Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
|rob in New Orleans, photo by Stephen Brockwell|
To help us celebrate his birthday I asked Rob to do Seven of the Proust Questionnaire.
Here it is:
1.What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is the freedom to do those things I think I would like to and/or need to do. Basically, how I’m living now, I suppose (although less financial stress sure would be nice). Spending time with friends, and my daughter, occasionally. Writing full-time with my lovely. We make books, and make books happen.
2.What is your favourite virtue?
Honesty and/or loyalty.
3.What is your biggest weakness?
I sometimes feel battered around by the day-to-dayness of self-employed literary work more than I would like to. I require a thicker skin, perhaps.
4.Who are your favourite poets?
Hard to say, that. There are dozens of writers I attempt to follow regularly. Early on, writers such as Richard Brautigan, George Bowering, John Newlove, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and bpNichol were very important to me.
Lists are difficult, because there is always ten times the volume of such I know I’m leaving out. Perhaps I could focus what is scattered across my desk currently? These days, I’m excited by recent work by Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Barry McKinnon, Pattie McCarthy, David McGimpsey, Rae Armantrout, Barbara Langhorst, Deborah Poe, Monty Reid, Sarah Mangold and Heather Christle.
Just today, I received Jenna Butler’s second poetry collection. I’d been looking forward to that for a while. And Marcus McCann has something new this spring, which is exciting.
Sure would be nice to see a new book out by Sylvia Legris. Or, a first trade collection by, say, Amanda Earl or Trisia Eddy.
5.Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?
Hah. Again, difficult to say. I do not like James II of England. I blame him for much, including the massacre at Glencoe and a battle in Ireland. Damn fool, him.
Simon Fraser was pretty interesting. David Thompson. The history of the exploration and mapping of the Canadian West is fascinating. Oh, and Sir Isaac Brock. He quickly took two American forts before their leaders knew the War of 1812 had even begun. Take that, invaders.
6. What do you most dislike?
Anyone too caught up in themselves.
Government hypocrisy, including the current federal leadership, who originally ran (very holier-than-thou) on a promise of honesty and transparency. Self-destructiveness re: environmental policies and reproductive issues. Every human being deserves a base level of respect, no matter who they are or what they believe.
At the same time, I would think this should be something book reviewers should also be aware of. Every book and their author deserves the same, a base level of respect. No matter what the reviewer might think of such.
I also dislike when the mailman changes his schedule. Throws off my whole day.
7. What is your motto?
Not sure I have one. But I do try to push myself pretty regularly to see what I didn’t know I could do. Life without a certain amount of risk, both as writer/creator and simply a person, doesn’t seem to have much point.
For a few years, I’ve been borrowing jwcurry’s “motto” (for lack of better terminology) about what his biggest goal as a writer/person/etc. is, and that is, to “remain interested.”
Monday, March 5, 2012
What is your idea of happiness?
You mean—other than a good, dark chocolate fondue? Peace of mind. I love long mornings of puttering, writing, and virtual connections. Also, poetry—its arrival, the rewriting, and sharing with friends.
What is your favourite virtue?
Honesty, I like to think. We sully ourselves if we are deceitful. (Creative thinking can keep us honest.)
What is your biggest weakness?
The ‘see-food’ diet. I regret that, often, positive thoughts that I feel in my heart don’t spring to my tongue. I may find it hard to forgive meanness. I might be passive-aggressive. (Is that so wrong?)
Who are your favourite poets?
Dickinson and Frost. I must ‘make room for Rumi’, consider Hopkins, and many more from the past and present. Generally, I prefer contemporary minimalists—or poets who write simply, for example, Wislawa Szymborska. I just came to know of her, since she passed away.
Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?
Dr. Joseph Workman, the Father of Canadian Psychiatry. Albert Schweitzer. Emily Dickinson. Emily was light years ahead of her time. In her writing she used symbols—for example long dashes, upward and downward—for which we still have no equivalent. (Would slashes, forward and backward, do the same work?)
What do you most dislike?
Dishonesty. No, a lack of charity. (Oops, message to myself.)
What is your motto?
I’m an unrelenting optimist, an ‘optometrist—I look on the bright side’. I’m either an optimist or a fool. Oh dear, I feel like a Pisces—swimming in opposite directions.
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