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.


We now have a media page,  video and audio pages, an articles and interviews page, an updated news page, and the beginnings of a gallery. Thanks for your patience as I rebuild this site from ashes.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of Margaret Atwood and me from the Griffin Awards several years ago. I’ve never made it public. (Must you have everything?) It’s probably the most special literary photo to me. See my incredulous fingers on her shoulder? See her shoulder nudging my heart back where it belongs?

Ian Williams with Margaret Atwood at the Griffin Poetry Awards. This photo has been my wallpaper for years.

This photo has been my wallpaper for years.


I’m trying to figure out whether or not or how to upload years of blog posts back on this site after the most recent crash.

Some are lost forever. I’ve got back-ups of the older ones.