02 August 2006

The corporate catches up with art after only three decades!

Well, it took nearly 30 years, but the corporate/mainstream world has finally caught up with the Three-Day Novel-Writing Contest. They're on the cutting edge!

Seems that BookTV/Chapters-Indigo and various other corporate entities are doing a "reality TV show" around this year's Three-Day. Of course, that means that the finalists (since when are there finalists?) are chosen by their TVability perhaps more than any idea of how to write. That said, two of my pals, Wayne Arthurson and Ali Riley, are in the running, and they do know how to write. I'll feel bad for them, but I'll root for them. Having cameras stuck in your face constantly while you're trying to be creative is a life-draining, very frustrating experience, as my Heart of a Poet shoot proved.

In more cheerful news, another of my Western friends is in the Toronto area these days. Got to spend a great Sunday afternoon and evening with Jeff Pew, a teacher and poet from Kimberley, BC, and also the co-editor (with Rox) of that recent bill bissett homage anthology. Jeff and I listened to some tunes at my apartment, watched some video of a Ron Padgett reading, then headed out for a great meal in Little India (at the Famous Restaurant). We stuffed ourselves until we were in pain. Afterwards, I toured Jeff to some other Toronto neighbourhoods: the Beaches (we had to elbow our way through the Boardwalk crowds), Chinatowndowntown, Kensington Market (it was a Pedestrian Sunday!), and finally the Annex. Nice to see the guy, and here in the big city. I put a very cool poem by Jeff in the current issue of This Magazine (along with an amazing short story by Susan Kernohan).

Another quality social outing was last week's evening with Sandra Alland, who took me out for my birthday. We talked mainly poetry and hedgehogs, and she gave me what looks to be an amazing book: The People of Paper, a McSweeney's-published novel by Salvador Plascencia, a Mexican-American writer I've never heard of. Sandra says it's great. It has a quote by George Saunders on the back cover. Sandra also laid her new poetry MS on me, so as soon as I dig myself out of all this work, I'm on it.

Yesterday's visit to CKLN was pretty fun, though I could barely afford the time. After knowing Charlie Huisken for about 30 years, it was odd but neat to sit down with him in a radio studio and be interviewed by him. But Charlie's an easygoing guy, and it wasn't much different from the kind of chats we usually have. I also read my poem "Submission," the opening paragraph of "I Am the King of Poetry," and we spun a couple of Pernice Brothers tunes.

Over and out.


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