Whyfor the near-blasphemous title? Because Husk has garnered a little more attention lately than I dared dream possible.
If you’ve checked my Appearances page lately (I know you haven’t, don’t worry about it), you’ll detect a lot of movement lately. Despite Husk being a good year old now, I was asked to attend the 2013 Kingston WritersFest, an invitation I heartily accepted. Now, I would have accepted anyway (I never shy away from an opportunity to discuss my many virtues in public), but this was the primary reason for my enthusiasm:
Yes, for some reason known only to the Great Old Ones who watch from their cloaked reality just three seconds from our own (excuse me a moment — ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! — Thank you.), I, alongside immensely talented and similarly awestruck Madeline Ashby, shared a panel entitled In Other Worlds with Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and you know all this don’t pretend you don’t).
And after I came to grips with my initial (ah, Hell, still ongoing) astonishment at the idea, I accepted, went, and had the greatest time known to man! The whole festival was an absolute pleasure, the panels (this, plus another with new best friends Andrew Kaufman and Jason Heroux) were deeply satisfying, my workshops went according to plan, I met authors and people I’ve admired for a long time now (allow me a name-dropping or two; Atwood, Ashby, Kaufman, Heroux, Tom King, Diane Schoemperlen, Shelagh Rogers [who hugged me, and it was as glorious an event as any Canadian author could ever experience), Marcello Di Cintio, Wayne Grady, Graeme Gibson, Debra Komar, David Nickle, and others I’m appalled I cannot fit here). Just an absolute blast. Plus, yet again:
Plus, I got to have dinner with Madeline and her partner David Nickle, who might be among the most talented author pairs I’ve ever met. And then I had dinner with Eric McCormack and his wife Nancy, and if you don’t know the importance of Eric (The Mysterium, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women) to both my personal and professional life, well then, too bad.
And if that weren’t enough (Buddha knows it should be), I had freaking poetry written about me. WritersFest writer-in-residence Jeanette Lynes went to many, many events and crafted some remarkable poetry from what she heard.
So, here is her poetic summary of the In Other Worlds panel:
Oh Woe, Woe!
Gore – & not Lesley. The other worlds
were standing-room only & guess what –
it’s your autopsy. Stake through the heart.
Too too solid flesh.
Yes & no.
No & yes.
Pop the lungs.
Bad luck. Decaying pump organs.
Has anyone seen my memory?
I know I left it around here someplace!
Embrace your inner zombie.
Lost robots, girls in dollhouses.
Bears on mountain bikes. Learn
the vowels again. Pixels. Not pretty.
Bear spray – yes. Boss-Lady – yes!
How nice is that, huh? Plus there’s even more! Jeanette sat in on my workshop on surreal writing!
You’ll know it when you feel it, the chance effect,
random ringing in your shoe (phone, remember
Maxwell Smart?). It’s for you. Embrace
each corset manifesto, every last
Run, blatant teacups – you are number five!
Linger, exquisite corpse. Weird for weird’s sake?
Try harder! (A girl lives in his radiator.)
Ten vegetarians, the propellers of courage,
ate chicken. I like tentacles.
I had an idea. The end.
Beauty poetry! If I ever work up the nerve for more ink, I’m going to have these tattooed on my back a la Pam Poovey.
So my thanks to Merilyn Simonds, Kat Evans, and everyone else who made the Kingston WritersFest one of the best times of my professional life.