if you have a book club and would like to have me and my book, The Society of Experience make an appearance, please feel free to get in touch. My contact info is on my author page: http://mattcahill.ca. I can’t always guarantee my availability, but wherever I can make it work, I will. I’m happy to make a visit in-person, as well as field a Q&A via email, or take part in a Skype session.
I’m happy to say that the latest issue of Humber Literary Review (#6) is out, and I have an essay included. This is their first themed issue, and it’s about mental health. Because I’m a psychotherapist who is deeply reflective about the way in which we choose to see the world, I saw this as a golden opportunity to submit a pertinent perspective; my essay, On Madness Within Imagination, confronts a cultural blindspot – the depiction of madness in fiction.
It is available at the following Toronto bookstores:
Another Story (on Roncesvalles)
Book City on the Danforth
Book City on Queen
Book City on St Clair
Book City in the Village
Presse Internationale on Bloor
Presse Internationale in the Beaches
Type Books (on Queen)
It is available elsewhere, of course, but I have no clue where. You can also purchase a subscription from HLR.
It’s been a hell of a run. I am exhausted and happy to focus on my (very busy – not complaining) day job.
November’s tour of Alberta was wonderful, and I’m happy I pushed myself to make it happen (and grateful my publisher was able to wave her travel grant wand my way). I met readers, old friends, new friends, and relatives. I saw Alberta — a place I haven’t set foot in for almost 30 years — with fresh eyes (and a driver’s license). I could not have asked for a smoother tour, and I am thankful.
I am also tired, and am happy to put The Society of Experience to rest so that I can focus on the next book. I don’t want to publicize anything for a while. That said, I will have an essay coming out in the next issue of the Humber Literary Review, looking at our skewed depictions of madness in film and literature – that’s coming out in January, I am told.
If you are reading this, I hope you have a good December, and are able to find light in what was quite a dark 2016 for many.
Here’s the short and sweet on my upcoming tour of Alberta:
November 9 — University of Alberta, Augustana (Camrose) campus: reading from The Society of Experience at the bookstore @ 2pm. Books will be sold and signed. If you are in Marina Endicott‘s creative writing class, you will have the added bonus of having me hang over your shoulder and talk about writing and stuff on November 10th!
November 12 — Calgary, Literary House Concert, from 2pm to 5pm: the inaugural launch of a literary salon that is going to be awesome, but due to its intimate location will be RSVP only. Go here to find out more. I’m reading with Nikki Reimer & Shannon Maguire! Books will be sold and signed.
Updates will be made as the week progresses. I hope to meet new friends and readers during this whirlwind-ish five days!
I do a lot of talking about my novel, The Society of Experience, however that’s not the only work of fiction I’ve had published. Found Press, who has published my stories in their unique digital singlet format, is experimenting with the idea of creating limited print editions of select authors’ stories. I’m happy to say that one of those chosen is Snowshoe, my spooky piece about a father trying to get his son to sleep only to realize the boy is haunted by something more ominous than the wind outside.
This is well-timed since I read from Snowshoe on October 25th for the International Festival of Authors and it got a great reception. I have in my possession 15 copies – that is the extent of the initial print run since they are handbound. I am selling them for $15 each (optionally signed, if you wish). Or, if you haven’t yet read The Society of Experience (longlisted for the Sunburst Award, fave of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, as well as Emily Saso’s favourite book of 2015) I will sell a bundle of Snowshoe and The Society of Experience (regular $37 if bought individually) for $32 (and yes, optionally signed, if you wish). Crazy cheap bargain Cahill stop it.
Obviously, I only have 15 copies of Snowshoe, and while there will most likely be more in production (I can tell you there is a lot of interest from independent bookstores here in Toronto in this and other FP titles) because they are hand-made they don’t exactly slide off a conveyor by the hundreds. In other words, there’s no guarantee when more will be available.
If you are interested, get in touch: matt [at] mattcahill [dot] ca. Note: postage is extra (but reasonable)
I’ve got some great things in store for the next month or so:
October 25th: I’m going to be reading at the Literary Press Group‘s Boos & Books event, which is part of the International Festival of Authors. I’m thrilled to have been selected as well as honoured to be part of the IFOA. Because it’s a Halloween-themed event, I’m going to be reading an excerpt from my short story, Snowshoe (if you haven’t read it, it’s available at Found Press for the price of a cup of coffee – super cheap!)
