Indiegogo west, young man

Banff, the great artists’ colony of Banff is calling. I was accepted to the Writing Studio in January and hey what a thrill that was. A month to write? And when not writing to take photos or write songs? Hello?  And all that was swimming along perfectly until my first request from artsnb was turned down despite the jury recommending funding. Around that time the Canada Council supplied just enough cash for a return ticket. Great! So I tried the arts board one last time, thinking surely if it was recommended the first time… but no.  Thanks, guys. And now I have less than a month, a ticket purchased, and $2000 to raise.

Here’s the indiegogo link:


How to disappear completely (part II)

scoverbjpSix or so years ago I had the chance to talk with Yann Martel at a private party in Moncton. He’d taken part in a Frye Festival event – a fall Community Read around The Life of Pi  – and knowing his background in philosophy I asked him a question. See, he’d asked if I wrote and it turned out I did (surprise) and in fact my first book was to come out in a couple of months.  What’s it about?  I told him it was simply a book of dreams presented as a novel, though length wise and style wise it was closer to a book of prose poems. He asked if they were actual dreams or fictional dreams and I wondered aloud if there was a difference then specifically posed a question: If my book’s content is pretty much verbatim (?) accounts of dreams, dreams whose content I didn’t consciously create, is this then a work of fiction or non-fiction? Or do we need another category? He thought for a minute.

But you chose what to write down, how to write it, present it, so it’s fiction, he said.

I may have nodded (slowly).

I still think it needs its own category. Why? Because though I chose the ordering of the words, I didn’t choose the who, the what, the where (yet, who else chose those? ). I had been dreaming of the same event (break up) and person (S.) for over a year as if my mind had decided to take a vacation from reality, “I like it better here”, or was on some obsessive quest for explanations.

After playing with the idea of including these dreams in the novel I wanted to write (I’d been noting the dreams in my e-journal, or on paper in the middle of the night, sometimes just a few lines), I wondered how a novel of dreams would read/feel. Maybe it was record keeping, too.  I sold the idea, literally, to friends, supporters, wrote till the dreams stopped, printed and hand bound 26 subscriber copies of “S. a novel in [xxx] dreams”, had a launch and thought that would be the end of it (and it was the end of the dreams, fortunately).  But one of the subscribers was a reader for a publisher (Broken Jaw press), talked up the manuscript, and long story short a couple of years later it appeared again.

To this date the one book I didn’t intend for publication is the one book I’ve had published. Sadly I had little means to promote it at the time, and it’s a bit of an odd sell, and the publisher was barely hanging on, had no distribution, so even though only 400 copies appeared, I doubt more than half have been moved. Those who have read it, however, have experienced it the way I hoped: puzzled, amused, moved, frustrated, wanting more yet strangely satisfied…

When I was writing the book, the title kept changing – 40 dreams, 50 dreams, 60 dreams – so I just wrote “[xxx] dreams” after a while. The final count, I believe, is 69.

Interested in a copy? Click the image of the book, or write me.  There are some kind reviews on Goodreads, too.

An interlude

Trying work. Song in head. Song born from a poem by Ed Lemond, which I’d read on his Circadiana blog. See below. Yes song in head so why fight it, set up the camera, the tripod, and give it a shot. I think this will be on my next album. I have no wife. I hear cello in the chorus.


Galleon: the hammering, the hot pitch

Well, it’s just about ready to sail, though we need funds to make the winds blow. Calls have gone out. An Indiegogo campaign nears. Associate editors have been added and the website has frame and buoyancy.

Call for submissions will go out in April.

Galleon: Poetry and Fiction from Atlantic Canada

Boulardarie Island Press

I’m pleased to be added to the editing roster of Boulardarie Island Press. The press, run by author Douglas Arthur Brown, falls into that evolving area between traditional publishing and self publishing, and could be described as “assisted, professional-quality self publishing” offering e-book conversion, editorial services, printing services, promotional advice. The preference is to work with authors who have already had a trade publication. Some of those authors, like myself, tire of waiting for the second or third book to be picked up, or have seen little financial benefit in traditional publishing.

The Boulardarie Island Press editing roster (drum roll… er, link roll….):

On not-plotting

I have begun a new piece of short fiction that’s an exaggeration of what I taught recently: don’t overplot, sketch out your story loosely, invent. In my notes for this story, of which there are only five small points and one name, I wrote “needs to take surprising turns, write blindly”.  It takes a while to get to this point in story writing, though. It takes a while to trust your voice, your creative process. I have only the vaguest of ideas where this story is headed, but I’m excited to write it.  Were I to plot it, develop every nuance of the characters, I would not write it. In my mind, I guess, creation is superior to construction. Were I to build a house it would be a meandering maze of surprising spaces. This is why I love such oddball works as The Journal of Albion Moonlight, Maldoror, Tristram Shandy.

If this new story works out, it’ll be – I swear- the final piece in my collection. It might not work out, but that’s part of the risk and I’d rather, as Melville says, fail in originality than succeed in imitation.