Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I don't know if I'm supposed to describe anything on these or not. A shot of my desk, and you can see the original painting for the cover of my first book on the wall. I looked at that the whole time I worked on that book.

The other one shows the general state of the room, which has become a sort of storage space for all of the band things as well. some boxes of cds, tshirts, instruments, etc.

When I'm in full writing mode, my laptop would be smack in the middle of that desk. and I'd like to say that the desk would be less messy, but probably it wouldn't be. I have a bunch of random notebooks that I jot things down in when I'm out and about. and they're always scattered around. When I don't have a notebook, I use a lot of scrap pieces of paper. And then they stay on the desk, too, until they are used.

Chris Eaton for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

CHRIS EATON Chris Eaton is a writer and musician. He is rarely witty.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book, or when are you publishing your next?

CE I started writing in grade 5. I used to write a "novel" every week. Probably 10 to 20 pages. And then I was allowed to read them in class. First actual book I wrote was in grade 10. I probably wrote one a year in high school, and recently destroyed the last one I found. Embarrassingly bad, but helped me establish some kind of routine and the ability to write fiction while doing a ton of other things, which I continue to this day.

Then I stopped writing in university for some reason, and only got back into it around 2001. Never really had interest in writing short stories. First published novel was The Inactivist in 2003. The Grammar Architect came out in 2005 or 2006. And I'm working on this new book now, hoping to find some time to finish it in 2009.

DS Where do write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

CE I write pretty much anywhere I can find time, but I like to be in the same places as much as possible. I wake up pretty early, so while we've been touring, I've been trying to write in the morning before the rest of the band wakes up. It's not working so well, though. My favourite, most productive place I ever wrote in was the research library in the Parc d'Omar in Panama City, where I started the book I'm working on now. Two years ago. I walked there every day for four months through a neighbourhood of embassies, past the old abandoned home of Noriega, making friends with the wife of an ex-presidential candidate, taking photos of exotic flowers and often meeting up with the same monkey on a telephone wire.

Outside is hard with a laptop. But sometimes i still write longhand like that.

And you gotta keep your writing out of the bed. It will ruin everything else you do there. Work and bed do not mix.

DS Why do you work where you do (at you desk because it is quiet/outside because it helps you think/in the park because you can smoke, etc)?

CE Oh, I think I hit this already.

DS What are you working on now?

CE I'm trying to write a really long novel about identity and coincidence and a lot of other things. How we become who are. The things that define who we are. Hoping to create a compelling flow to it that isn't reliant on a linear plot, instead creating the illusion of that through the stories of 25 independent characters with the same name. It's a theory I've been working with for years, at least in my head, that coincidental similarities and the repetition of key imagery creates a sort of "potential meaning", in the same way you may have learned about potential and kinetic energy in high school physics. "Potential meaning" involves the reader a lot more, I think. It's just there, waiting for the reader to carom it into some new direction. nnn

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE: Chris Eaton

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Nigel Beale for DESK SPACE


NIGEL BEALE Motivated by an insane, deep-seated love of books, Nigel Beale has, during the past several years, traveled the globe interviewing an impressive selection of award-winning authors and accomplished booksellers, publishers, collectors and book experts for a radio program he hosts called The Biblio File. Based in Ottawa, Canada, he is a freelance writer/broadcaster who specializes in literary journalism.

DS When did you start writing?

NB At age 2-3, in crayon, on the walls of my father's study. It got noticed.

Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

NB I write in all sorts of places. In notebooks in longhand, at coffee shops, in my living room, at art galleries, in theatres and barber shops, walking dark alleys, in airports, on airplanes, in vitro, in name it.

Once I've got it scrawled on the page, I type it out, in Word, on the computer, and in the process edit it.

DS Why do you work where you do (at you desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think, in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

NB I work at my desk largely because it is surrounded by several bookshelves full of literary criticism.

DS What are you working on now?

