Maybe we need a new title here…

See, when I first started this blog in early 2014 the word “indistractable” brought up only a few Google hits, assuring me of its relative originality but disabusing me of any true clams on the word (“get your clams off me!”).  That was unlikely anyway – nothing much is truly new under planet Neologism’s sun. But now there’s a book entitled Indistractable, which would explain a surge of random (not fandom) hits the past year here.

Yeah, it deals with ADHD. And though I may harbour a few ADD dinghies myself, the reason why I called my blog Indistractable was because it was just a neat word I hoped I’d coined and I’m not, I’m very.  Neat? Nah, distractable.

Meanwhile, “Corvid-19” is nothing to crow about and  brings up nearly two million hits, several articles in respectable web-roosts, but typo or no (see here for an example from the Read Dear Advocate)  it’s hardly murderous error and no pandemonium has ensued.

And what’s a writer/editor to do in this viral hunkerdown but work on while others work on their works in progress. Stay safe everyone,  grow herbs in your window and watch the (non-corvid) starlings search the peeps of grass for signs of spring while snow falls softly around their feathered…

Oh, I seem to have gotten distracted.  Back to work…

Two Recent Reviews

I’ve just had two reviews posted on the Atlantic Books Today website (following two longer reviews – of Kevin Major and Kerry-Lee Powell – in their recent print edition). A small caveat is that Atlantic Books Today is funded by publishers, but managing editor Chris Benjamin does want honest, well-written reviews, sees the value in that.

I hosted André Narbonne in October at the Attic Owl Reading Series, was impressed and later begged off attempting a review of another story collection (quite poorly written) and requested permission to send a review of Narbonne’s collection Twelve Miles to Midnight. It’s a great story collection. The review is here.

And some time this summer I was sent the PDF of David Doucette’s A Hard Old Love Amongst Scavengers, and promptly forgot about it. I spend all day at the PC or laptop editing writers’ words, don’t want to read more fiction on the screen. Anyway, when asked about the review’s status I said right, right, is there a hard copy? One was sent. One day I’ll make a list of my favourite Atlantic Canadian Fiction. It’ll have Doucette’s novel near the top*. What a welcome surprise. That review is here.

*Along with Steffler’s The Grey Islands (fiction? poetry?), Powell’s Willem De Kooning’s Paintbrush, Bursey’s Verbatim: A Novel, Gunn’s Amphibian, Butler Hallett’s Deluded Your Sailors, and work by Mark Anthony Jarman, Ian Colford, Narbonne, Coady…. Maybe that’s the next blog post.

Engine Failure @ Jerrod Edson

There’s a nice review of my story “A Survivor’s Guide to Engine Failure at 35,000 Feet” on Jerrod Edson’s site right here. Jerrod is a fellow New Brunswick author temporarily banished to Ontario (but he’s NB through and through, don’t forget it). From his review:

“Warwick’s voice is manic, yet altogether alive and authentic (imagine a Hunter S. Thompson / Barney Panofsky offspring and you’re headed in the right direction). His memories of the crash are honest and raw, and utterly void of any writerly bullshit”

Edson has a new novel coming out this spring. Watch for “The Moon is Real” with Urban Farmhouse Press.

Interviewing Jeff Bursey

As mentioned in the preface to the linked interview (see below), Jeff Bursey and I met through Joseph McElroy in 2010 when Jeff was looking to get word out about his first novel, Verbatim: A Novel. Jeff lived just two hours away but in terms of kindred interests, he was right next door. We have become good friends since. He’s the only person I’ve met (face to face) who has also read McElroy’s massive Women and Men.

The interview, focussing on Jeff’s second book, Mirrors on which dust has fallen, is up at The Winnipeg Review, another terrific resource (a la Numero Cinq) for all things literary.

Read it here.

The Litter I See

thompsonA few months back I was sent (by Carin Makuz) a jpg of some random trash, all part of a project called The Litter I See (in support of Frontier College), and which promotes literacy and has, of course, an anti-trash objective as well. The image was of someone’s ‘new balance’ and the word ‘withdrawal’ was prominent.  So I wrote a poem, a kind of numb, flat poem about a decision on the cusp for years.

You can find it here (or click the image):

http://thelitteriseeproject.com/2015/11/09/withdrawal/

Not sure if I’ve had a poem published before. Don’t think so.

Editing Website

After 18 months of knowing I needed one, I made one: a website for my editing services. Happy to have clients both big (publishers, corporations) and small (you, the Average Writing Human).  Is this an easy way to make a living? No. But it’s a satisfying one.  Check it out:

editing logo

click logo

Lee Thompson Editing +

Confessions of a Paper Hater

Paper. Hate it. Hate the way it sounds, paper on paper, and the way it feels under my skin. Hate the sound of paper tearing, hate the dry whisper of a turned page. Hate that other things sound like this. Take off my shirt and, cloth on skin, there’s the paper sound.  Touch my hair and there’s the paper sound. Breathe in and there’s the paper sound. I’m not making this up.

It started early in life, though I don’t remember exactly when. In school, the sound of my hand moving across paper was bothersome, but tolerable. I found that if I kept my nails long, it helped. I wouldn’t explain why I kept my nails long, though. I can’t explain why it still helps (lessens touch sensitivity, I presume). I hated the sound of pencil against paper, I hated the sound of the worn-to-nothing end of a pencil, the eraser end, rubbing its nub and tin against the paper (I shudder).  At its worst, in my pre-teens, it affected my dental hygiene – brushing my teeth created a paper sound throughout my entire skull. Horrible. I also couldn’t stand the feel and sound of nylon on nylon. Or snowsuits. Pillowcases. Maybe I worried that one day I wouldn’t be able to touch anything at all?

And then it went away, mostly.  And I forgot about it, mostly. Thirty years dormant. And then two summers ago, while tearing a sheet of parchment paper, it was back: shivers up my spine, hair standing on end.  Why? Did stress trigger it? What part of my brain was reactivated? And why is there a part of my brain that makes the world sound like its being channelled through dry, paper tubes? (“That’s a really crazy description; don’t tell people that,” R. told me when I tried to describe it.)

Since the Parchment Terror it’s expanded, to toasted or old bread, to feet on carpet, and to nearly all forms of clothing (except microfibre and silk). Some days it seems every other thing has this dry, shivery sound, and I can’t see any evolutionary reason for this. Paper cuts just aren’t that deadly. (Yes, it falls under some kind of hypersensitivity disorder. Surely there are others out there.)

So, that’s the irony. I’m a writer and editor who hates paper, who is surrounded by paper, who’s had constant paper contact his entire life (you’d have expected me go into aquaculture and something similarly moist). But I’m a writer who’s never had much of a paper fetish, obviously, or a sharpie or pen collection.

Yet, somehow (praise the angels and their shivery wings), I still love the feel of books, and don’t own a Kobo or Kindle.

That says something.

LT

PS – But I love the feel of polymers. The new plastic money? Awesome.

Three Favourite Things from 2014

Kerry-Lee Powell’s Inheritance Yesterday the short list for the poetry part of the East Coast Literary Awards came out, and there was a name missing. Sure, nothing is ever guaranteed, but word has it that Kerry-Lee Powell’s Inheritance, due to an … Continue reading