CanLit for Cynics: Revolutions by Alex Good and Searching for Petronius Totem by Peter Unwin

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THIS YEAR SHOULD HAVE been an auspicious one for CanLit. As Canada celebrates the sesquicentennial, it seems every newspaper, blog, and bookshop has a “top 150 Canadian books” list to push. Canada’s 150th also evokes fond memories of the 1967 centennial, when CanLit was just coming into its own. But for many, those 150 lists, chock full of CanLit luminaries like Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood, are hard to stomach right now.

Why I loved editing a small Canadian online magazine, and why I’m leaving

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I am shortly going to be leaving the team in my official capacity as editor. I do so with mixed feelings. Once upon a time, I honestly felt I could tackle any amount of work that was thrown at me. The days seemed elastic. I could stretch them at either end, conjuring up just enough minutes or hours to always get things done. But I don’t feel that way anymore. I am trying to figure out how big each relative part of me is, and how to accommodate them all within a finite body.

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Reading and writing: just a means of escape from the anxiety-inducing present?

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The first job I ever had in the Montreal region was at a company called Bath Fitter, aka Bain Magique, up beyond Laval in a town called Saint Eustache. As I listened to the explanation of the pension benefits that I was entitled to, a repeat of conversations I’d had with prior employers in Edmonton, it dawned on me: I’ve never cared about this conversation, I still don’t care, and I actually feel it’s OK to not care, because I have very little faith that, by the time my retirement rolls around, the world that we know – mortgages, insurance plans, “financial security” etc. – will exist.

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Head in the Gutter: A Profile of Comic Artist Avalon Moore

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Avalon Moore is a comics artist based out of Nova Scotia that is releasing a few pages of her graphic novel, Between, online every week. Eve Nixen sat down with Avalon to talk about the creative process, relationships and finishing projects, no matter how challenging they become.

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Art & Love & Geneviève Castrée

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Writing about my experience of someone else’s death feels like a million acupuncture needles at once—I know it’s serving some mysterious purpose, but it feels strange, surreal, selfish. I’ve decided to trust that it will do some good, and frankly, I don’t know what else to do.

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INSIGHT: Saying Yes

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I am bad at saying no. As part of a better-late-in-life-than-never self-improvement exercise, I try to turn down extra work—especially the non-paying variety.

So last summer, when Michelle Sylvestre of the Make A Wish Foundation phoned to tell me about a volunteer opportunity—Raphaëlla Vaillancourt, a young survivor of a life-threatening illness, wished to publish a book and needed mentoring—I referred Michelle to Lori Schubert at the Quebec Writers’ Federation.

A few days later, Lori contacted me. If the QWF could fund a mentorship for Raphaëlla, would I take the job?

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FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT: Gadfly at the Festival

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In the hospitality room at the Hôtel Gouverneurs in Trois-Rivières, you are greeted by two perky volunteers whose first question after introductions is: “Will you three be reading the French translations of your poems yourselves, or will you be requiring the services of a French reader?” Oh, my, you think. What translations? The hotel carpet begins to yaw under your chair. What was I thinking coming to a poetry festival in a city whose population is 97 percent French—without translations?

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From the Underground: A Writer’s Life with Zines

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I had tapped into a vibrant community of punk writers who crafted great stories and then cut and pasted their work together, photocopied it, and released it with no thought of gaining attention from the world of mainstream literature. These were my first literary heroes. In a time before our current memoir boom, they wrote honest and true stories full of grit and heart. Read more →