NB Quite a range of things. I'm doing some preparatory reading for author interviews to be conducted during The Ottawa International Writers and Toronto Harbourfront Authors Festivals in October, a review of the Turner retrospective currently on at the Met in New York for Border Crossings magazine, and a variety of other deeply rewarding, very poorly paid projects. I also have a novel, mostly finished, that sits up in the attic, wailing occasionally for attention.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Lauren Kirshner for DESK SPACE


LAUREN KIRSHNER Lauren Kirshner, novelist, poet, author of Where We Have to Go, forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart in April 2009.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

LK I started writing when I was about 11. I wrote a poem about a man who falls in love his neighbour who looks just like Marlene Dietrich. When I transitioned into writing about gerbils and families my parents seemed relieved.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

LK I write at my desk, which is in my bedroom, or I sit in my pink armchair. I live above a restaurant on a busy street so there's always ambient noise. I sometimes enjoy it, especially the sound of the streetcar when it's raining. I have three cats and there's usually one bouncing off a chair or a wall so I'm never at a loss for stimulation. I wish my desk was more interesting, something along the lines of David McGimpsey's. Right now it's an Ikea slab I got for free from someone who suddenly left the country.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think, in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

LK I work at my desk because I like the routine and quiet. If I go to a cafe, I usually end up watching people and feeling urgently social.

DS What are you working on now?

LK I'm editing my novel and fiddling here and there with an untitled collection of poems about zoos. In the winter, I'll begin working on the creative writing curriculum for The I Live Here Foundation's education program, which builds artistic opportunities for vulnerable youth around the world.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE: Lauren Kirshner

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Nathan Whitlock for DESK SPACE


NATHAN WHITLOCK Me. Nathan Whitlock, author of A Week of This (ECW Press).

DS When did you start writing?

NW I started writing with some aim of eventually becoming a “writer” when I realized I didn’t have the makings of a professional musician – couldn’t stand being around the same group of people (or any group of people) for extended periods of time. 16? 17? Though I don’t think I did it with any kind of intensity until my son was born, ten years ago. That was a kick in the ass and prioritizer. Still took me ten years to get an actual book out, though.

DS Where do you write?

NW I write on scraps of paper and in notebooks wherever I am. When I have a critical mass of those scraps, I type it all onto the computer you see here and try to give it some sense of order.

I wrote most of my first book and dozens of short stories right onto the computer, but I am realizing more and more that seeing it all neat in Times Roman inhibits me a little, makes me think “good draft” when I should be just getting it all in first and worrying about cleaning it up later.

DS Why do you work where you do?

NW My desk is the only spot in the house that is more than 75% mine. I also have a window that looks onto Lansdowne so I can spy on people if I get bored. The sound gets funneled up to where I am, and there’s a fight – verbal, usually, but not always – every other day it feels like.

My first novel I wrote in the basement of an apartment, between the furnace and a brick wall, so this feels like paradise. Note the light coming in the window and death just over my shoulder, which is as it should be.

DS What are you working on now?

NW Mostly hack work – reviews, articles, etc. I’m trying to revive a short story I left for dead a long time ago, and I’m also picking away at my second novel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coming up

Thursday on DESK SPACE: Nathan Whitlock

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Nathaniel G. Moore for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

NATHANIEL G. MOORE I am Nathaniel G. Moore. I'm a pretty serious person. Nathaniel sat under a fig tree and had the confessions of faith in the bible. It was about the existence of Jesus. Personally, I like the Faith album (Columbia, 1987). I am often called Nathan, which I loathe. He was a much bigger star in the bible, but they are two completely different biblical entities. We are often confused. I also like to make videos and cook mussels.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

NGM I published my first book in 2005. It was meant to be a comedy. It was Bowlbrawl. At press time I am an unrestricted free agent, though I do expect either a fiction or poetry collection to be signed soon. My most recent book is Let's Pretend We Never Met, which was a romantic comedy pertaining to Catullus and I. I am also writing "The Macho Girls", which is a BravoFact that Geoffrey Pugen is directing. The film is visually based on my retrosexual Randy Savage fetish and my birthday party. It's about the gas crisis though, and some sort of grass roots fuel heist caper. Publishing writing via television is a lot different because you are even more invisible than a regular strength Canadian small press career. I also have to write something for a discussion at Word on the Street called "Are We Awful?" Serious stuff.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

NGM I write usually at OCAD in the library on the library's computers. Or on the 3rd floor. I don't go there or anything. I just have people's passwords.

