Monday, November 19, 2007

The Calgary Extravanganza

filling Station Magazine and the Snaring the New West Tour are thrilled to announce:

The Calgary Extravanganza!

This fall has been an incredible season for Calgary authors. No less than twelve local authors have launched books just in the last few weeks. Please join us as we celebrate all the recent success in the Calgary literary community with a marathon reading.

The Calgary Extravaganza will take place from 7pm to 10pm on December 8th at Lunchbox Theatre ( 2nd Level, Bow Valley Square, 229, 205-5th Ave SW).

Readers include:

derek beaulieu -- Flatland (Information as Material)
Brea Burton and Jill Hartman - Booty: Hurricane Jane and Typhoon Mary (The Mercury Press)
Glen Dresser - Correction Road (Oberon Press)
ryan fitzpatrick - Fake Math (Snare Books)
Diane Guichon - Birch Split Bark (Nightwood Editions)
Cara Hedley - Twenty Miles (Coach House Books)
Claire Huot - The Prison Tangram (The Mercury Press)
Robert Majzels - The Humbugs Diet (The Mercury Press)
Riley Rossmo - Proof (Image)
William Neil Scott - Wonderfull (NeWest Press)
Natalie Zina Walschots - Thumbscrews (Snare Books)

Thank you for all your support and we can't wait to see you there.
Reply to all

Sunday, November 18, 2007

back in the air

Thank you all for your support and understanding over the last few days. It has meant the world to us.

I am meeting up with ryan and Neil on Tuesday the 20th, and will be able to keep all the Victoria/Vancouver commitments. I've missed the tour very badly and am thrilled to be on the road again.

See you soon,


Saturday, November 17, 2007


Ariel Gordon attended our reading in Winnipeg and has reviewed of our performance here.

The Edmonton Journal has a story up about us here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yesterday, November 13th, Ed's mom passed away.

Thank you so much for you wishes, kind words, and prayers. The flood of support has been completely overwhelming and wonderful.

I am back in Windsor; ryan and Neil have gone on to Saskatoon. I am not sure when or if I can join them, but I will let them and everyone know as soon as I possibly can.



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Schmutz Residence and the Milk Bar

We give my favourite performance of the whole tour to an audience of two: Ed and his mom, in her living room, while she sits in her recliner, rapt. She was too ill to come to the readings, so we brought the readings to her. Neil reads the first ten pages and I suddenly see him, peering over his glasses, as the storyteller he is above all else. ryan reads a long piece for the first time – “social pedagogies” – and its vulnerability and eloquence is stunning. I can feel the power in my diaphragm and know I’m doing well. Ed and his mom have a little fight over the tea and she pushes him over, I mop up the spill and giggle.

I get through to Jon, who is giddy and agrees to send as many more
copies of the book as he can – probably 30 – on to Winnipeg ahead of me, I learn that I have received my first review and it is glowing (if a little squirrely). Read it here.

We do and interview with Sue Baccarro for the arts publication she works for, which degenerates into Neil, ryan and I getting very academic and writery and talking for a very long time. It feels very good. I get some things straight. Almost too late, we change into superheroes and head to the Milk Bar, picking up Shawarma on the way.

As soon as we get to the Milk Bar, my stomach locks up and I give my falafel away. I want to throw up. The Bar slowly fills with family and friends. Kark Jirgens comes out to represent the English department. Misty and Todd, whom I haven’t seen in 3 years, come to stand in for the old workshop guard, Aunts and uncles come, Gennie’s mom and two sisters are there. I can feel myself starting to come apart,

We rope Ed into hosting and he almost makes me cry. Ryan reads “social pedagogies” again when I ask him to, pairs it with some shorter snappier pieces and gets his jab-jab-uppercut on, Neil reads the second half of Radio Drama and it goes over like gangbusters. I talk a bit. Reveal the tattoo. Dedicate my performance to my parents. I don’t stutter too much, It feels good.

And it’s over. My brother sells books. Lots of people sign out tour books. I have some rye and coke. I try to visit a little with everyone and feel like a great weight is lifted. Everyone loves our performances, it seems, Compliments bounce off my face like pellets of hail. It feels like we’ve won something. It feels fantastic.

I buy another Shawarma, one I can actually eat. We go back to Mike’s place, drink, play Guitar Hero again. ryan and I talk about some new poems he’s working on, stuff he might read at the end of the tour and it is good to talk about the writing, to feel like working even while celebrating, I eventually fall asleep leaning against Ed s he strums out “Cliffs of Dover” on a plastic guitar.

