26 October 2013

The Patchy Squirrel in her own words

I've been doing the Patchy Squirrel for 344 weeks. Not sure how many years that is: about 150 maybe? Patchy recently got some press in the Town Crier online. The interview is by Jess Taylor, a gentle powerhouse in the Toronto literary world, best known perhaps for running the Emerging Writers Reading Series at sumptuous Duffy's Tavern on Bloor West.

Here's the interview.

What impressed me most was that Jess left out the dirt. As I was rambling to her over Skype, I revealed the only acts of censorship I perform on Patchy. Most interviewers would have leapt on that and made it central to the piece. Jess sensibly just left it out, making moot all my sleepless nights before the interview went live online.

For the record, though: Patchy does reserve the right to edit in any way she sees fit the listings she receives.

You may be asking: what the hell is Patchy? Patchy is a literary lit-serv that goes out by email every Monday or Tuesday to about 1,060 subscribers. It lists in detail a ton of literary events coming up in Toronto in the coming week.

You can subscribe by sending a note with "Here, Patchy Patchy" in the subject header to patchysquirrel[at]gmail[dot]com.

The one other thing Jess didn't put in the story she wrote was my plea that if every subscriber and event organizer donated a buck or five or ten or twenty to Patchy, which is a free service, my life would be much easier. Patchy has had a few dozen generous contributors, but I'm surprised there haven't been more over the years.

On the other hand, as I mentioned to Jess, the audience for Patchy is mainly writers, and most writers don't have a lot of money to spare. So I understand. (Though writers usually have enough money to arm one of their fists with a pint of beer!)

Since I moved away from Toronto, putting together Patchy every week has been a bittersweet experience. Because geography means that I will miss almost everything that Patchy promotes. But my literary heart really is in Toronto, and Patchy is my way of still being part of the Toronto literary community, even if the Toronto literary community doesn't know it.

Over and out.


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