. However, it is actually something built into every story because the reader needs to be transported into a world which the writer has built.

If you google “world building” you will find tons of articles on how to write from your character’s perspective or planning a magic system. I thought for this article I would use a realistic example to illustrate the concept of world building which I spoke about at a writing seminar in 2017.

Death is the perhaps the most certain and true horror all of us will experience. In the last few years a wave of deaths hit my family. Out of many things I learned from dying was how to world build because some of these deaths were not revealed to my 102 year old grandmother for fear she would die of shock. She might come back as a ghost one day and really give it to us, but until then, the road to hell is paved with good intentions!

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Here are some questions and examples which can help a writer reflect on to help connect the reader to the world a writer has created.

 Is the situation believable?

In Asian cultures, it is a norm to not let the elderly people in on bad news. The fact that I’m stuck in this situation is very believable. In a horror story, if someone is entering a haunted house, why would they do this? Most rational people would not do something unless there is a reason or motive for doing so. Although a story is fictional, there has to be elements of truth in it which will help the reader immerse themselves into the story.

 What is the setting?

The world I am building for my grandmother is in the present, everyone dead is still alive but busy or sick which explains why they can’t see her in person. In a story, the world could be in the past, present or future. If it’s in the past, people could be living in log cabins without water. In the future, a smart home computer could be a character. No long description is required, subtle details of what the character is doing will allow the reader to reach their own conclusion on where the setting is.

What is the normal day to day like?

Grandma is a smart cookie and asks a lot of details about how people are living from day to day. I try to talk vaguely about what the dead are doing and sometimes make up problems they could be facing (eg. shoveling snow was hard on their backs). She sometimes calls up my siblings to confirm stories which makes this extra challenging. In a story, the characters are usually caught in a situation which differs from their normal life. Some details about their normal day will explain why they act a certain way. A cop confronting a monster will most likely know how to use a weapon versus a teenager who works in a fast food restaurant. People kidnapped may think about their family and what they are doing at the same moment. These little things will give some perspective to the reader and help them understand the character more and why they behave a certain way. Most people identify with people that they have empathy with and can understand.

 Are there any conflicts that can break the world?

There is a lot of turmoil within the family as some are tired of world building and others insist on keeping up the facade. For one of the deaths, one member of the family told grandma and she was shattered. World building is very fragile and one little thing can break it. If a character in the story sprained their arm earlier in the story but towards the end was able to pick up a heavy chainsaw and hack a monster, there is a huge inconsistency here. Bad science is another thing to watch out for and a writer should always do their research. If a story talks about a character having Alzheimer’s diagnosed with an ECG versus MRI, PET or CT, this is very farfetched as ECG cannot confirm Alzheimer’s. A reader may or may not look into such details, but it is important to keep everything as cohesive as possible to maintain the world for the duration of the reader’s time with the story.

I hope that by sharing these examples you can draw some ideas on how to make the worlds you create richer for your readers. Writing fiction is a lot more work than most people realize and there are many things to think about when creating a robust world. We are always learning and creating here at Dark Helix Press, drop us a line if you have any questions!

 

JF Garrard visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Jim Nason, Anubha Mehta, Judy Rebick, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

 

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BWS 09.01.19: 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 January 9th,  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, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside JF Garrard, Anubha Mehta, Judy Rebick, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

 

 

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