cheating on my affair with memoir

Though the affair continues quite happily, being my fickle self I’ve occasionally dipped a toe into the fiction well. (How exactly does one dip a toe into a well? Wouldn’t that require a tragically long leg?)

Never mind.

Most recently, the well, or whatever, included short stories from the Summer Reading issue of The Walrus —for which Lisa Moore, Rawi Hage, Micahael Winter, Heather O’Neill, et al, were asked to write the “most Canadian story they could think of…” (inspiration for the challenge allegedly taken from someone’s memory of a man who got away with robbing a bank by threatening to harm a Canada goose). I just love us. 

One of my favourite pieces is Zsuzsi Gartner’s ‘Say the Names’—written as a letter (to “American woman, swamp angel, friend of my youth”) using only titles of Canadian songs, movies, books, and signed: “Baby, so long, Marianne.” 

Also some poetry by David McGimpsey, such as this—

My Life as a Canadian Writer

My first short story, ‘The Provincial Fair’,
was rejected twenty-five times before
it found its home in
 The Muskoka Review.
From then on it’s all been pretty easy.

I learned the beauty of socialism
from writers so passionate they’d cry
when they didn’t get a grant. We’d go north
and laugh at the thought of Alden Nowlan.

Yes, I have been on the radio!
If you heard that segment of
Canada Reads
where a guy recommends the novel version
of Tom Cruise’s
Top Gun, that was me.

Now I live and work in Montreal.
All we do is sit in cafes and talk through
the one remaining question of literature:
is it available for free on the Internet?


Lovely bite-sized stuff and perfect for the toe-dipping, cheating kind of  reading that for some reason is always better in summer…


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