Getting to know you

Last week I was lucky enough to be nominated for a few snazztastic blog awards. Thank you very, very much PageMarkerUK, WriterAficionado, and HotChocolateandBooks!

If you have a chance, please take a moment and visit their spots – there is some mighty cool stuff a-brewing around there parts. Ch-ch-check it!

So after I blushed a brilliant red and sputtered about like a tea pot filled past its brim, I got to thinking about what are some of the strange and wonderful things I could share about myself (that I haven’t already bared outright through Rant and Roll.)

In order to make sure I don’t have people running for the hills, I’ll space out the reveals over the course of a few posts.

Ms. PageMarker was kind enough to pass on the Kreative Blogger Award nom. Acceptance requires me to tell you seven tantalizing and tyrannical facts about me. Or was it exciting? I have a hard time keeping those straight.

Let’s jump right in:

1.)    I can’t whistle. I had pretty insane jaw surgery when I was fifteen to fix my bite and I’ve never been able to pretend to be a bird or let hot dudes know that I think they’re smoking since.

Bird. Birdin.

2.)    At night, I walk into doors and walls. This happens far too often for my own good. In my mind I’m incredibly stealthy because I think that I know the lay of the land inside and out, until of course I rip open the bridge of my nose on the thermostat. Then I’m just incredibly, irrationally angry.

3.)    Two of my favourite authors are Henning Mankell and Haruki Murakami. They, in my humble opinion, are master storytellers.

A good long read. Wind up bird chronicle is still my fave though.

4.)     My top five places to visit in the world are (in no particular order): Sweden, Japan, Vietnam, Costa Rica, and Iceland.

5.)    If I ever get the chance to go to Baskin Robbins, (which sadly are highly endangered species in the Great White North) I’ll taste a new flavour, but I’ll always, always, order mint chocolate chip. In a sugar cone.

6.)    I met Mr. M when I was eighteen, got engaged at twenty-two, married at twenty-three. If you had told me when I was sixteen that this would be the course of events, I probably would have told you to stop smoking the hard stuff. But now I wouldn’t change anything for double the world, or more.

A moment that lives in my heart.

7.)    I get creeped out by some pretty weird stuff: soup skin, cloves stuck into an orange at christmas, really graphic medical drawings of lungs in science textbooks, bamboo shoots cut too close to the ground, the thought of eating a blackboard eraser, the sound of paper towel coming out of an old dispenser – THESE ALL GIVE ME THE HEEBIE JEEBIES.

Urg. I’ve crippled myself just typing that out.

Anywho, as those classic Warner Bros cartoons were wont to tell us:

I hereby nominate the following radsters for this award. I am very intrigued and excited to see what they may share with us all.

Dangerously Daydreaming

Hopeful Typist

Well Fed Flat Broke

Sprocket Monkey


Fantasy Scribbles


So to finish off, of this blustery, sunny, brilliant Spring morning, as David Bowie once said –

Book em, Dano

M and I received some pretty great books for Christmas this year. He was gifted some Stephenson and Pratchett, and I, some Murakami, Richler and Mantel.

Bliss folks – for us, THIS is bliss.

I am currently 600+ pages into 1Q84 by Mr. Murakami and if you were to catch me at any given time today you would have found me in a position similar to this:

Aomame and Tengo are my new best friends.

What happens with me is that, although I read quite a bit, and for the most part, I enjoy everything that I read (and even those books that I do not enjoy, I slog through them anyways. I finally finished Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare only a couple of months ago, after what seemed to be an on-again-off-again relationship with the book for close to eight months) I tend to go overboard on those works that I do enjoy, like, A LOT.

You see, there are some authors that I find so transcendent, that I develop an almost perverse obsession with findingand reading all of their published works, lest I miss out on experiencing everything their genius has to offer.

And I really mean everything.

Three of our bookshelves. I really fear that we will be crushed to death once the big one arrives. At least we'll go with the things we love...

The earliest memory I have of this phenomenon is from grade four, when I first discovered the great Canadian children’s author Kit Pearson. I picked up The Lights Go on Again not knowing that this book is in fact the third of a trilogy that explores the journey of two young English siblings’ experiences as war children, evacuated from a (fictional) small town in England and sent to live in the posh Toronto neighbourhood of Yorkville.

