Update: Saint Petersburg, Self, S*x

It has been too long but in this time, I have been again to Saint Petersburg. I hoped, rather optimistically, to edit Birch in-situ, but instead spent time finding new ways of experiencing the city that informed most of my writing. I remember a moment of panic on the Sadovaya canal, the first morning I…

No justice in truth: My Name Is Revenge / Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Truth. History. Genocide. As an authority figure in Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s My Name is Revenge says, we know how “contentious various narratives can be.” These are the words of a principal to a student, young Vrezh, expelled soon after. Vrezh’s misdeed? He tried to bring to the attention of the school faculty events relating to…

By Any Other Name

On tentative little tiptoes I’m overjoyed to share that one of my weird short stories has been accepted for publication in a very cool (and meaningful) publication – but more to come about that later. It’s a precious ray of light in a year I keep euphemistically referring to as “challenging.” As part of the…

Pitching for writers: A personal post

I imagine it’s a bit like an audition for film role, a casting session, where all the potential actors size each other up in the waiting area. Ultimately they have the same aim, and they can’t all get the part. But they’ve been on a similar journey, fought the same or similar battles for recognition,…

Hunter Gather: Art and Writing

This is a different kind of post. I’ve been so focused on writing this year – finishing the first rewrite of Bury the Sun and applying for various unpublished manuscript opportunities for both Sun and Birch. I’ve been pushing myself guiltily into pursuing the first New Year’s resolution I’d ever made: planning to submit Birch…

Review: Salvage the Bones

The world is an ugly place at the moment. There seems to be hatred everywhere. I find myself needing to turn off the outside and find other worlds. I read.   This review of Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones may contain spoilers, but this is not a book of suspense. From the onset, it is clear something…

Review: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby

How have I never heard of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya before? Admittedly, my reading of contemporary Russian literature is dependent on the availability of English translations, since my Russian reading ability is torturously slow. The title of this collection of works appeared in my Goodreads suggestions: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s…

Not from this place

I’ve recently finished reading a book set in Saint Petersburg. I find I’m deliberately seeking out contemporary writing in this setting, partly as vicarious way to be back there. I won’t name the novel, but it left me disappointed. More than disappointed, I felt dismayed. What bothered me so much was that the concept of…

Apparently writing is only half the work

Half a month ago, on November 30, I listened to Walter Mason speak at Sutherland Library. I hadn’t heard Walter talk before… I must grudgingly admit that I was itching to get back to finishing the last 800 of my 50,000 NaNoWriMo words. I am so glad I didn’t slink away. Walter, author of the…