Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

pmordecai's blog

Re: (Whether it is) Becoming (to Be) a lady and the use of the word in Jamaican Creole (JC)

News flash! Author copies of my novel, Red Jacket, arrived in the mail yesterday. About to post this exploration of the use of the word ‘lady’ in the land of my birth and here in North America, I put a question to myself about the many female persons, the heroine Grace included, in Red Jacket. Women? Ladies? Both? Neither? Hmmnnn... Five ladies maybe, and three women? Except who’s who would shift, depending on the ‘speaker’. But I get ahead of myself...

A response to Ann Elizabeth Carson's WE ALL BECOME STORIES, Blue Denim Press, 2013

Ann Elizabeth Carson’s WE ALL BECOME STORIES is a generous book. This recounting of journeys the author has made with a baker’s dozen of elders (she makes the thirteenth) is an intimate exploration of the eldering process—to coin a word—its various paths, its challenges and rewards, and most of all, the resilience and ampleness of a determinedly positive old age, one to which sensory memory (an especial interest of the author’s) can contribute mightily. Indeed, it is a book about memory—and its complementary function, forgetting—in older persons, not as something diminishing, but as a resource.

A Tale of Two Marys

Colm Tóibin recently spoke to Eleanor Wachtel on CBC’s “Writers and Company” about his new novel, The Testament of Mary. I tuned a close ear since I have for a while been meaning to write something on Mary – perhaps another verse play, like my second book, de man: a performance poem, an account of Christ’s crucifixion written entirely in Jamaican creole and now only coming into its own almost twenty years after being published in 1995 by the now defunct Sister Vision Press. I am encouraged to write another piece of the Jesus story by the fact of the reception of de man, which has had several recent performances, three in Calgary between 2007 and 2010, and one last year in Norris Point, Newfoundland.

Walk good

If you had asked me I’d
have said that when
the time had come for me
to say au revoir
officially by then
it would be warm
and we would be outside
in shorts and T’s.

But it ain’t so.
Of course each year there are
the usual
determined souls who brave
dawdling cool
no mind wind striding up
from off the lake
biting their lips pinching

their pimply arms.

Canadian English and his relatives

Back to our English. Having raised the question of how old he is, and mused about how we decide, we now consider his relatives. Perhaps we should begin with great-grandma.

English grows up

It appears English is about to undergo some kind of rite on June 10 at 5:22 a.m. ET. An unsupported headline on the front page of today’s GLOBE AND MAIL (you have to go inside for the article) says that at that time it will pass the million-word mark.

It is not clear, however, what kind of rite this is, in relation to English’s development. Is it a puberty rite, marking English's moving into adolescence? Can you see him hitching up his drooping jeans, underwear peeking out, Bluetooth in his ear, offloading a whoosh of frothy mouth-water onto the sidewalk?

Can you hear his mother?

“That’s disgusting, English! How often have I told you not to spit?”

“Ma, I’m tired of telling you I can’t be myself if I don’t spit! All those fricatives and sibilants and stuff…”

Ruth the Reckless

reck (rěk)

1. to have care, concern, or regard
2. to take heed or to have caution

What intrigues! What Machiavellian plots! What underhand dealings!

Who would have believed that electing a new Professor of Poetry at Oxford would result in such bizarre carryings-on!

Bans o’ character assassination!

Protestations of innocence come to naught!

Exclamation marks for so!

The poor little button on my keyboard, line two from the top, next to the end on the left, is bawling out for mercy!

Okay, little key. No more. I promise.

I won’t rehearse the story, because everyone, I’m sure, has now heard it. If not, go to

Things to do this summer in Toronto, for free

In these difficult times when every penny must count, and money for entertainment, as for everything else, needs to be wisely spent, it’s reassuring to know that there are lots of things to do in Toronto that cost only the TTC fare, or the gas, if you drive, or, if you ride a bike, the energy to get there. Pack a sandwich, some juice, your frisbee, yo-yo, skates, skateboard, paperback, boggle or scrabble, sunglasses, bug spray just to be on the safe side, and off you go.

Teenagers with a vision...

I enjoyed meeting Emil Sher and reading with him at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People this morning. Folks visiting ranged in age from babies in buggies to ladies and gents with white hair. That’s a very special kind of group, one that we don’t see often enough – one that needs to be treasured. (I confess some special interest here, being white haired and all…)


No heavy stuff today. No sah!

Sky too clear, sun too warm, and, just now, it’s too lazy, snoozy, comfortable, with a wee bit of wind, dog barking in the distance, as if, were time to fall asleep and stop for a while, this is how it would feel.

So nothing onerous…

I’m reading from my play, EL NUMERO UNO, at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (LKYPT) on this coming Saturday morning. Emil Sher, who adapted Karen Levine’s book, HANA’S SUITCASE, for the stage is reading too. Both plays are part of LKYPT’s 2009-2010 season. The readings are part of a combo Doors Open-Lit City event, one of those to wind up three months of Lit City as well as to celebrate ten years of Doors Open.


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