DS Why do you work where you do?

NGM The computer's at OCAD are wicked fast. The Broken Pencil office is wicked small. And the computer is slow. And the interns are always doing cart wheels in the hallways (Descant's interns) so it's very distracting. It's at the George Brown house. Have I said too much? Is this thing on? I also go to the Toronto reference library and guard my book. I like the resources there, and the fountain. I like the big tables. I'm sort of a nomad. Sometimes I write outside, but I don't like to be around people. Especially if I know who they are or they know me.

DS What are you working on now?

NGM Danforth Review and Broken Pencil take up most of my conscious time. I have a poetry collection called "Poltergeist" which I am nearly done. It's done, basically. It's based on this morning I had in Brooklyn, Ontario watching this German mother feed her kid a hard boiled egg. The night before she was wearing a black and white dress and I told her that her dress should be called Poltergeist. She didn't run away screaming, so I felt as thought that is a good sign, and it might be an okay book. I'm also nearly done a book of short fiction which is like a greatest hits collection because a lot of the stories are old. These are all being remixed. The collection is called "Legends of Welfare" and combines my insane version of humour with my deranged version of erotica with a bit of capitalism, poverty fetish, sea food and Paul Martin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming up

Thursday on DESK SPACE: Nathaniel G. Moore

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Stacey May Fowles for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

STACEY MAY FOWLES Stacey May Fowles is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, a teen magazine publisher, a loose tea aficionado, and a mildly neurotic geek. She's not on facebook and never will be.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

SMF I've been writing stories since I was in kindergarten, and while I'm sure they were "cute," they were likely never any good (although I'm sure my Mom would argue.) A bulk of the things I wrote in high school were horrifyingly bad and mostly about the sex I wasn't having. I published my first short story (which was not about sex) in a literary journal in 2003, and my first novel, Be Good (which is about sex), last fall.

My next book is an illustrated novel called Fear of Fighting that I collaborated on with artist and genius Marlena Zuber. It comes out this October.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

SMF I do my very best to sit down at my desk in my office and write there, but ever since January when I got all four of my impacted wisdom teeth out at once and was stuck in bed on Percocet for a week, I've developed this nasty habit of bringing the laptop to bed. In fact, I'm writing the answers to these questions to you from my bed right now.

When I was writing Fear of Fighting I wrote almost exclusively at various coffee shops because for whatever reason nothing was happening for me while I was at home. Every day it was an earl grey tea, a sesame bagel with cream cheese, and a goal of 1500 words. The key is finding a group of coffee shops that will let you stay there for hours on a five dollar tea and bagel tab, and then staggering them throughout the work week.

More and more I'm trying to be a "grown up writer" and make the office space work for me. At home right now we're on this kick where we're strict about our "zones"; we both do work at home so we feel it's important to have a space reserved for for work, a space for eating, a space for sleeping, a space for tv watching, etc. It's supposed to improve our collective mental health and is all very well intentioned, but every so often I just want to have the luxury of an entire workday from bed. What good is working from home if you can't at least have the occasional horizontal workday? I mean, most of the 9-5 world thinks that people who work from home are "not really working" anyway. That's probably why I get so many midday calls to go for martini lunches.

DS Why do you work where you do?

SMF I'm a bit of a hoarder and I'm always surrounded by notes, magazines, books, and whatever stuff I happen to be buying off ebay, so having a dedicated home office space is kind of like having a teen girl bedroom all over again (hence the autographed framed photo of Kelly Clarkson on my desk - that was a gift from the editor of Shameless). Also, having a room for my organized chaos and strange collections is a really easy way not to piss off the (very minimalist, methodical, neat and tidy) person I live with.

I've never really needed quiet to write - I've always been the kind of writer who listens to loud music and can easily write in public, so being alone in a home office all day can actually be a bit of a challenge. That and there's always a household task that needs to be done outside the office door. I think that's why the coffee shop becomes a necessity. It's such a cliche - "look at me, I'm a real writer because I'm writing in public!" But I think sometimes when the dishes pile up and the laundry needs to be done, it's completely necessary to get out of your own mess and into someone else's to get any work done.

DS What are you working on now?

