The Subconscious Interview: where your faithful Shelf Monkey goes to the washroom while his interview subjects talk to themselves for a few minutes.
Read the Conscious Interview with David Nickle here.
How do you roast a good chicken?
The trick is to get the skin. Or rather, immediately between the skin and the breast-meat. Before you put the bird in the oven (or in tinfoil, snugged up against an engine block) work an open space where flesh and skin separate near the cavity. Then slide stuff in. To start out, you want to try thinly-sliced garlic, and some mildly acidic fruit like pear or apple, so that when the fat renders from the chicken, the flavour of the garlic and the juice of the fruit will go to work on the breast meat. You need not limit yourself to garlic and pears, though. Oh no. Once you’ve gained in confidence, you’ll find all sorts of things that will improve the flavour of the bird: bacon bits; fish food; the branches of saplings; lizards, of every imaginable shape; the dreams of children.
Have you ever been so far up a tree that you fear never coming down again?
Ah, the housecat’s dilemma. Climb higher, stay where you are, or go back inside where you know at least the food is regular.
Who is going to win the Toronto mayor’s race in 2014?
If that question were from anybody but me, I’d say that it was naïve to think that I or anyone else can say who will be Mayor of Toronto in an election held many months from now. The debates! The scandals! The sheer repetitive boredom from all those debates!
Rob Ford has a shot at it, but I think a long shot and only if nothing else untoward happens, and the anti-Ford vote splits between Olivia Chow and John Tory and a couple of others. Chow has a better shot at it, I think, as the right-of-centre vote is already fragmented with a big chunk of votes staying with Ford, and others gravitating to Tory. The right needs to unite, and it really can’t as long as Ford is in the race. The left has only one real choice.
The real question (the one I probably should have asked up top, if I’d been thinking more deeply) is ‘what the hell is with Toronto?’ This is a question that I have spent a longish career trying to answer, watching city hall goings-on since before there was one. I’ve watched it for so long because really it’s the best vantage point to watch the complexity of this city unfold. As a novelist and writer of short stories, I can’t help but think of local politicians as more than our representatives. They’re our avatars, who reflect our own nature in a sharp and often unflattering relief… these days, a relief that is very unflattering indeed.
At some point, I’ll probably write a horror novel set there.