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The New Quarterly Fall Issue Launch

November 18, 2010 1 comment

Tonight in Waterloo is the launch of the Fall issue of The New Quarterly, which will feature a screening of In The Wake Of The Flood (a documentary about Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood book tour), a show of Alan Dayton’s portraits of Canadian writers, and readings from me and some others. All this goes down at the Princess Twin, 46 King Street, in Waterloo, from 7:00 to 9:30. Admission is $10.

That there above picture would be the cover of said issue, which, incidentally, is a picture of yours truly. Taken by yours truly in a Colorado Springs hotel room with an adjoining door, through which I inadvertently learned many intimate details of my neighbours that evening, who were married, but not to each other, and making good use of their time. That’s probably more information than you really wanted, but it’s only a fraction of that I received. It became necessary to find distractions.

That issue also has an excerpt from Combat Camera and an interview with me, which you can read online at TNQ‘s website. Clearly, this is the finest magazine in Canada. And lest you think it’s all about me, there are also stories by Jessica Westhead and others, the winners of the Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest, the winners of the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest (including Kerry Clare), a piece by Giller nominee Sarah Selecky, a bunch a poems, and colour plates of Alan Dayton’s portraits, including such literary luminaries as K.D. Miller, Steven Heighton, Russell Smith, Terry Griggs, Rebecca Rosenblum, my editor John Metcalf, and me. Yes, it is all about me.

You should definitely buy a copy.

Strange days

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

So this is me. Or, more precisely (ceci n’est pas un pipe), this is a portrait of me, drawn by the London, Ontario artist Alan Dayton. Alan Dayton has been working on a series of portraits of Canadian writers, and other creative types, and he approached me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d like to be included. (You can see another in the series, Rebecca Rosenblum, at Rose Coloured.)

This is the latest strange development in a series of strange developments that have developed since November 23 of last year, when the manuscript I’d been tinkering with for far longer than anyone would consider healthy won the Metcalfe-Rooke Award. Strange days, indeed: who woulda thunk anyone would do a portrait of me? For purposes other than police identification?

The portrait itself is surprising. We rarely get to see ourselves as seen by others, in ways that go beyond the mere fact that the part in your hair isn’t actually on the same side that you see in the mirror. I first thought of “Like a Rolling Stone” (you never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns), and then of “Desolation Row,” with its chain of strange images and personalities. But the background is based on the cover of The Doors album Strange Days. It’s uncannily perceptive, I think … but I’m not going into all that.

Anyway, now I’m on the hook to write a short piece on the whole experience. I’m still trying to figure that out.

Categories: alan dayton, art