SMF I'm currently editing an anthology of non-fiction essays affiliated with Shameless Magazine that's due out in the spring, and I'm considering expanding the play I wrote based on Fear of Fighting to a full length production. I'll also be working on messing up my desk again, as admittedly I tidied it up for this photo.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coming Up

This week on Desk Space

Thursday: Stacey May Fowles

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer for DESK SPACE


KATHRYN KUITENBROUWER Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. I write novels and short stories, am the magazine editor for, teach at the University of Toronto, write reviews for various publications including the Globe and Mail. I live in High Park.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book or when are you publishing your next?

KK I don’t remember when I started writing, but was certainly writing storybooks by kindergarten and grade one. Clowns featured.
Way Up, a collection of stories was published in 2003. A novel, The Nettle Spinner was published in 2005. My second novel Perfecting will be published in the spring of 2009.

DS Where do write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

KK I wrote at my desk with a kind of monastic routine until my chair broke and I bought one of those kneeling prayer chairs (thinking it might help) but I hate the damn thing as it requires abdominal muscles. Now I can’t bear the space at all so I write on a laptop at the dining room table, amidst the vile cutlery and soiled plates or, channeling Colette, who wrote in bed, on the couch under a boiled wool blanket, which incidentally can induce severe lower back strain. I suppose I ought to go out and buy a new chair at some point, but the thing cost a pretty penny and I feel lousy about wasting the money.

DS Why you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think or in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

KK It’s that damn chair, again. I feel terribly guilty about it all. My husband built a mantle around the fireplace in my office and beautiful built-in bookshelves. The room is insulated with a double row of books on the exterior wall, so quite cosy. There is a lovely Persian carpet in the room, as well as art by Scott Griffin and Holly Farrell (they actually have a show together upcoming in Seattle). The room is my sanctuary, mired only by the presence of that nasty chair. So, I work where I work by default, by guilty necessity.

DS What are you working on now?

KK I am manically rewriting the opening bits to my new novel, Perfecting:

“Thirty years had passed by and the last six were droughted. Martha walked the Pecos River determined, and when she came at it, she skirted the prickly pear, grabbed weeping willow boughs here and there for stability. She was a beauty, had on handmade ropers people here could not afford. Black horse leather boots that would make anyone look cowboy. She had sweet hips, hair cut straight, a bob, no bangs, and dyed black. Hips to dare touch. Black jeans, black eyelet shirt. The river was but a thin wet meander cleaving desiccated banks, down to a trickle in most places, and where it ran strong, it still couldn’t be called a river much. But they called it that, holding onto hope, while north and south, good neighbours squabbled over who got what water. The land around was a red-skinned beauty, too, with hips to make a man cry or dare to touch.”

Monday, November 3, 2008


Jacob McArthur Mooney for DESK SPACE

Okay, so this is sort of a bad time for me to do DESK SPACE, as I am travelling, am presently at an art retreat, and have no digital camera. What I do have is Google Images Search, and a word processor which with to narrate my findings thereon. Get it? Okay, here goes.

a. Bed

So I like to do most of my writing in bed, rather than at a desk. I have a desk, but it tends to be relegated to uses peripheral to writing (storage, food consumption, etc). My ideal way of using the bed is to pull off every scrap of blanket and pile it all in one corner, then sort of sit/lean against the pile. This is bad for my back and can cause insomnia. What I really need is a Chaise Lounge. The bed in the picture has a woman jumping on it. This is because I found the picture in a Japanese catalogue. If you jump on my bed, it will break. It’s old.

b. Notebook

I had to go find the exact notebook I use because everyone else should use it as well. It’s the one that’s open in the corner of this picture. It’s made of faux leather and smells like grandfathers. It’s made by a company called Spicebox. I would gladly act in their commercials free of charge. If you use these, everything you write will look better.

c. Laptop

I bought this laptop direct from Acer for only $400 last September. NEVER BUY A LAPTOP FOR $400.

d. Puppy Dog

My puppy dog is incredibly important to my artistic process. Officially, he lives with his grandma, but I take over full dog responsibilities when I come visit. He looks a little like this dog except more bad-ass and less “milkin’ it for the camera.” If any new parents wish to raise themselves a writer (and I recommend you think that over for awhile before committing), go buy him or her and puppy, and make them take it for long walks in a land with a long history. Ideas will begin to emerge.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE

Tuesday: Jacob McArthur Mooney

Thursday: Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Brian Joseph Davis for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

BRIAN JOSEPH DAVIS Brian Joseph Davis, Italian Disco producer

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

BJD I have to move to California for a couple of months to research my next book so I'm putting it off as long as possible.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

BJD I write in incomprehensible longhand sitting at the kitchen table then retype at the computer.

