September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tuesday

I've been feeling the urge to blog, but without much to report except for various adventures on the internet. I've been laying low, reading and catching up (or trying) on emails, and preparing for a couple of events this weekend: a reading at the Deer Park branch of the Toronto Public Library on Friday and a discussion with Wayne Grady on Saturday in Kingston as part of the Kingston Writersfest.

That's right, I am doing an event with the only ever simultaneous dual Giller longlistee (for fiction and translation) Wayne Grady (!!!). So please do stop by if you'll be in Kingston...or just buy a train ticket and come to Kingston for the Writersfest, which has a ton of events I wish I could attend, too. (I'm there for less than 24 hours, but I hope to squeeze in at least one event around my own.) 

Wayne Grady and I are billed to talk about "Writing Through Race," which promises to be a very interesting discussion. (If you've read Emancipation Day, you'll know why.)  When it comes to Bone & Bread, it's not a subject I've really been asked about at all (or thought about, to tell you the truth), so I'm curious as to where the conversation will lead us.

And around the internet:

* I really like this NYT article on Elizabeth Gilbert, and one of these days I will actually get around to reading one of her books since it seems I get excited every time I read something about her. In this article, I like the way she talks about her readers (and about the implied attitude that male readers are more valuable or important than female readers), as well as the descriptions of her writing attic with winding shelves and hidden compartments. Also, it seems like she has actually populated the town where she lives in New Jersey full of her friends and in, at least one case, her favourite restaurant. That's kind of awesome. 

These are the relevant paragraphs about her readers:

The only time I saw Gilbert lose her equanimity, in fact, was discussing her fans. She detests the mind-set that certain readers are more desirable than others. “It’s the worst kind of arrogance. Shouldn’t the idea be that we want people to read, period? Isn’t it an honor if somebody chooses our books at all, whatever her background, whatever her education, whatever her level of perceived literary credentials?” She recalls meeting a woman in a Tulsa Barnes & Noble — “probably 65 years old, looked like an aging country singer with sad eyes” — who told her “Eat, Pray, Love” was the first book she’d read in her life, and she now understood why people read. “So if that’s the kind of reader I’m not supposed to want, well, Jesus Christ. Give me a few thousand more of those!”
Now that people have started telling her that “The Signature of All Things” will attract “a different level of reader,” she can’t help hearing the implicit slight in this praise: “You might be lucky enough to get out of your ghetto, now that you’ve found a better grade of readers, meaning male readers. I want to say: ‘Go [expletive] yourself! You have no idea who the women are who read my books, and if I have to choose between them and you, I’m choosing them.’ ”
*Also, this piece by Kerry Clare about her two different experiences of motherhood is one of the best things I've read on the internet this week. 

*Aaaaand if you find yourself as mesmerized by breakdancing as I am, you will probably enjoy watching this 6-year-old break dancer named B-girl Terra, who is now Britain's youngest breakdancing champion.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the exceptional reading material! It's been a while since I've done surfing about writers and discussions on writing (which is sad, considering I'm a writer myself). But then again, life happens. I so wish I could make it out to the Writerfest. Every year I've wanted to attend AWP, but for various reasons, haven't had the opportunity. One of these days I'll make it to a conference. As a writer or just someone seeking a cool experience, I bet it's totally worth it.

saleema said...

You definitely should! I always get excited after attending a writers festival or event. I liked AWP, but I found it almost prohibitively crowded and weirdly scheduled. I've enjoyed most festivals in Canada much more.