24 November 2006

That was the week that was (a particularly incoherent posting)

Before the fever set in on Monday, I worked. I'd forgotten that I worked.

I drove out to Whitby, to All Saints Catholic S.S. and did a reading and a talk about chapbooks and self-publishing for a couple of Writers' Craft classes. They were a very quiet group, but also very attentive. And they had some smart questions. One girl asked, "How come some of your titles have nothing to do with the poems?" No one had ever asked that before. I pled guilty before the Court of Title/Poem Incongruity.

I spread out twenty or thirty chapbooks and other strange publications on a table and after my presentation invited the students to come up and check them out. I fully expected that just a few keeners would approach the table and start examining book constructions and bindings, while the rest fled the school for the day (it was last period, after all). But what happened was that they all gathered round the table, picked up a random book and began reading silently and intently. It was so weird and yet so lovely.

Right, and then I had a flu.

And then tonight I went to the Mercury Press launch, the proper one, at the Supermarket in Kensington Market. What an intense night it turned out to be for me. It was also a good night, I think, for Mercury, in spite of the continuing absence of Jay and Stephen's book. I felt a little guilty being there after my recent Mercurial grumblings, but I had friends to support, and Mercury has supported me, and I also had Fictitious Reading Series flyers (be there! Sunday!) to give out. It was incredible to see David Lee and Maureen Cochrane — David has a new Mercury book about the Five Spot, a jazz club mentioned in Frank O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died." I interviewed David and Maureen for Mondo Hunkamooga about two decades ago.

Also had a fantastic and cathartic talk with Richard Truhlar. I told him I'd just bought — after 30 years of coveting — a copy of B.S. Johnson's loose-pages-in-a-box novel The Unfortunates. As a teenager, I'd once drooled over a copy at the Village Bookstore on Queen West, but couldn't afford the $25 or whatever it cost. Janet at Annex Books told me this was likely the same copy: it had been bpNichol's and bpNichol used to hang around Village a lot. Does anyone talk about experimental fiction anymore? In Toronto, I dunno. But it's a passion Truhlar and I share.

Oh yeah, David Lee performed a couple of jazz sets with Bill Smith, David Prentice, Stuart [can't recall last name], and Arthur Bull. Amazing sets. I remembered that Smith, Lee and Bull had performed at the first-ever Toronto Small Press Book Fair, in 1987 at Innis College Pub, as the Bill Smith Trio.

Talked to many others, heard some readings, bought no books (yet), and came home very fired up, wrote a short story, something I haven't done in what seems like ages.

Now I lay me down to sleep.

Over and out.


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