DS What are you working on now?

BJD Literally just now: An interview with the woman who pretended to be JT Leroy. Also, making a playable instrument out of 20 TV sets and DVD players and somehow getting it to both Vancouver and New York.

Monday, October 27, 2008


The painting to the right of my desk is by Natalka Husar, titled Odalisque. To the right is an oil sketch by Rob, my partner. It`s the view in a mirror ball of our last house.

The table beside the red velvet chair holds the books I`ll be reading next. The wooden mango was brought back from West Africa by a friend who lived there for several years.

The buddha head. No other knick-knacks allowed here. Clean. Tidy. A spot to rest my eyes. The weaving below the head is also from West Africa.

The windowsill holds mainly gifts. Faux fruit, a bottle of ouzo, from friends, and clay crafts made by our daughter. Also an assortment of stones. And a postcard from a friend who visited the Museum of Purses and Handbags in Amsterdam.

My bookshelves contain (besides books): Venetian masks, handbags, a photograph of the woods at St. Peter`s Abbey in Saskatchewan, bird nests, shells, some of my doodles and other odds and ends.

Shawna Lemay for DESK SPACE


SHAWNA LEMAY Shawna Lemay: forges, forages.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

SL My first book (All the God-Sized Fruit) came out in 1999. My next book is called Calm Things - a book of essays about living with still life. (My partner is Robert Lemay, a visual artist, still life painter). It's coming out with Palimpsest Press in October 2008. Soon! After that, I have a book of poetry, Red Velvet Forest, coming out with The Muses Company in the spring of 2009.

DS Where do write (at your desk/outside/in bed)

SL When I write in my notebook, I sit in my decrepit red velvet chair. It`s suitably uncomfortable and yet comforting. I move to my desk when I`m working on my computer. It`s good to have the window to stare out of. At the moment the neighbour`s tree is full of apples.

DS Why you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think/in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

SL My room is my nest, my hive, meticulously arranged to induce daydreams. It is where, as Rilke said, I may be magnificently alone. Maybe too, it is because I am able to listen to those things which are insignifcant here. From Bachelard: ``No doubt, one would have to sink into profound daydreaming to be moved by the vast museum of insignificant things.` Maybe I have been influenced by my study of still life, by my everyday exposure to still life, in my arrangement of things in this room. Maybe the arrangement of things, knick-knacks, is more haphazard.

DS What are you working on now?

SL I`m writing about the possibility of a woman art forger, about the belief in this possibility. I`m interested in anonymity, hidden-ness, how we see, what remains invisible. I`m interested in suspicion, confessions, lies, obfuscation. I`m interested in belief. Not to mention fakery, forgery, mystification, shams, scams, hoaxes, greed, hunger. I`m interested in what is real and honest. I`m moving back and forth between fiction and creative non-fiction. It`s quite likely that I`ll never quite finish this piece and I`m not sure that I want to. It`s the most satisfying thing I`ve ever written, a most satisfying place to hide.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Coming Up

This Week on DESK SPACE

Tuesday: Shawna Lemay
Thursday: Brian Joseph Davis

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Dani Couture for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

DANI COUTURE Writer, small space expert, and animal effigist.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

DC I started writing in the backseat of my parent's pickup truck. As a military family, we spent many hours on the road, so I had a lot of time to read. The more I read, the more I wanted to write. My first book, "Good Meat," was published by Pedlar Press in 2006, and I have a second collection of poetry, "The Handbook," forthcoming from Pedlar.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

DC I write on my couch, which is really a loveseat, with my feet up on the coffee table.

DS Why do you work where you do?

DC Even though I live in a bachelor apartment that doesn't have enough room for a desk, I prefer to write at home. I've discovered creative ways to store my books and papers, and I have a large bank of south-facing windows that makes all the difference.

