New Author Site

Hello all. In order to promote my upcoming book and to (eventually) be a hub for promoting any published works I do between now and then, I thought it best to have a standalone author site created: mattcahill.ca. This task was handily undertaken by Ingrid Paulson, and it looks great.

Eventually I will start adding pages to the site, to flesh it out (so that it is more than just a page, but an actual “site”).

The question currently stands: what will happen to this here blog? I’m not sure. The more I focus on writing gigs, the less time I have for blogging, and yet – paradoxically – I have more things to blog about because potentially I have more gigs. In other words, there is still a need for the blog, so imagitude will stay where it is and perhaps be linked-to from the author site at some point.

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Kensington Market Essay in BlogTO

For those who don’t live in Toronto, there’s been a lot of discussion about my neighbourhood, Kensington Market, in the news. Much of it is about preservation vs development. I offered to write an op/ed for BlogTO and they published it today. I’m quite pleased that they kept the essay intact (you never know what an editor’s going to do sometimes). You can read it here.

It feels good to work on my non-fiction chops, and even better when something gets published.

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Away

I’ve been terribly busy for the last three years: work, school, new career, new work. No complaints except that my non-academic writing has suffered considerably. I believe I’ve only squeezed out one, maybe two short stories during this time. Of course, the bevy of my attention was on revising my novel (and whatever energy I had left was spent on the subsequent one).

With respect to this here blog, I’ve been unapologetically negligent. I’ve had no choice. Blogging’s great, but it’s the odd man out when it has to compete for creativity-expenditure with other areas. For one thing, it doesn’t pay. Another drag on its sail is the competition that social media plays. Between posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter (between which I don’t consider myself a fanatic contributor), little is left for blogging and I think there’s a problem with that.

Twitter ends up being a Post-It Note for ideas which never get developed. You tell yourself: if I just jot this idea down I can come back to it later. The problem with this otherwise workable concept is that in Twitter-land what you post takes the form of its own singular effort – it’s a public communication unto itself which fulfills a basic function which makes me, the author, forget about what it was I was hoping to say (or develop the idea of) later.

And Facebook is just a mess of “seen this” and “done that”.

And so I come back to blogging, for now, to say firstly that I’m still here. Secondly, to say that I feel there is room for this format, out-dated and seemingly formal compared to Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Soon (I think) I will be able to get back to saying things of note and interest.

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My Psychotherapy Blog

As some of you (now more of you) know, I recently began a practice as a psychotherapist. I have a website, which gets a fair bit of traffic (allowing that summer is a traditionally slow time of the year), but recently I added an adjunctive blog.

The purpose was to get more of me out there, rather than have people rely on their preconceptions of what a psychotherapist is/does just by staring at my business card. I figured it would help both me and potential clients (including curious onlookers) deal up-front with questions that often go unasked yet which people would like answered.

For example: Do I need to know what’s wrong with me in order to see a therapist? Will I lose my creativity if I see one?

These are some of the things people ask, sometimes in passing, sometimes directly to me. I was inspired to address them, if only so that I could clarify the process of therapy.

That said, it’s a challenge. Unlike this space where I can tear away at preconceptions without concern for who I may be offending, I have to alter the timbre of my voice when blogging for the benefit of those who may be potential clients – it’s not always cut and dry. I ran into this recently with a post I wrote about men and how men tend to have preconceptions about psychotherapy (and how some of this may have to do with the language/imagery predominant in the latest barrage of public service announcements). My partner brought to my attention that what I’d wrote (and published) was in fact meant for this blog, not the one I originally thought it was intended for. So…I went back and changed the voice, as if I were revising a short story.

The lesson? Know your audience. People curious about psychotherapy don’t need to read hard-hitting op/ed-style commentary – the challenge was to go back and revise what I’d done so that, rather than focusing on a political critique of the way society isolates men from seeking help and agitating for personal growth, I retreated/reverted/went back to the more digestible core point of therapy is good for men, too.