November 9th – 13th: I’m going to be on a (very fast) tour of Alberta, reading/promoting my novel, The Society of Experience. Current dates are as follows:
November 9 – Camrose (University of Alberta campus)
November 12 – Calgary (location tbd)
November 13 – Edmonton (Audreys Books)
Somewhere in here I’m hoping to make an appearance in Red Deer – stay tuned! I’m looking forward to seeing old friends from when I lived there, as well as meeting readers, not to mention members of the Alberta publishing community (this last part may not sound exciting, but I think it’s significant!)
Lastly, I have an essay coming out in the next Humber Literary Review (due in November). This is a themed issue whose topic is mental health. My essay explores fictional depictions of madness in contemporary mainstream media, their worrisome undertones, and the challenges with working with the idea of madness. This is a very challenging piece, written from varying perspectives (as a psychotherapist, as an artist, and also someone who has a personal perspective on mental health challenges).
Stay tuned for updates — this is going to be a busy last quarter for 2016…
Sometimes I feel that I stand in-between too many things. Un-firm. Undecided. This is in part due to my fond appreciation for not only a lot of disparate topics but also disparate approaches. I believe in the vigour of an approach which involves good research. I also believe that we can lace “good research” with wishful thinking so that the evidence it produces is wishful thinking presented as fact. I believe that there are charlatans who willingly or naively provide a distraction that slows us down. I also believe that we dismiss many things as charlatanism not because they pose a danger but because they conflict with the politics of our personal or professional lives. I believe in intuition. I also believe intuition alone brings us too close to a raw reflexiveness which doesn’t serve long term needs.
So when someone asks me What do you think about x? I sometimes find myself considering a number of things and contexts to understand the question. The drawback is we’ve created a world where this sort of complexity is undesired. Certainly, in some industries and roles, complexity is unnecessary — a prime example would be assembly line work where the task is to simply crank out carbon copy iterations of something already conceived-of and revised to an acceptable standard. If you want to know what roles robots and AI are going to swallow up in the future, it’s those things. Complexity, on the other hand, keeps us guessing, reminds us that there are no set answers, or if there are they are kludges we developed until the next discovery forces us to revise our notions, our presumptions.
In an essay in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Ferris Jabr profiles someone turning to exotic flora in order to stave off our imminent depletion of effective antibiotics. The researcher in question turns to the lore of sometimes ancient civilizations, the extracts and tinctures from nature that one might rightly think come from fantasy, or from a presumably primitive culture. From some pharmaceutical industry perspectives, this is quackery. And yet, in one example, Continue reading
I posted about this book earlier, noting that it was surprisingly hard to get into, particularly for someone such as myself who, while not majoring in physics in high school, has always been curious about science and particularly interested (since a young age) in the concepts surrounding quantum physics. Boy, what a difference the last half of a book can make.
Smolin’s approach to the organization of information in his book might make sense to him, and – if I had an undergraduate in physics – it would to me also. He begins by stating five fundamental unsolved problems with our understanding of the universe, not already explained by Einstein’s theory of relativity (governing big stuff) and quantum physics (governing small stuff). He then goes on to discuss the idea of string theory and how it was posited as a candidate for a unifying theory which might possibly go to explain these unresolved problems (along with the effects of gravity). After laying out the details, he then discusses the Continue reading
I’m going to be in Hamilton (the city, not the play), reading with a bunch of great writers (mostly poets), including Jacob Mooney and Joanne Arnott, as part of the ongoing Lit Live reading series, for their 2016/17 season kick-off on September 4th. It should be a great night (and at a new venue). Hope to see you there!
I’m on my second attempt reading Lee Smolin’s 2006 book The Trouble With Physics. I am reminded of a similar situation with another book, Joyce’s Ulysses. And, similarly, my second attempt with The Trouble With Physics is not a reappraisal but a confirmation: this is hard to read.
Smolin’s book is making a case for the fact that string theory is a failure; a spectacular failure that its adherents defend with a most byzantine theoretical web; that, because string theory is de rigueur in so many of the top schools, with so many reputations at stake, no one wants to recognize the fact that string theory — an attempt to harmonize the ideas of quantum theory and relativity so that we might understand the foundation of the universe more clearly — is a dead end.
The problem I’m (still) having with the book is that Smolin is writing to an audience that is willing to take a steep (try 90 degrees upward) climb in order to understand the various concepts and theories which not only formed the foundation of string theory, but the issues that weren’t resolved through the original work of Newton, Einstein, etc. Smolin lays out in the beginning various fundamental aspects of how things work that we simply don’t know — instilling early that scientific inquiry is, if anything, about the need for curiosity. However, given Smolin’s densely described approach to get us ready to understand his arguments, and while I don’t doubt the necessity, I think he would need to double the length of his book to do so effectively for interested readers who are not physicists.
What is more successful, and the reason I continue to read it, is how Continue reading