Author: Ian Williams

In my time away from you I’ve become one of those guys who takes selfies in the bathroom mirror

This is me / after 2.5 hours of indoor tennis on a rainy Vancouver Monday.

Check the sweat print.

Ian Williams Heart After Tennis

You see it? That’s never happened.

What is the best reading of the above phenomenon? Circle the correct answer

a. I emit love.

b. God is now sending me emojis.

c. Myself loves me.

d. Someone else loves me.

e. I am in or under love

f. This is the accidental work of millions of years of chest-hair and rib-cage evolution.

g. I’m hot.


As handsome and tall as you

A line from part IV, Death by Water, the tiniest section of Eliot’s The Waste Land, sometimes haunts me. It describes the death of a sailor, Phlebas, and ends with an admonition: “Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.”

Here’s young, talented Chuck Berry (1926-2017) without a whiff of death.


Derek Walcott

Derek WalcottIt’s possible to respect an author’s work and be uncertain about his character.

It’s possible to continue producing while you’re uncertain about your own.

I mean, many of us try to be good people and we fail but we can still be good at what we do. No?

Cure for every disease except death

I’ll confess: I bought this panacea.

It was sold to me by a kid who couldn’t be more than eleven, who was holding down his parents’ store solo. He waived the taxes when I hesitated. So because of the irresistible advertising and my desire to encourage a young entrepreneur, I bit then I tasted (delish) and now I believe / it’ll do me some good.

Isn’t it energizing to choose against one’s cynicism?

Bluets, 2: Get Busy

I should mention that my copy of Bluets was given to me by Nelson super-adorer, Courtney Gustafson.

In email, “Mexican Candy,” Courtney writes one of the most super-adorery things that one can about a writer: “Maggie Nelson has the uncanny ability to have already written the thing that each of us is trying to write” (1). Works Cited list in progress.

So when I went to see Nelson a few weeks ago, I was literally co-first in line with Elizabeth Bachinsky (dear soul) to get books signed. I told Nelson about Courtney’s devotion/free promotion (reminiscent of the Patti Labelle “Sweet Potato Pie Pandemonium“) and I quoted the above “Mexican Candy” email and Nelson replied without indulgence, testing her black sharpie: “She should get busy then.”



Maggie Nelson's Bluets

I finished reading Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and when I looked up from the book there was a blue tarp covering a barbecue on the balcony of a neighbouring building.

I suppose the tarp has always been there. But today its corners are teased by the wind. It’s the only moving thing against concrete, glass, and grey sky.

In the distance, blue rips through the skysheet. Not light but blue.

Very rarely does a book change what you notice in the world by shifting into the foreground what was background.

Catch me outside, how ’bout that?

I’m friends with this great nineteen-year-old guy who effortlessly fills my life with memes that I miss, since I’m not on Facebook or Instagram and all. When we’re together I regress to my nineteen-year-old self, a self that I missed being because I was mostly reading  textbooks and trying to hustle forward or upward through life. Maybe I need to write a letter to that shadow.

All of that is by way of attribution for this video, phonetically, “Cash me outside, how bow tha?” Our protagonist is on Dr. Phil to discuss her out-of-control behaviour. Let’s listen in.

That clip has spawned many amusing, inventive responses, including this song, catchy enough to be a club hit.


At least once a day I want to say this to someone

And I come close to saying it too, without any desire or ulterior motive.

We should find other contexts to use the word ulterior apart from conjoined to motive. It’s such an underused but useful word. It points to a place both interior and exterior; it’s the concealed interior of the exterior.

If I were Joseph Conrad, I would have titled Heart of Darkness, which admittedly is a very marketable title, The Ulterior. 

You know I keep a list of words that I like in a file somewhere. Sometimes when in conversation I say to you, I like that word, I really mean, I like your face.