Perhaps I will post both versions here to demonstrate how I revised it. In any case, feel free to visit the other blog (and tell your friends).

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TIFF a-hoy!

Looks like the film I worked on earlier this year, Keyhole, will have its world premiere in Toronto this September @ TIFF. Some press here.

For those new to this site, I have had a parallel journal chronicling the film, called Guy Maddin’s Keyhole: A Post Production Diary, which I wrote in tandem with my work on the project.

Needless to say that I’m very happy to have another film premiering at TIFF, and I hope that it is well-received. Keyhole is a challenging film, even for fans of Guy Maddin’s work, yet I think it’s perhaps his most personal and – in that regard – bravest work to date.

 

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Renovations

In the attempt to import 400+ pages from Blogger to here (via WordPress), there were several (try over 75) pages whose subject-tags were not properly imported. They became auto-assigned to “Uncategorized”. So, I’ve spent time each day re-categorizing them. They were mostly older posts – a lot from when I started in 2006. That was <checks watch> over five years ago.

The difference between blogging and writing fiction is that with a blog you’re not supposed to correct or revise things past a certain freshness date. It’s a journal: you don’t screw with it. The past is ultimately the past, and if you look like a moron in the past then, perhaps, that’s you being a moron in the past. Contrarily, with fiction, there is no straight jacket: when you look at past writings your lithe reflexes unravel a cloth roll of surgeon’s tools, all necessary for cutting and cleaning what you’ve written, regardless of how brilliant or not brilliant your ideas.

Thus with fiction, sensitivity to the whole is greater than the brilliance of the individual turn of phrase. With blogging, respect for The Record supersedes the ego: you must be careful not to disturb The Record.

And so I unearth and renovate quietly. I open the “Uncategorized”, scan them to make sense of how I should properly re-categorize them. Some I want to delete. Some I do delete (two posts: trust me, they were stupid). Others I begrudgingly leave. Renovation inevitably exposes weaknesses: of thought, of argument. It also lays bare ideas and passions you’d put aside in favour of other pursuits, but which you read today with fascination as if someone else had written them. This is the good thing about writing – fiction, poetry, magazine articles, blogging – no matter what your focus is, if you do it long enough you inevitably have something with which to reflect upon.

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Hello and Welcome! (again!)

I have two sets of welcomes: one for those who visited Imaginary Magnitude over at Blogger (its former home), and another for those who are new and have never been to either site before.

I’m going to be tweaking the look and feel of imagitude over the next while. Hopefully I don’t break anything. I’ve managed to import all of the Blogger posts – the only question that remains is what happens to the Blogger blog. I shall leave it alone for now.

Please feel free to comment and/or ask questions, or just stare silently from your cold monitors.

All the best,

Matt

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Another One Bites The Dust

ARG! One of my favourite literary blogs is ending its run! I encourage you all to visit Ward Six. I really appreciated their approach: to book reviews, to the art of writing. To art itself.

The reasons they give are sensible, yet I will be selfish and whinge that I am now left with oh so very few relevant, intelligent, knowledgeable literary blogs to follow.

Nonetheless, I wish John and Rhian all the best.

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Swirl

I am trying (desperately) to avoid a “boy, it’s been a wacky ride these last few months!” post. It certainly isn’t for lack of things to talk about, news to update you with, opinions to confess/shout.

Thing is, I don’t know who you are. Sure, I know there are some of you who are semi-regular visitors. There are others who happen upon this place by accident (via Blogger or StumbleUpon). There are also those who come here via Google searches, either via my name or – most likely – a book review (which admittedly I haven’t done in, oh, a year or so *). And no, this isn’t going to be a “Matt wittily evading accusations of being a lazy bastard by turning the camera on the reader” post.

I’ve been posting artsy stuff, writerly stuff, industry opinion stuff. I don’t mind the randomness, so long as there’s no fluff. I do mind the lack of output. I wish, for one, that I could post more photographs (which is to say, I wish I had a better selection of photos to post **).

