For the literalists

What you’re seeing here is a literal launch of Reproduction. The host, Aaron Rabinowitz, fashioned a cereal box into my book, hooked it up to a contraption, and launched it into the balcony.

In his words, It was for anyone who showed up expecting a literal launch.

CBC is playing a lot of Dolly Parton today

Here’s what I heard from host Raina Douris about Dolly Parton but you can’t tell anybody, okay?

Apparently, Dolly’s husband was spending a lot of time at the bank and Dolly discovered that it was because a new pretty bank teller was working there. Dolly was worried but she had to keep working, hard-working gal that she is.

So Dolly was playing a concert and afterwards this adorable young girl with red hair and bright eyes was waiting backstage for her to autograph something. Dolly melted.

What’s your name? she asked.

Jolene, the girl said.

Pretty name like that should be in a song. I’m gonna write a song.

And that’s how Dolly came to write the song, “Jolene,” using the girl’s name but sending a message to the pretty bank teller whom her husband was visiting. It’s one of her most covered songs. An absolute knock-out.

Only a Visitor

I tend to ambivalent about live music because I need the environment (volume, room temperature, personal-space protections) to be just right before I can enjoy it. That fussiness is probably the result of experiencing music as recordings in sanitized conditions through headphones or in my car. Most people get their music this way.

Yesterday I went with Tariq to hear Only a Visitor play live. Never heard of them. I had no idea what to expect. The five of them walked on stage in the dark then the lead singer, Robyn Jacob, pursed her lips and played a snaky hook. By 0:51 I was like a kid listening to his favourite Sesame Street song. Their music crosses jazz with art song with pop with children’s educational programming with a Canada Council grant.

And what a dope name for a Vancouver singer/songwriter, especially in our Truth and Reconciliation times: “Good night, everybody. I’m only a visitor.”

Reproduction 4: Lag

I had an interview with one David Chau of Georgia Strait today. It probably won’t run for a while; there’s a lag between the doing of a thing and the appearance of a thing. Unless it’s live. Consider: between the signing and the launch of a book is a small eternity of two years.

Good conversation with the Strait man. We talked for a few hours. All those words will get reduced to a column of print. And the reporter will probably cut out the parts about the weirdness of touching meat, whether velvet should be worn, the double narrative our society gives us about contentment and ambition, floral prints, caffeine, age guessing-games, choosing books over movies.

The sad part about interviews is that the interviewer cuts himself out, leaving the subject alone. Why is writing so solitary?

Government cheese in a van down by the river

One of my favourite Saturday Night Live skits is Chris Farley as Matt Foley, the motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river.

At 3:03, Chris Farley/Matt asks, “Now, young man, what do you want to do with your life?”

And young David Spade replies, “Actually, Matt, I kinda want to be a writer.”

Here’s a cautionary tale.

Things could be worse for both of us, uh?

Reproduction 3: Cover poll

What jumps out when you look at the cover of Reproduction? Rotate it to be sure.

Some folks at Random House were saying that the cover looks like (b) a clutch purse and now I can’t unsee that!

Read it for fun, buy it for fashion?

My friends Tariq and Aaron, who are constantly punning, would say
(get ready to groan), It’s READy to wear.

Reproduction 2: Launch

Please come to one of these launches if you can, or send your clone, ambassador, proxy, puppet, first born.

Thursday January 24, 6-8 p.m.
Vancouver Film School Café, 390 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Book dealer, supplier, pusher: Massy Books

With Canisia Lubrin
Tuesday January 29, 2019, 7-9 p.m.
Another Story Bookshop, 315 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto

Reproduction 1: My kid

Reproduction is the closest thing I have to a kid.

I do have a niece, a nephew, and godchildren I love. But there was no pain on my end involved in their births.

It’s your first time meeting her but she’s actually six years old and ready to start kindergarten. It was hard to let her go but I’m not a home-school kind of dad and I believe that the people who surround her now as she leaves my care will not do her any violence. This is beginning to sound like a prayer.

Say hi to:

Felicia    Edgar    Army

Oliver      Heather      Hendrix  

Riot     Skinnyboywhoflickshairoutofhiseyes     Faye    

More on the Random House site