Fall Inspiration


A few weeks ago, I got restless. I wanted to make something. Nothing particularly epic or grand, just something I could start and then – get this – finish. So I decided to write a story. The thing is, I haven’t written a story in a very long time, not since my book came out. All of my energy had been thrown into novel writing. It was both weird and nice to start writing something from scratch, something with new characters and different settings. I rewrote it a few times, printed it out and then gave it to Andrew to read one evening while we were sitting in a Korean restaurant eating dinner. I didn’t really plan on having him read it, but it was in my bag, so I handed it over. I stirred up the egg yolk in my bibimbap while he read through the pages and I didn’t cringe or hide under the table from embarrassment. The story is pretty short, and I’m not really going to do anything with it at the moment, but it’s satisfying to have.


I’ve maybe caught the short story bug again; I want to write more. I guess I’ve been feeling inspired these past few days – the coziness of fall setting in, and I’ve been reading a lot of really great things. For instance, Meta is the newest zine by Marissa Falco, about Margaret Kilgallen, a painter and a graffiti artist who died in 2001. I was unfamiliar with Margaret’s work and it was a great experience learning about her through Marissa’s words, but also via the layout, design and type of the zine, which was also inspired by her – homemade, hand drawn, perfect in its imperfections.


One rainy evening I went down to Cagibi to see Jeff Miller and Cindy Crabb. I’ve gotten the opportunity to see Jeff read a few times here in Montreal, and he’s always great. It was Cindy’s first time in Canada, and she was here for the recent launch of The Encyclopedia of Doris, an anthology of her latest zines, an alphabetized collection of thoughts covering everything from apple crisp to grief to social ecology to Vandana Shiva. She read one of my favourite things she’s ever written: i think hope is like a crush. not the resigned hope, like – i hope things get better – but the hope that feels like suspended disbelief. where spaces open up and everything is possible again, and you’re pushed to adventure, pushed out of your regular boxes, pushed to show off, to be the person you want to be the most, working hard to show your best sides, your secret scars, your hidden dreams. I choked up.


Another night, Jonathan Richman played Montreal. It was a short set, and I almost feel like I dreamed it because the set was so short, and we got there late after he’d already been playing for 20 minutes, and we were standing behind Win and Regine from Arcade Fire who were dancing and grinning, and actually, everyone in the room was grinning, and Jonathan danced on stage and spoke bad French and strummed his guitar and after the encore he had to come out to tell us that he really was done for the night. We shuffled out into the streets, all pent up energy, and then drank too much red wine.

It was nice.