Tuesday Night Ramblings: all over the place, really

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I am listening to Chopin nocturnes up in my room and feeling kind of blah… I won’t start boring you my readers with the multiple causes of that. Just let me say that sometimes the many uncontrollable events that make up daily life start crowding me in a bit too much, and seem to down out my attempts at keeping up a happy, upbeat outlook on things.

So let me dive back into to my fantasy worlds for a bit and give you an overview of what is going in Sylvie’s World (the part that really matters here!). I finally dove into the latest Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last, an avatar of her online Positron project. It was published on September 29 in Canada, around the time I got back from vacation. I promptly got a copy but things got busy and it had to wait until the beginning of November. My impression so far? It’s got funny moments, the plot is coming along quite swiftly, but… I don’t like the amount of profanity in it, the language is less “crafted” than I would expect from Margaret Atwood, and the world she constructs in this book is no match for the complex, textured universe of the Maddaddam trilogy. So I am a little disappointed. I even miss the pigoons. I had not read the online Positron stories, so I went into the book with little prior information, and I think, no preconceptions, but certainly high expectations. So, there, blah… I think I will have to concentrate on the satirical aspects a bit more and get a sense of where this book stands as social commentary.

I’ve also been reading a small book of poetry called La plaquette cubaine, a collection of poems by three authors, José Acquelin, Bertrand Laverdure, and Yannick Renaud. I’ve run into José Acquelin at a few events in the couple of years (he was at the FIPTR last month) and he won Governor General’s Award last year. He will be one of the special guest at the Salon du Livre de Montréal next month, so I will most likely hear some more from him. La plaquette cubaine was written by the three authors following their participation in a Québec/Cuba cultural festival in Havana in 2007, and published by Le lézard amoureux (small publishing house that does poetry). I stumbled upon this book in a used bookstore near UQAM in downtown Montreal on an evening I decided to walk part of the way back home after work. When I do that, I always end up walking into bookstores on the way. I did that tonight as well by the way, but did not buy anything (that requires will power). I have Acquelin’s book that won the GG, Anarchie de la lumière, but I have yet to crack it open. The other work of poetry I am been “sipping”, is Colin Will’s The Propriety of Weeding, published by a small house from Northumberland in the UK called the Red Squirrel Press. I find the name of small publishers quite fascinating, especially the ones specializing in poetry.

Jane Austen’s Emma is the other novel that has been capturing my attention of late, but I am not sure that is ideal reading for the noise level in the metro. I am finding it quite a challenge to follow the convoluted, wordy and sometimes totally illogical conversations that Emma gets into with her relatives and friends, not to speak of the ones she unsuccessfully tries to prevent.

I have been perusing the latest issues of Lire magazine that cover the “rentrée littéraire” in France for both French authors and foreign authors in French translation, looking for what will strike my fancy to add to the TBR pile. More on that later in the week!

So, yes, there is all this reading going on. And I have started the NaNoWriMo challenge. So far, the word count is just below target, I have an outline of sorts, but it is quite conceptual and there is not really a plot. We will see where that goes. The idea might take better shape as I write. If anything, I might be able to rescue some of the material into short story form… or not. Oh wait, maybe I’ve got it wrong, that makes it sound like short stories are just failed attempts at something else, when they are really an art form in themselves… My main objective is really to get me to write more continuously than I have been doing with the blog, as well as to change my daily habits. Instead of getting out of bed in order to get ready to go to work in the morning, I get up to write and I go in to work a bit later. That is part of my trying to actually live the principle that I work to live, rather than live to work.

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