Monday, August 18, 2014

On Writing #37 : M.A.C. Farrant

Eternity Delayed
M.A.C. Farrant

It’s a different story this year.  You don’t run away from it.  You arrive on time for your annual deviation from the norm.  You are ready. 
           You have trained in the uses of the dream-catcher, as did Joseph Cornell.  But it’s taking a lot out of you.  It’s like being boxed with a stuffed canary, an hourglass, a piece of string, and a blue egg.  The air’s so rare.  Outside chatter has ceased to exist.      
          Even so, you are still basically an awkward kid.  Your visits to the desk are often noxious though, now and then, weak good-will flows your way.  Clich├ęs and money arrive unbidden.  This is health!
            Your only worry is whether or not your characters will show up for duty.  They seldom do.  You’ll be their stand-in again.
           Your only hope is that the word police will keep mountains from falling on your vigilance.  That people will think of champagne and Liza Minnelli when they read you.

M.A.C. Farrant is the author of over a dozen works of fiction, non-fiction, and memoir, including The Strange Truth About Us – A Novel of Absence, which was selected as a Globe & Mail Best Book for 2012, and the just released, The World Afloat- Miniatures, both from Talonbooks.  Her play, My Turquoise Years premiered with the Arts Club Theatre of Vancouver in 2013.  She writes reviews for the Vancouver Sun and the Globe & Mail.

She has taught writing at the University of Victoria, the Victoria School of Writing, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and was Writer-In-Residence at Macquarie University, Sydney Australia.

Monday, August 04, 2014

On Writing #36 : Gil McElroy

Building a Background
Gil McElroy


A normal reading of words offers, at best, timid glances down Newtonian successions of corridors. The cause-and-effect of letters and newspapers following  one upon the other is an idea devoted to reproduction (or to what exclamations really look like).

Handfuls of order are measured in such a way. We want a custodian, a hired perspective, lbs. of absolute and everlasting solidity. (Resilience is indeed considered a perfectly reasonable way to total ruin.)

In a place so organized, the container of traditional questions, answers, and achievements daily exemplified by names comes to seem incontrovertible.

But the membrane of metaphor is permeable. First of all, one must fit.


The present grammar has rocking chair meanings. The little maelstroms of poems wrinkle of conversation and the humpty-dumpty of things. Entire utterances devour the smaller things that move (the mere sensations of language, the unpointed vowels, the asylums of syllables...), swallowing each pregnant bulge of creatures.

This world is new and unalloyed, but in any geometry something is always given.

Here, it is in a diminishing that readers, all with parallax, have the anatomy to attack: a cone, the base of which is given to the more widely used dimensions, the apex a point somewhere sudden and intrusive amongst the very basic clumps correlated outside of the teeth* , letters typically and tightly buttoned by words.


Raw and quivering to the touch, these comparisons (so made) are invented in a manner I can only describe with all the inadequacy that words, sailing down without context, can imply: we write, posturing some arguable ideas; we read, embodying an upright condition.

We have these definitions retained in parallel, but we have the accidental in common (the same water of escape).

A stone can dive no deeper.

*Though the palate brings us their names.

Gil McElroy is a poet, visual artist, independent curator, and critic living in the village of Colborne, Ontario. He provided the introduction to Ground Rules: the best of the second decade of above/ground press, 2003-2013 (2013).