Re-inventing the Business of Writing

My aspirations as a writer began in Grade Five, although I must admit that my series on the Secret Spitball Society didn’t impress Mr. Bacon, nor did my extra-terrestrial cat-being proclaiming See the USA in your Chevrolet! chevy adMr. Bacon had us listen to John McIntyre’s clever, metaphoric prose instead, a story set in Niagara Falls, someone going over in a barrel. barrelAnim2My words weren’t as adroit as John McIntyre’s, but I did have stories in my head; I just had to learn how to let them come out in a pure kind of form. I continued to write – more superficial stuff, including the closing pages to a confused epic (Vile Illuminations), and some awful poems in high school, and then angsty plays (Alleluia & Bare Cage) and awkward screenplays (Ferges in Newfoundland & Beyond the Sand of Virginia) in university – before starting my first novel in Paris.hemingway1I had a few moments of my hoped-for purity in The Sacred Whore, characters speaking for themselves, images flowing out, but it was more me just doing my five pages a day, gleaning along the way, until I had arrived at page 718. Something seemed to be working. I shared my progress with Ben, a fellow writer I met at a party in Toronto. He stared back. “I’m re-inventing the novel. It’s time to shed the artifice of the narrative and create something more pure.” Purity? Oh no. squirrelsWas I as stupid and inane? I resolved to avoid writers from that moment on. I wrote in silence. I would think and read and write alone. That was all. I would send the work out and someone, somewhere would understand. And I did just that, stayed away from other writers, from everyone in the business, and wrote in London, Cordoba, Sardinia, Vancouver and New York. The isolation helped me find my sense and direction. Crown8And even if I didn’t re-invent the novel, I found a voice and only need the patience for it to be heard.

2 thoughts on “Re-inventing the Business of Writing

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