Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sorry for the Interruption in Service, But We Happened to Have a House (Almost) Burn Down

Reading the last post in this blog made my heart skip a beat. It was written just a few days before we were burned out of our house.  Luckily we lost very little in material terms, but we were exiled for eight months and it took nearly a year to get things back to normal.  The row house next door where the fire started had to be gutted and a good half of our house was stripped to the studs in order to get rid of the smoke damage.  (That's my office to the right before reconstruction began.)

During the time we were camping out in an apartment, my books and notes were in storage.  I'd finished a draft of a novel River Music not too long before, but I didn't have any suggestions from the publisher to work on and, quite frankly, I couldn't think straight for more than an hour at a time for several months.

So I turned to short stories, a form I've always loved, but in which I hadn't worked in a good ten years.  First I read many and then I started to write them myself again.  By the time spring came I had a half dozen that I liked quite a bit, so I decided to try my luck at the grant game.  To my delighted surprise the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec gave me a $21,000 grant to support my work on the project.

Now, almost two years later, I have 11 short stories and a novella that make up a collection that is now called Desire Lines: Stories of Love and Geography. One of them will appear in the  Spring 2013 issue of Queen's Quarterly, and I'm starting to look around for a publisher.

As for River Music, well, it's been revised again and I'm waiting to here from a possible publisher.  Maybe in 2014?