To say that I loved this book (and then the rest of the books in the series) would be an understatement. I am sure that I read each novel close to twenty times. This fascination with Ms. Pearson’s writing was then transferred onto her other works, The Daring Game and A Handful of Time.

So you must understand what a soul crushing blow it was to read her newest work (at the time) when it came out, hot off the presses, and to feel no connection whatsoever with the narrative or the narrator.

In fact, I remember despising the protagonist, and feeling utterly morose by both the story’s flaccid narrative arc, and (what I felt to be) rather limp conclusion.

To paraphrase Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda, I was DISAPPOINTED.


In grade five I started reading “grown-up” book. Pilfering from my older sister’s collection, I read most of Anne Rice’s

Bedroom bookshelf. Now will more Gene Wolfe.

Vampire series, (do I regret this? No. But, erm, next time, I think I may take the left turn atAlbuquerque and forgo any literary adventures with Mr. Lestat), and pretty much everything John Grisham and Michael Crichton had written up until that point.

I remember passages from both The Firm and Jurassic Park as if they have been burned into my cerebral cortex (or whatever part of the brain is used when flipping those pages over, and over again.)

The one big mistake however? Reading Misery. Yeah, not about to get those nightmare filled sleeps back anytime soon!

In grade eight I started my five year love affair with Mr. William Shakespeare, obsessing over King Lear’s poor decision making processes, despising young Hamlet and his gutless procrastination, and emulating and loving (and therefore memorizing) Beatrice’s lines and soliloquies.

I read every one of his plays, including the ones that that most people probably wouldn’t recognize. However, I am sure that if you asked me right now, I probably couldn’t even remember the simplest of story details of those plays (let alone two hours after I had finished them) because they left no discernable effect on me what so ever.

I am sure I decided to read the entire canon not so much due to my burning desire and admiration for the Bard and his words (although this did, and still does very much exist,) but because I was fifteen and thought I was misunderstood and brilliant.

Kerouac I was not.

When I first met M, he gave me Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions to read on the long flight down to Nova Scotia and I almost died with shock and delight within the first few pages. During those next two weeks I inhaled every work of his I could find.

As I mentioned before, in first year of my undergrad I read Dostoevsky’s Devils and my brain (metaphorically) exploded all over my room. I gobbled up Crime and Punishment with an almost maniacal zeal, and after that devoured The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov.

These are a few of my favorite things!

The next year I discovered the fabulous and hauntingly beautiful writings of the Swedish author Henning Mankell, and spent my summer telling everyone I knew to, “check out this guy from Sweden because holy frick you will never read anything so bloody good in your entire bloody life!!!”

I received a lot of strange looks during that time.

I could go on at length about all the books that have shook me to my core, but I think it may be impossible, and I really must try to reign myself in.

I just get so overwhelmed and confused when I hear that so many people don’t read anymore, and I get panicked and desperate when M tells me that his students at school are hard pressed to even read their assigned passages, let along deign to pick up a novel outside of class.

I even get anxious worrying over whether I’ll die not having read all the books I want to read.


I just want to create a place where everyone can live peacefully, and where I will read to them from Thomas King, and Neal Stephenson, and Robertson Davies, and Hanif Kureshi, and Gunter Grass, and Terry Pratchett, and George R. R. Martin, and Richard Russo, and, Michael Palin, and Hunter S. Thompson, and Gene Wolfe, and J. R. R. Tolkein, and Robert Heinlein, and Richard Matheson, and Ray Bradbury, and P.D. James and well, this list grows ever long, and I’m sure, your patience short.

One day I will find the Dolphin Hotel

My great friend A gave me my first Murakami book this year for my birthday. A Wild Sheep Chase is gut busting hilarious, and heart breakingly sad. Reading it alone set in motion my newest “author” fixation, and I have blown through a good portion of his works to date.

So now, I sit (please consult the above picture for the exact positioning), reading his latest tome, and I am so inspired, and intimidated, and just plain breathless by what an extraordinary work it truly is.

I am trying to take it slow, to savour the process, each page, each line, each word, each letter.

But it is hard. So very hard.

I have around three hundred pages left, and I am sure to be done before I know it. I am sure that I too, like the characters in the book, will be living in a slightly altered world, because of this work.

So with this, I can’t help but say: “Bring it Murakami.”

Bring it.