amongst books

amongst books

Monday, September 17, 2007

AIDSWALK Ottawa Writers & Friends - Sponsor/join team

the walk occurs this saturday, september 22 in the evening, leaving from Festival Plaza at about 7pm.

poets, fiction and non fiction writers and friends. every year members of Bywords and friends take to the streets as part of the AIDS Walk for Life to raise money and awareness for people with AIDS / HIV. Please join the team or make a pledge. for walkers and supporters from previous years, thanks so much for your support!

if you haven't registered or donated money for the walk and would like to, please go to, click on pledge, donate or register, sign up as a new walker and join the Ottawa Writers & Friends team. the team is walking to support the AIDS Committee of Ottawa.

it will be a party. we're going to make some noise and show people with AIDS/HIV that we care about them and raise awareness and funds in the process.

if you'd like more info, e-mail editor at bywords dot ca please. will be lovely to see you at the walk on saturday. thanks to those of you who are walking with or sponsoring our team or any other team.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ray Robertson at Plan 99 at the Manx Pub

Saturday afternoon. I really like this venue and this series. It’s at the right time for me, Saturday afternoons. Charles and I like to go early to get our favourite spot and drink a few pints beforehand. Today we watched a family chitchat over tea and lunch. They were playing Monopoly. The very young boy, probably about five or six, had a few Monopoly bills folded in his hand and said to his father, “here’s some money for the table.” Made me smile.

Ray Robertson is a South Western Ontario writer from Chatham, Ontario. “What Happened Later” (Thomas Allen Publishers, 2007) is his sixth book of fiction. He also has a collection of non-fiction essays on writers and writing and writes book reviews for the Globe and Mail.

I have to admit I had never heard of Robertson (see Charles' photo of him from the event), which is why I go to Plan 99 when I have the chance, to get exposure to folks I don’t know about. “What Happened Later” is in part a look at what happened to Jack Kerouac later in his life, after the success of “On the Road” combined with the story of a young South Western Ontario man, not accidentally named Ray. I enjoyed Robertson’s reading. The book sounds interesting with lots of humour and some darkness, always a good combination. A scene about receiving a French GI Joe for Christmas as a child was particularly amusing.

One of the reasons I went to the reading is because I’m a Keroauc enthusiast and have even written an erotic story that talks about him. So I’m curious as to how Robertson approaches Keroauc in his book as both a well-known literary figure and a fictional charcter. Where does he make stuff up and where does he use fact?

A lot of the stuff on Kerouac sounded like it had been well researched. Kinda cool to hear about Kerouac as a fictional character. The book takes us on Kerouac’s last road trip, to Riviere-du-Loup to connect with his French Canadian roots.

The book seems to be generating some buzz, perhaps especially because this year is the fiftieth anniversary of"On the Road." I’m looking forward to reading Robertson's book and plan to dip into some of his other books too.

Next up at Plan 99 is John Metcalf on September 29. He’s launching his book, “Shut up, he explained," which is part memoir, part travel book apparently (the only thing I could find out about it by googling as about the cover) Still it's John Metcalf and he's usually entertaining.

See you there.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Crushing on Troubled (and Hot) Existentialists

not blogging much right now, thanks to September (over)load...something to entertain you...

one of my favourite erotica writers, Anne Tourney has a fabulous post over at Lust Bites on
Being and Nakedness: Crushing on Troubled (and Hot) Existentialists

do we have any sexy brooding writers in Ottawa? do write in and don't limit your imagination to existentialists only, for heaven's sake.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

sex is shameful

did you know that? if you are polyamorous or if you enjoy a bdsm lifestyle you had better keep it to yourself. if you write about sex, you shouldn’t discuss it in polite company. there are places for that kind of writing. you know...those books.

this is what i’m contending with the ??? 21st Century. you can have your dirty little secrets. just don’t tell.


what happens when we cater to this kind of mentality? is the world a better place? do people who lead these lifestyles feel good about their place in society? does keeping sex private lead to a healthy attitude in people’s personal growth and identity?

don’t answer any of this. that would be indiscreet of you.

Alan Moore in his informative article on pornography disagrees:

“Sexual openness and cultural progress would seem pretty much to have walked hand in hand throughout the opening chapters of the human story in the West, and it wasn’t until the advent of Christianity, or more specifically of the apostle Paul, that anybody realized we should all be thoroughly ashamed of both our bodies and those processes relating to them.”

Is it still the 1800s when William Blake was persecuted for his sexually open writing?

I will continue to fight against the suppression of freedom of sexual expression in society.

I just wish more manifestos a la Alan Moore could be written. I’m so sick of the Victorians and Georgians dictating my rights and yours to express, communicate and learn about sex. It is a beautiful thing. It is the most intimate way of showing love and connection that exists. It is to be celebrated not treated as something ugly.

i feel quite icky right now. read Alan Moore’s article. it will make you feel better.

“In the end, it’s in the hands of individual people, individual artists, writers, film-makers or poets. If they have the nerve to plant their flags in this despised and dangerous terrain despite its uninviting nature, then in time the dismal wilderness might be transformed into a scented garden of enduring value. The erotic might be elevated from her current status as a hooker everyone keeps chained up in their cellar but nobody talks about, unmentionable but available, back to her previous position as a goddess.”