DS What are you working on now?

DC I'm working on a novel, tentatively titled "Black Bear on Water."

Monday, October 20, 2008


Chris Banks for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

Chris Banks Chris Banks is a Waterloo poet and high school creative writing teacher which esentially involves being a life coach for angry disenfranchised teens who wear black and tend to like books more than people.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

CB I started writing poems in highschool when I was sixteen after my teacher Mrs. Tetzner introduced me to some poems by Earle Birney and Al Purdy. I wrote my first poems in school hallways and friends’ bedroom walls but never at a desk. Next, I went to university and began writing poems at a desk and reading poems in tiny bars. Some years later, I wrote two poetry books Bonfires and The Cold Panes of Surfaces on a white Ikea pressboard desk that was totally falling apart and which I had to eventually throw away last year. Poor little desk. I miss you.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

CB I now write at a much bigger desk in a small room of my new house deep in the heart of the suburbs. I call my writing space “The laboratory”. Some poets have writing studios. I have a laboratory.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think, in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

CB For me, I need a quiet area to do any kind of imaginative writing which is why I like having my work space separate from other rooms. I also like to surround myself with things I like. Beside my desk, I keep a bookcase full of poetry and essay collections within easy reach. Above my computer sits a bulletin board where I have stuck an assortment of little mementos: photos of poets I admire; the poem “To The Shade of Po Chu-I” by William Carlos Williams; a photo of my wife and I camping in Muskoka; a photo of two porcelain monks I wrote a poem about for my last book; a quote by Auden I really like; a Buddhist cartoon illustrating the Five Hindrances; and lastly, an essay by the American poet Gregory Orr about the making of poems. On my other wall, I also have a framed broadsheet “On Poetry & Craft” by Theodore Roethke which was printed by Copper Canyon Press. It too reminds me everyday what it takes to write poems.

DS What are you working on now?

CB I’m working on a new manuscript of poems and I am about a third of the way through it. So far, it is a hodge-podge of long rambling meditations and lyrics which try to find some middle ground between the spiritual and the corporeal with an added dash of blank verse and syllabics thrown into the mix.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE

Tuesday: Chris Banks
Thursday: Dani Couture

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Elizabeth Bachinsky for DESK SPACE


ELIZABETH BACHINSKY Elizabeth Bachinsky, poet.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

EB I’ve always written—that is, as a kid and a teenager I wrote—but I started publishing in literary journals when I was 24. I was 29 when my first book, Curio, came out with BookThug (2005). I have two other books. Both are published with Nightwood Editions. There’s Home of Sudden Service (2006) and God of Missed Connections (Spring, 2009). I’m at work on another book that might be called Infidel. But that one won’t be done for a while yet. I’m 32.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

EB I share a one-room studio in Vancouver with my husband, so, whenever I get the place to myself, I work there on my desktop. I also work on my laptop in the café downstairs where they make good coffee and leave me pretty much to myself. I also seem to do a lot of house sitting and travelling these days, so I write a lot in other people’s spaces and in hotel rooms or wherever.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think, in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

EB This question makes me want to smoke. I may have to hike into town and get a pack of cigarettes now. And then I’ll want to take my computer outside on the deck, work out there, and smoke. Right now I’m in a cabin on the Sunshine Coast. I came up here to finish God of Missed Connections, which I delivered to my editor yesterday. So now I’m just kind of reeling around trying not to be nervous about it. I’m also trying not to smoke.

DS What are you working on now?

EB Poems. An introduction for a friend’s new book. A short story. More poems.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Week on DESK SPACE

Coming up on DESK SPACE

Thursday: Elizabeth Bachinsky

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Andrew Hood for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

ANDREW HOOD Andrew Hood: ditherer/short story plugger-awayer-ater.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

AH I've been up to it since I thought I could impress my older brother by writing (so, what: 12 or 13?) and Pardon Our Monsters came out Fall 2007, dedicated to the lovable lummox even. My next submission to "heaven's unchangeable heart" will come out when I get my act together.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