It’s not home for me, not anymore, but it feels good to have Windsor’s blessing. The halfway point. Into the depths of the prairie we go, triumphant.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Windsor is a tangle of despair factories. Ed meets us at the train station and I can tell he is at home. We arrive at my parents’ place and they are vibrating with excitement. My dad has framed copies of the poster for each of us and my mom has painted shirts to correspond to our superhero logos. My brother looks fantastic. We are swarmed with affection.

The next day, we perform in a building at the U of W that didn’t exist when I was there last. I realize I started my undergrad 7 years ago and shudder, The room is lovely – we’ve had great luck with venues this whole tour – and the room quickly fills, standing room only. So many people are here to see us. I start to freak out.

Daphne Marlatt reads first. Her tone is excellent the whole way through – ryan notes that she has been performing for many years and it shows. The last two pieces she reads are excellent – pieces modeled on the practice of walking meditation. The attention the physicality in the pieces, the sound and rhythm, hit me just right. They’re very new to her, and feel a bit like exercises, or unfinished, but they’re going to be spectacular.

Neil reads first, and is great. It is the piece about Ester Anson’s house, and this time it is the party in the pines, dancing on doors that strikes me. I sneeze right at the climax and the whole room laughs, I lose all credibility. I perform and it is good, but I am very nervous and too fast. I crack a few jokes about my mom and Mima being in the audience to cover. The boys see through it. Ryan reads again from the death and destruction suite and blows me out of the water.

I am swarmed and scattered after the performance. I am trying to talk to too many people, receive too many hugs, plan the rest of the day and my head comes dangerously close to exploding.

It is also now that I realize I am running out of books, somehow that extra 50 isn’t enough. I have a small panic attack.

Then we eat dinner at May Wah. I get to see Nicole and Susan, even Dilworth drops by. We got back to my parents’ place. Kendra, Mike, Meaghen, Kacy, CJ and Chad join us. We play Guitar Hero and I feel better.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ghosts of York and Jay MillAr rise again

The reading at York turns out to be another first – the maiden voyage of the Egress series run by Andy Weaver. Andy, of course, comes down with that begins as a flu and turns in to a laryngitis and bronchitis cocktail. His doctor orders 48 hours of bed rest and no talking, so Stephen Cain hosts the reading. He’s all dry wit, but warm.

This turns out to be the one and only opportunity that the 3 Snare authors – me, Jay MillAr and ryan Fitzpatrick – perform together. Ryan is stellar. His patter develops, conveys some of the passion he has for the book. He reads a combination of longer and shorter pieces, strikes a whammy of a balance. The shorter pieces, glib and hard, lull you into expecting it all to be light and funny and pointy, and then the longer pieces are a suckerpunch buffet. He read form the “death and destruction” suite, some of the funniest and most uncomfortable material in the book. I remember how much I love the line “I hate ethnic; I like orange drink.”

Jay reads a lot of non-book material – chapbooks, a long set from a longer string of poems examining the general malaise of customer service. When he does read from the book, he asks the audience to call out number between 1 and 79 and reads whatever is on the corresponding page. The audience resists the participation.

The Q&A afterwards is really only 2 questions the three Snares answer together at length. I get to talk about the specifics of the constraints I employ, and that’s fun. Then we munch on cookies, drink some juice or coffee, and spend an interminable length of time on the TTC.

We all have dinner at Tabule. There is white wine and spectacular hummus, labne and tawuk. Later, ryan, Neil, Emily, Gennie, angela rawlings, Jenny Sampirisi, Aaron and I all wind up at Gennie’s apartment. We sing, listen to music videos, drink, and read tea leaves. Angela has notes form our performances, excellent and difficult questions. We try to name Jenny’s book and actually find the tabs to My Belruel. Jenny, angela, ryan and Aaron eventually leave before the subways stop running and after Neil goes to bed Gennie, Emily and I lay on the futon and talk, There is power in having us together again. Emily stays the night and it feels so good to have all the pieces of myself reassembled for just a few hours.

We will blog. I swear to god.

We're in Windsor. Hopefully we will find some time to blog more than this sentence. Molemen and Ghosts to come. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

of indies and politiks

We take tea with a whole coven of witches. I am home. I love Toronto; the city holds me anonymously, has a beautiful dirty grayness that feels like it has always just rained. The book stores and comic shops empty and fill me. Grilled cheese at the Stem. My girls, my gorgeous magical friends who I love as much as my own limbs and more. One day I’ll come home for good.

