Writing about writing is too meta for me. Writers have been writing about writing forever, of course – it’s the ultimate in the “write what you know” school of writing (let’s see how many times I can, um, write this word in this missive) but it’s not one I subscribe to. Some of this kind of meta works: Doug Coupland’s The Gum Thief is a good example of an entertaining book about a writer writing a book. That Coupland also satirizes the process and the result in the same book – in a kind of book within a book (which means he has a writer writing about writing writing about writing) – probably enhanced the novel for me: I knew he was having fun poking fun at himself.
OK, enough with these elliptical sentences.
My book, Squishy, comes out soon. Next week hopefully. I say hopefully to acknowledge the vagaries of small press publishing and because it is a fervent wish: the book’s still at the printer. The book has no stories about writers writing. It has stories about would-be starlets and everyday people caught up with their own humiliations (meaning they could have been writers, I suppose – who knows humiliation more intimately than a writer, after all?). There are a lot of office folk in the book. So in this sense, I’m in the “write what you know” school.
My day so far: looking after my son after he had sprained his ankle. Walking to work – and as I write this I am once again thankful that I can say I walk to work. It’s a 10-minute walk. Lucky me. And then a meeting. With about 18 people. A short meeting but a meeting nonetheless. Is there anyone in the world who enjoys meetings? I think one of my characters asks that question in the book.
Squishy is a collection of 14 short stories. Some are set in Montreal (where I live); one is set in New York. One in LA. One in India. The rest are kind of placeless though if you read carefully enough, they are probably set in Montreal. One contains a rant about the highway between Toronto and Montreal, one of the world’s most boring expanses of asphalt.
Over the next two days, I’m going to be updating this blog – hey, look Ma, I’m blogging! – but a big theme, I can tell, will be this: anticipation. My book is launching on May 4 at Montreal’s Blue Met Literary Festival. And then there’s a reading with other Fiery First Fiction writers at the great Casa del Popolo on The Main just south of St. Joseph on May 5. I can’t wait to get this book out there. But first, I’d just settle for getting the darned thing in my hands. And then I’ll know it’s real.