Renovations and Writing

By Brian Francis

Right now, my coffee maker is in the bedroom, there’s a toilet in my kitchen and I’m washing dishes in my bathroom sink. In other words, I’m living through a home renovation.

It’s been going on for two weeks and, judging by the mess, dust and tools, it seems like it’s never going to get done. But it’s been a rewarding process, to watch my house get stripped down to the bare essentials: the drywall, the particleboard, the screws and bolts hidden from daily life. It’s given me an appreciation for the stages that go into this type of work, the process and patience, the tearing down and building up again.Brian - reno

Writing is no different.

If you’re like me, you probably have a clear picture in your mind when you sit down to write. Then you start building. And tearing it down. And building. And tearing that down. It may seem, at times, that it’ll never get done. The words aren’t coming together. The characters too clichéd. You might fear you’re losing your grasp on the end product.

But writing, just like renovations, happens in stages. You can’t get to the final picture without dealing with the mess in between. There’s dust, mud and yes, even a toilet in the kitchen. But the mess is temporary. And while your work may not come together as fast as you’d like, it’ll get done, provided you keep the big picture in mind. And you remain patient.

In my Intro to Creative Writing course, one of my goals is to teach you how to tear down your creative houses and rebuild them. To approach your writing with a fresh set of eyes. To show you how to optimize what you have and what you may need to seek out.

I’m open to helping you build something. Are you ready to get to work?

Brian Francis’ most recent novel, Natural Order, was selected by the Toronto Star, Kobo and Georgia Straight as a Best Book of 2011. His first novel, Fruit, was a 2009 Canada Reads finalist. Brian will be teaching Intro to Creative Writing here at Harbourfront Centre from October 14 to November 18.

Wayson Choy reads from All That Matters

Wayson Choy’s bestselling debut novel, The Jade Peony, shared the Trillium Book Award for best book in 1995 and won the 1996 City of Vancouver Book Award. Its companion novel, All That Matters, also won a Trillium Book Award and was shortlisted for the 2005 Giller Prize. In this clip, Choy reads a selection from […]

Margaret MacMillan named Harbourfront Festival Prize recipient

Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize, Margaret MacMillan! With many accolades to her name, including the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award, Margaret MacMillan was selected for the annual Harbourfront Festival Prize based on the merits of her published work and her contributions to fostering the next […]

Nino Ricci discusses The Origin of Species

Nino Ricci’s first novel, Lives of the Saints, garnered international acclaim and won a host of awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. He won the same prize again in 2008 for his novel The Origin of Species. In this clip, Ricci talks about narrative voice and his reluctance to use the first […]

Ann-Marie MacDonald Book Trailer

By Dylan Schoenmakers

Ann-Marie MacDonald has released a book trailer in advance of the publication of her latest novel, Adult Onset. The trailer features fragments of text, voiced by a single audible narrator, but spoken or mouthed in the video by a host of different people. The effect is striking, both uncanny and moving.

Notable line from the trailer: “A person who hates themself is dangerous.”

MacDonald sits down with Susan G. Cole on October 31 to discuss and read from Adult Onset. Below is an extended description of the novel, taken from MacDonald’s website:

“Mary Rose MacKinnon – nicknamed MR or “Mister” – is a successful YA author who has made enough from her writing to semi-retire in her early 40s. She lives in a comfortable Toronto neighbourhood with her partner, Hilary, a busy theatre director, and their 2 young children, Matthew and Maggie, trying valiantly and often hilariously to balance her creative pursuits with domestic demands, and the various challenges that (mostly) solo parenting presents. As a child, Mary Rose suffered from an illness, long since cured and ‘filed separately’ in her mind. But as her frustrations mount, she experiences a flare-up of forgotten symptoms which compel her to rethink her memories of her own childhood and her relationship with her parents. With her world threatening to unravel, the spectre of domestic violence raises its head with dangerous implications for her life and that of her own children.”

Make sure to pick up a copy of Adult Onset and tickets for this highly anticipated event!

Dylan Schoenmakers is the Communications Intern at IFOA. He recently completed his MA in English Literature at the University of Western Ontario.

Page 10 of 21« First...89101112...20...Last »