62 days until “This is All a Lie” is in the world!!

Hello. Sixty-two days until This is All a Lie. I am so excited about this book, and apprehensive, and anxious, and excited again. It is the kind of meta-fiction that I love to read. In the past few weeks I have been in my characters, walking with them and hanging out with them. I love them. They are flawed and imperfect, and not particularly nice. Now I am hard and fast into the elephant book. Writing, researching, opening to the story — I still do not know how it ends. I am waiting for one of my characters to tell me what happens on the Charles Bridge.

It’s sprinkling rain now. Fine lines of water droplets on my window. Grey, uncaring cloud moving overhead. Bruce Cockburn playing. And now I will play “The Lamb” playlist and turn toward writing.

Talk soon

 

Eighty-five days until This is All a Lie launches!

I am sitting with a mug of white wine on the deck. It’s 30C, and thunder storms are coming. It’s humid, and the wind grows a little with each passing sip of wine. The clouds are a steady pale blue-grey wash. I can see the new elms are doing well. I am no longer worried about the elms.

Today there are just 85 days until the new book is born into the world. It has been born into me for substantially longer than that. I will be in the bath tonight, reading with a copy editor’s eyes, looking for inconsistencies. I will make a good cup of strong tea – the King Cole, and read carefully.

Eighty-five days doesn’t seem like a long time. Under three months and then these people I have grown to love will be out of my hands. They will be in the world. It’s a nervous thing, this sending a book into the world. I am anxious and excited for you to meet them.

Okay. Talk soon.

I know what you’re thinking…

A book that lovingly portrays the real, true, official and unflinchingly authentic story of Claude Garamond, the father of the Garamond font

Hello. How are you? I know. I know. You’re probably wondering — along with about a billion people across the planet (not including the Chinese. For some reason, I’m BIG in China — Huge) — what this new book, “This is All a Lie” is all about. Is it a normal sort of narrative? Is it something my wife would like, because you know, she only reads John Grisham? Is it something my wee grannie would enjoy, because you know, she’s not so big on the cussing? Well, sadly, there are no lawyers in the book. And there is a wee bit of cussing, but it’s appropriate cussing. It’s a novel about the dangers of losing intimacy — in all its forms. And, the book is written backwards, at least structurally. It’s self-conscious. It digresses wildly. And it spans hundreds of years of human history. You’re probably thinking — what the fuck kind of an idiot would write a book that runs backwards — a book that starts on page 341 and moves to page 1? A book that starts with an ‘epilogue’ and a ‘note on the font’ and ‘the acknowledgements’? A book that lovingly portrays the real, true, official and unflinchingly authentic story of Claude Garamond, the father of the Garamond font?!?! You’d think the author would have learned his lesson about pushing the edges of literature, about playing around with experimental points of view. But no. Oh no. He’s jumped right it to the “metafiction” pool with a highly accessible and brilliantly heartbreaking love story. Now, you’re probably salivating, pining to get your hands on a copy of this book. The thought of it keeps you up at night, because you’re the type of person who likes to be delighted, and “This is All a Lie” is delightful. Soon…It will be coming soon.

118 (ONE-hundred-AND-eighteen)!!

 

Yup. 118 days until “This is All a Lie.” It’s a fine “fall” book, a book to sit with in the diminished light, with a glass of something robust — like whisky, or thick red wine, or strong tea. Leave your white wine, or your beer, or coolers behind. Start a fire in the pit out back. Throw on some old clothes — maybe that ratty sweater your wife keeps threatening to chuck, and grab the new book by Thomas Trofimuk and your beverage of choice, and settle in to read. Maybe you’ll listen to music as you read — Aster Piazzolla’s Five Tangos with the Kronos Quartet would work — so would Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert. But first you must live through the summer, with all her temptations and delights. Don’t worry, the publisher is printing a good number of books. There will be plenty of books.

 

Schrödinger’s woman

My wife tells me it’s because when a woman wears heels they’re tilted forward, and the thing the woman in my riff below does with her foot, is to bend the foot the other way…it’s a salve. Okay. This is what my wife tells me, and I guess she ought to know — being a woman who has worn high heels.