We read at the Green Room as part of the third season of Indiepolitik’s Strong Words reading series. We’re in the Art Bar, one of the other, more different bars buried deep in the Gladstone. Matt Blair bustles about and hosts like a champ. Moez is happy to see us as an old friend. And old friends come: Cindy and Andrew drive up from Guelph, Jessica and Tom manage to sneak away from their babies for the performance, Mike Davis (who I haven’t seen in years) and Katie drive an hour and a half in the rain. It is so good to meet Mark Truscott and Paul Hegedus. It’s is so good to see angela and Jordan again, I am overwhelmed.

At the Green Room performance I feel fort he first time that we are not three discrete artists doing our own disparate things, but a unit. We are a show. We heckle and play off each other, start feeling out a schtick. Both ryan and Neil read brilliantly; I am again reminded of how honoured I am to share all these stages with them. Neil reads the funereal. It’s the first time I hear him read this piece and it’s excellent. I meet the original Garfaxians and it all makes a little more sense.

Jay MillAr is absent and we worry; he comes home to a flood of calls and emails. He apologizes profusely and we’re all just happy he’s okay.

Gennie makes us more tea. Emily tells Neil the future. I am so glad that my friends meet and love my friends.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Parliament of

A giant metal spider attacks the art gallery, one malevolent eye on the parliament buildings. There is something lovely and cruelly amiss about the flying butresses of Notre Dame. There are lakes and moats here, warning signs and damp moss. A sky the colour of my hair.

My billet has the flu, and is an incredibly display of generosity books me a night at a B&B (the house know as Echo Bank House, built by Hayes, the first governor of Scotiabank). ryan stays with Pearl Pirie in a top floor condo with a wrap-around view of the city. Neil stays in a spare room from another part of house where Max rents his apartment. The former tenant of the room stacked televisions of top of each other, made a mural of luna moths and ripped up the carpet after

We read in an art gallery in City Hall, the first performers in the new AB series or readings and lectures Max Middle curates. Max wears his Host Shirt and showers us with small kindnesses. There are about 30 audience members, so well behaved we become nervous at the lack of heckling.

At a pub afterwards, of course, had an excellent conversation and passable Caesar wrap. Charles Earl took killer pictures. Made many friends and heard of someone saying terrible things behind our backs (which was funnier than it was cruel). A half litre of white wine is just enough.

Morning full of eggs and sunrise. Back to the train station 24 hours after we arrived feels comfortable.

Amanda Earl and Pearl Pirie were awesome enough to review our performances. There's another review here. Give them a look-see.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Ghost Story

Quebec City is beset by a plague. It is a secret plague. We were uniquely qualified to uncovered this terrible secret, coming home in the small hours of the morning, hearing and seeing things more logical minds would pass by.

300 years ago, ghosts were unleashed upon Quebec. They are vague shades now, leaving sad orange smears on the buildings as they float through. 200 years ago, the vampires came (though they are mostly extinct now. The few that remain sleep with their clothes on.). Nearly 100 years ago, the most terrible plague yet visited the fairest Canadian City: Molemen. We encountered these creatures peripherally, scratching beneath the floorboards, eating holes in the streets and foundations, chittering malevolently in the night.

No one knows what terrible plague will come next.

So the citizens of Quebec dig. They dig deep and often. They are looking for something, someone long buried: They are looking for Champlain.

Each year that Champlain's body remains lost in the city, Quebec suffers. For every hundred years that he is lost, a new plague arrives. But when he is finally found, Quebec will be saved.

For on that day, Zombie Champlain will finally rise and lead Quebec to victory over the Molemen, and the city will be free.

Schedule Update

The reading we are giving in Vancouver at Cafe Montmartre has been moved from November 22nd to November 23rd. Same time, same place. Come out and see us rock the west coast.

Day 6: Thursday, November 1, 2007

I spend the morning lugging my suitcase and a box of books through the metro to to train station where we leave for Ottawa. Montreal must be a terrible place for people in wheelchairs as the metro doesn't seem very accessible (something you notice when rolling a sizeable mass through a train station).

At this point it feels like we've been at this for a month already. We cross into Ontario around noon.

Day 5: October 31, 2007

Neil notices that Montreal must be at peace with a certain level of urban decay. Older buildings look like they might blow away in the wind. Graffiti is constantly present.