AH The lion's share of the "work" (in person, I'd wryly make a "tossing-off" gesture here) has to be done anywhere but at my desk, so at my kitchen table, or in coffee shops (either the Red Brick Café or the Corner Stone in Guelph), or in bars (The Woolwich Arms in Guelph and Dieu du Ciel in Montreal). Only the most final of final drafts seems to get done at my desk, which can sometimes make me feel like I'm being kept in during recess writing out lines of "I will not… in class." I can't really write-write at my computer, only arrange and gerrymander there, I guess.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think/in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

AP Apart from the respective vices available there, probably I work best in cafés and bars because with strangers ostensibly watching you and wondering what you're writing exactly, you've got to keep your head down and your pen to paper—there's just no opportunity for dicking around or stroking your chin contemplatively in that situation, you know. But at home and at the desk, the smaller and more cramped the space the better. In this way I seem to be slightly autistic: I need to be hemmed-in when I do what it is that I supposedly do. A few weeks ago I was over for dinner at a friend's house and she's got this awesome two-year-old, and this kid's got his own little fort made out of a refrigerator box right there in the living room (there's a little pot in the window for flowers and everything). I saw that and I thought, Now that's the kind of office I need. Or maybe I actually said it out loud. (The kid's not autistic, by the way. He's just understands the benefits of having a home inside a home.)

DS What are you working on now?

AH I'm writing stories for a collection called Traps and Attractions while glacially working away on a book structurally akin to somewhere between Who Do You Think You Are? and Go Down, Moses about the "Canadian Condition" (toss-off gesture here, too), tracing the downfall of a Scottish lineage from the doomed settlement of New Caledonia to the moon landing, with some Mennonites, two-headed horses, and country fairs dappled throughout.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Nick Thran for DESK SPACE
A Poem

Desk Space

after Tomaz Salamun

I have a computer. My computer hurts my eyes.
I have a fan. When I turn on my fan there is wind.
I have a painting by my sister of the human heart.
My sister works two jobs because her landlord doesn’t charge
the same rent anymore.
I have a poem by Mark Strand. “Black Sea” is a wonderful poem!
I have a telephone. The captain has called me to say that I’ve won a free cruise.
I have a cup of coffee. My coffee is always finished too soon.
I have an orange chair. My orange chair is covered with clothes.
I have a dictionary. I look up the word pusillanimous.
I have a radio. My radio does not dream.
I have a letter from Darren. It’s nice to get letters from Darren!
I have a book by Philip Gourevitch.
If I take it with me to read in bed then I will not fall asleep.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The desk was my friend Melinda's until she got pregnant and needed the space for a crib (she didn't stop writing, just bought a smaller desk). The silver lamp belonged to my friend Penny until her cat took a violent disliking to it. The orange vase was my mother's until she took a disliking to it. Taped to the wall is the poem, "The Flying Woman" by Leon Rooke that he emailed me, and a bird painted on a leaf that my my brother sent me from India. The Talouse-Lautrec barroom mirror, I got for 50 cents at a church rummage sale when I was in grade school. Depending in what you believe, my workspace is filled with either good energy or nicer things than I would've bought for myself. Either way, I like it.

Rebecca Rosenblum for DESK SPACE


Rebecca Rosenblum Rebecca Rosenblum--short story writer, author of *Once*, poor chess player, reasonably good driver.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

RR My first book comes out in two days, or is sort of already out, I guess, in select stores and in my living room. The first thing I ever published was the introduction to the "Clubs and Organizations" section of my grade 11 yearbook. It was a meditation on how weird homonyms are, how a club can be both a convivial gathering of like-minded people, and something you can hit someone with.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

RR At my desk, mainly. Sometimes in coffee shops, libraries, or restaurants. In a pinch, at someone else's desk.

DS Why do you work where you do?

RR I'm not terribly fussed about where I work as long it has a chair and a stable flat surface for my laptop/notebook. I *hate* sitting on with my computer in my lap, despite the name. It hurts my neck, plus I'm such a fidget that the lap-resting seems like a really good way to wreck the most expensive thing I own. But even when I write longhand in a notebook, I like tables.

DS What are you working on now?

RR It looks to me like a collection of linked short stories. At least, I have written several short stories which do link. It may be too early to tell for sure, but in any event,I like it.