For five years I’ve been walking the same route from home to the Victoria Conservatory of Music where I teach. By the same route, I mean the same route. I’m on automatic pilot to the point of discomfort if, for some reason, I have to walk on the other side of the street.
So for five years I’ve walked over this in the Rudlin sidewalk:
And I wrote a story. “The Goddess Lisa” will find a home with the good people of Little Fiction this Wednesday.
I’m thrilled to learn that my short story “Last Concert – Luzon, Philippines” won first runner-up in PRISM international’s 2013 Fiction contest. The story features a constipated classical guitarist on the last concert of his first tour, a hole in a wall, some dogs, and other stuff. This year’s judge was Annabel Lyon, whose writing I admire. Check out the other winners here: THE WINNERS
In other news, I freaked myself out last night, here’s how: apparently I was staring at my lamp with only one of my eyes (??? I know. I was in bed and the other was blocked by a pillow I guess) so when I turned my light off I could see with my left eye but not my right (due to starting at the lamp) and I thought I’d burst a retina or some other awful thing. (All’s back to normal now.)
In third news, I went to Seattle and geeked it out at comicon. Here’s a shirt I bought:
And some friends I made:
Attended Micheal Ondaatje’s reading of “The Cat’s Table” last night at the AGPH. Mr Ondaatje read for 40 minutes then answered questions. It turns out that the Cat’s Table is a German phrase for the least important table with the least important people–interesting term! The book is on my to-read list.
I’ve been a fan Tim Winton since I read The Turning, his collection of short fiction. His latest novel, Breath, is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Not only is the story itself exhilarating, the technique is controlled to the point of being invisible. Want to write? Here is a guide to the retrospective novel.
So, the Malahat Review’s Spring Edition 174 came out a while back and Michael Larson’s short story “The Woods” caught my attention. I haven’t read anything by him before, but his story has been knocking around my brain from the first read. If you haven’t read it, this would be a good edition of the Malahat to pick up: besides Michael’s piece it also features this years Open Season winners.
So fellow UVic-ite and soon to be UBC-er Will Johnson won the The Fiddlehead’s Short Fiction competition this year with his piece “Sea to Sky”.
It’s a fine read, with clean, straight forward prose, and MiriamToews-esque characters that are full of honesty and heart. You can read a clip here: The Fiddlehead Sea to Sky
Two great things are happening this friday, and though I can’t do both I wish I could! Take your pick:
May 6 at 8pm
Alix Goolden Hall
VS Principal Violist Kenji performs Jacques Hetu’s Viola Concerto in the second and final Odyssey concert of the season. Principal Guest Conductor Alain Trudel conducts this show, which also includes Adams’ Shaker Loops, Bouchard’s Exquisite Fires,
and Bolcom’s Commedia for (almost) 18th century orchestra. Join us for an evening of excellent (and slightly outside-of-the-box) modern classical music at the Alix Goolden Hall.
Munro’s Books Presents
Elizabeth Hay and Miriam Toews
Friday May 6th 7:30
Fairfield United Church
1303 Fairfield Road
This year we received over two-hundred and fifty short stories and over three-hundred and fifty poems! Needless to say, the decisions were difficult and the quality of the work was phenomenal. But after weeks and weeks of deliberation, the editorial board and the editors decided on the final shortlists. The poetry shortlist went to Brad Cran — the poet laureate of Vancouver. And the fiction shortlist went to John K. Samson — musician, fiction enthusiast and publisher.
The winners of 2011 PRISM international poetry and fiction contest are —
Poetry Grand Prize Winner — $1,000
“My Father in his garden, depicted in the woodblock print of the Taishō dynasty” by Pamela Porter
Poetry First Runner-up — $300
“Reincarnation Study 1982″ by Sheryda Warrener
Poetry Second Runner-up — $200
“Pop Quiz” by Scott Ramsay
Fiction Grand Prize Winner — $2,000
“Bridges” by Erin Frances Fisher
Fiction First Runner-up — $200
“Squatters” by Robert James Hicks
Fiction Second Runner-up — $200
“The Ghost” by Mark Jacquemain
Congratulations to all of the winners! Thank you to everyone who entered! And thanks to our judges Brad Cran and John K. Samson! The winning entries and runners-up will be published in the Summer 2011 issue of PRISM (49.4).
ALSO: The New Malahat Review Launches tonight! I’m teaching but it should be a fun thing!
Tea Obreht, another “20 Under 40” has published her first novel: The Tiger’s Wife.
I read Tea’s short story “Blue Water Djinn” in the New Yorker’s collection, was immediately impressed by the control of the language and structure, and went and bought her novel. Many things I loved in her short story turned up in the novel as well: the descriptiveness and location choice, the control of language, and the use of animals as characters where they also keep their animal-ness (think Life of Pi’s tiger or Cloudstreet’s pig.)
At the same time, the animals and the layered descriptions paired with the multiple fairy-tale style story threads made me feel like I was reading several fables at once. The structure cut itself off at times with start-stop entries, and I’m not sure I was convinced when the narrative dipped into the history of minor characters, although those dips did add motive.
But back to good: the novel feels as if it’s holding up several fantastic moments, many small stories that aren’t properly fluid, but are worthy of being lifted anyway. And Tea runs sorrow throughout, which unites the tone.
It took me longer than I thought it would to finish this (I was frustrated by the length of some of the side stories) but it was worth the read.
Had a great week of New Art in Victoria…
1.Bolen Books sponsored a reading of fiction shortlisted for the M Awards, (monday mag) and there to read were Jack Hogins, Matthew Hooton (my current fiction prof), Robert J. Wiersema, and John Gould (a past fiction prof of mine). Small gathering, but great readers. I look forward to wadding through their fiction this month.
2. Steven Price (also a past fiction prof of mine) debuted his new novel Into That Darkness at UVic Bookstore last Thursday. I expect it to be an interesting read as this is Steve’s first novel–he’s usually know for his poetry.
3. Yesterday Aventa premiered three works by Canadian composers: Falling–Markus Lehmann-Horn; Ask You Dance Me–James Rolfe; Fifteen Stages in the Search for Radium and Love–Tim Brady. Again, a small gathering here as well, with the audience mainly composers. Is there anyway to cross-breed audiences? Both the local lit world and music world are doing fantastic things!