Schrödinger’s woman

It’s raining and normally, you love the rain, would focus on the rain, write about the rain, show your love for the rain, but today the woman across the café is doing this thing with her foot – she lifts her toes so just the narrow spike of her heel is pricked into the floor – then places it down. These shoes are six-inch, flower-patterned high heels. You know they are six inches because you live with a woman who has a shoe fetish. The woman across the café seems to be deep in thought, as if she is focused on something important that resides on her laptop. Of course, the world resides on her laptop, on all laptops. So she could be working on her new novel, which is set in Japan and involves a husband and wife, and an unhappy cat who live near the Zenpuku-ji Buddhist Temple in the Yamada district. So far, nothing has happened between the husband and the wife and the unhappy cat, but the woman writes with the confidence that something will eventually happen. Or she could be working on a poem about the rain – how it is falling with a hesitant insecurity, as if it’s not sure about falling – about how wet it is, about how wet is makes the streets, about the heady scent that follows. You notice she is doing that thing with her foot again. It’s a tick – at least, you think it’s probably a tick – an unconscious sign that she’s thinking hard. You might wonder if she’s playing with your perception. Does she know you are watching her? Is she purposely presenting the image of a thoughtful person? Is she Schrödinger’s woman – a woman in a café who is consciously attractive and unconsciously alluring, simultaneously? Is she a woman who is aware she is being watched and at the same time, unaware, oblivious and indifferent? But she is not in a box with a decaying isotope and a vial of poison – she is alive and well, unconsciously doing that thing with her foot. She is just pretty woman working on a book about two people and an unhappy in the mountains of Japan, distracting you from the rain.

On making mistakes in the sorbets

Sometimes, when I cook the sorbets up, I am rushed, or distracted, or tired. And what results is a sorbet that might be pretty good, without all the mistakes. Yesterday was such a day. Three miscues in one small piece — two neglected words and one word that should not have been there. Sigh…So I am re-posting here as a sort of balm to my stupidity. Here is the corrected version of “the leaf”:

The leaf

Imagine this: In his journal, there are leaves – a collection of golden poplar leaves from the side of a mountain in the fall, pressed between the back pages. Today, after he finishes his glass of wine and pays, he leaves a leaf – one soft-yellow leaf on the brown wooden tabletop, a gift for the waitress. Because it’s Thursday. Or because it felt right. Or because flipping through his journal, the yellow surprised him. He does not know why he picked the leaves off the ground on the side of the mountain. Maybe to remember the cool, clear air of that morning, or the quiet spring in his legs, or the simple happiness of that moment. Perhaps it is just something he has always done.

The waitress might think the leaf is an accident – that it fell from her customer’s notebooks – he always has notebooks – and he didn’t notice. Maybe she will have no doubt of her customer’s intention – she will smile as she takes possession of it, as she picks it gently from the table. Perhaps she needed some sort of eloquent whimsy at that moment. Because last night as she visited her mother, now 94-years and in a home, she realized her mom had no idea who her daughter was – and the sadness of this realization sits heavy on her heart. The leaf was unrequired and strange and the waitress, whose name is Enid, saw its faded yellow as something akin to love, as something irrefutably kind. This leaf was a gift of beauty with no strings. As she tucks the leaf into her journal, she realizes this is exactly what she must do with her love. The leaf reminded her that so long as she kept telling her mother she was loved – that she loved her, nothing else mattered.

Instructions for jumping

Good morning. It is Thursday. The Lake Geneva book, set in Switzerland (for the most-part) now called “Instructions for Jumping From a Speeding Train,” on the market. If you are a publisher, call me!!! If you sleep with a publisher, call me!

And, I continue to work on the Elephant book, which is set in Prague (for the most part). A question I often ask myself is, Why don’t you write about where you live? My answer is, I’m slowly working up to it. Places become only minor characters for me, unless it’s the mountains. The Columbus book had to be set in Spain. The Instructions for Jumping book had to be set in Switzerland. Doubting Yourself to the Bone had to be Field, BC. The 52nd Poem, was all mountains with a little Edmonton. This is All a Lie (COMING TO A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU IN THE FALL 2017!!!) is nowhere — it’s a city with tall buildings. Anyway, I am aware of setting. It’s just, I am never limited by the fact I haven’t been to a place.

