Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Art news

"Fishman" by David Griffin. I own this painting by this wonderful artist (and friend). I've always thought of it (hopefully and metaphorically) as greenbacks swimming into my bank account. Check out his website for more evocative (and slightly creepy) art. Also, his fascinating blog, which I know is very smart since I don't understand most of it. But the music (and dancing) videos are good.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Montreal launch of ZOO by Arleen Solomon Rotchin

I have it on good authority that the author will present the fascinating true story behind the story of her friendship with the jailed investment fraudster. You won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For the love of books

The other day I was describing to my eldest daughter the merz creations of Kurt Schwitters, one of my favourite artists of the 20th century. I'm a sucker for any art that transforms, recycles, re-uses etc. old stuff into new and beautiful stuff. To me, that's what genuine creativity is all about. This is what genuine creativity is all about!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't take my word for it...

I've been saying it for some time (as have others). But don't take my word for it. Now Man-Booker jurist Michael Prodger is making the argument and he ought to know. He's read something like 130 novels in the last six months, which according to him (and who can argue) makes him an expert on contemporary fiction. I would just add one thought that occurred to me when we were having a minor row over at It's not just the university creative writing programs that have standardized literary output to its general detriment, but commensurate with that, the fact that fiction writers have become too narrow. Learning to write means achieving a solid competence in all aspects of the craft. I would argue that a novelist should also be able to write essays, poetry, reportage, non-fiction etc. as well. It's a rather old school notion in our specialized day and age. But if you think about it, many of the greatest novelists (Hemingway immediately comes to mind) also wrote reportage, screenplays, essays, opinion pieces, advertising etc. Having to scrape together a living not only grounded them in the concerns of their readers (as opposed to the disconnection we see today between artists and the general public) but made them more skilled (and perhaps instinctive, and therefore fresher) writers as well.