This image of a balancing elephant, just because it made me smile.

Here’s last week’s sorbet, for your reading pleasure…(for the record, I write a piece about losing touch with poetry and make poetry into a real, farting woman, and two subscribers unsubscribed. Sigh)

Poetry leaves me

There is no poetry in me and I do not find this disturbing. Not really. It’s fine that poetry has taken its leave of me. I wake up as she rolls carefully, quietly, stealthily out of bed at 4 a.m. and tiptoes across the floor. I hear the door to the bathroom, and the toilet flush. I hear her pass gas – as she always does, and immediately think of the poet Charles Bukowski, and how he would love that about her.

It’s not as if I wasn’t expecting her to leave. I have been working on novels, in which narratives are stretched long over hundreds of pages and words are luxurious and have time to arrive. Urgency in a novel is not the same as urgency in a poem. Where poems are frantic to communicate, and will stab you in the eye with a salad fork if you’re not careful, a novel will hesitate, breathe, look around – before attacking. A poem gets pissed off and throws a full glass of wine at your head. A novel will make love with you, give you what you need, then cut you with a whispered line, in dim light, in a foreign country.

It’s no wonder Poetry has left me – I wasn’t paying attention to her and a poem with a body like that – all full-bodied and tall and fecund, needs attention. She needs to be touched, caressed and kissed into being.

I listen as she moves down the hallway, then the stairs – that fourth step always creaks. (You’d think a poem of her calibre would remember such things). I consider the idea that maybe it was me who left her. I stopped moving through the world with her in mind. I stopped seeing the world, smelling it, feeling it – with her eyes, and nose, and hands.

I hear the front door open, and close, and I know I cannot be without her. I need her in my life. I move across the bed to where she was, feel her warmth, smell her perfume and her sweat. I listen to nothing moving in the house, close my eyes and yearn myself to sleep.

The quandary of naming

Sometimes titles of books can trip you up. Right now, I have thrown out “Seven Moments” and the flood gates have opened. As I do this last edit, the title has shifted from “The woman in Lake Geneva,” to “Falling into Lake Geneva,” to today’s title, “Instructions for leaping into Lake Geneva.” It’s not really “instructions,” Not really, but the leaping is a consequence of everything that comes before, so it’s not too much of a stretch.

In the meantime, I continue to edit the last set of revisions, and it is a brilliant book. A dark journey of unresolved damage. Hell, I could call it “Damaged.” Maybe that will be its title tomorrow. See what I mean about struggling to find the title that says what the book is?’

Does this work? I don’t know.

.

 

Writer on the runway!!! MAYDAY!!!

I am going to model for the delightful Stanley Carroll this Thursday, March 23, as part of  Western Canada Fashion Week, at the Transalta Arts Barns, in Edmonton. I cannot promise that I won’t do a Carrie Bradshaw and face-plant on the runway, but the likelihood of this happening is small, as I will not be wearing heels (I hope). So, if you are so inclined, if you enjoy fashion shows, all the info is here. I wrote a blurb for the new book into my bio, so yes, I will whore for my books, because I love them and believe in them… Yes, this makes me nervous.

On the writing front, I am pushing ahead with “the Elephant on the Charles Bridge” novel. I do not know what happens on the bridge but I am learning about all the characters who will be there. I am growing to love them.

 

This is All a Lie, covered!!!

The cover for the new book got released today, by my publisher…and it is delightful, mysterious, and beautiful. In the meantime, I am two books ahead, working on “The Elephant on the Charles Bridge,” and waiting to hear about “Seven Moments,” which is with my agent. I liken the “Elephant” book to a Coen brothers’ film, with the prevailing question of “What the fuck is happening?” and the confused utterance of “I don’t understand,” as the backbones of the book. It’s a book about trying to interpret the meaning of a world with no meaning. So, a comedy. Ha!!! Really, I’m just starting the dream of it.

“This is All a Lie” is set for a fall 2017 release, so long as Donald Trumpy doesn’t start a goddamned war to distract us from his utter moronic incompetence.