It comes down to the fact that I’ve been working like a dog since May (note: this happens every year that I’m working on a SAW film). When I come out of these periods, I feel like Rip van Winkle: a little dazed, slow on the up-take. Whereas last year this time I started teaching, this time this year I am a student (part-time) †. I have a small (but good) feature and a small (but good and potentially controversial) TV show on my plate from now till February. If funds allow, I also hope to have an editor working with me on my novel, with an eye to approaching a publisher or self-publishing if that doesn’t seem feasible ††. I’m collaborating on a musical.

My plate is full.

– – – 

* which isn’t to say that I’m not reading or that I don’t want to do any more book reviews. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction, thank you. Much of it either out of professional or academic interest. However, if only to improve my Google ranking, here’s a quick book review of Antwerp by Roberto Bolaño: What the fuck was that? (ISBN-13: 978-0811217170)

** another casualty of working so much is my photography. I still have the same roll of film in my camera that I’d loaded in June. I think I’ve only taken 4 exposures since then. Of course, my cellphone camera gets all the fun these days, unfortunately.

† I will be continuing teaching, but for only two terms this year as opposed to three (which was exhausting and… exhausting)

†† It needs a new name, for one thing. And I know this is going to drive me up the wall more than any changes to the actual content of the book.

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Returning

Although this will go down as a formative, self-defining year, one of my great frustrations of 2009 is the inability to find the time and/or energy to collect, polish, publish all of the things, happenings, and concepts that come across my path – not even a healthy fraction. I’ve had more success capturing visuals but that’s due to being in the right place/time with a cellphone camera rather than wilfully executing a deliberate agenda.

Work is going like gangbusters, which I am thankful for, the novel is improving with every moment I spend revising it (helps that people actually want to read it), and most recently/surprisingly I have become a homeowner. Just two days ago I was offered a part-time teaching position from a respectable college for a respectable film/TV program.

And yet, at risk of portraying myself as spoilt (or tetched), it seems as if it’s not enough. I feel there is so much going on that I want to grab hold of: the recent (Twitter-inspired) trend of authors turning around and publicly accusing peers of personal attacks when in fact they are just doing their jobs (eg. book reviews), the aesthetics of stereoscopic imagery (that’s 3D for you junior rangers), and the way in which the world unravels and combines at the same moment in time like a Möbius strip, and what about the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo…?

It’s too much for me. Everything: life, art, work… I hit the mattress every night and practically pass out. I used to read… I read War & (f’ing) Peace in the time between laying down and actually sleeping. Luxury! says the current me. Mind you, he gets more sleep and perhaps has a better grasp on the whole “early to bed, early to rise” thing. Maybe I shouldn’t be visualizing the voice of “current me” as being spoken in the harsh brogue of a Scottish authoritarian.

Things felt as if they were falling apart in the spring, like when the aperture ring on my Zorki-4 came loose, right in the middle of shooting some nice “golden hour” shots on Dundas West (just south of Kensington Market) after a fallow 35mm winter. Little could I guess that within a few months I’d be living in a house just five minutes north of where I took these photos. Thankfully, most of them came out fine. Perhaps it was all an elaborate metaphor for being patient, for trying hard to see the forest rather than scrutinize the pines, the mouths of gift horses, etc.

This may all be true, if terribly clichéd. And who would give a horse as a gift in the first place?

This is not a lengthy letdown friends, as if to say that this blog has served its purpose and is to be cast onto the great cyber-somethingsomething where cyber-things are cast and probably set on fire. No, I will not be taking this blog on a walk into the woods, with Daddy and his shotgun. I’m just reaching a threshold where life is requiring more concentration and energy, leading me to ask (hello, rhetorical!) how imaginary magnitude can adapt to suit these changes without looking like an outmoded vehicle or an abandoned hobby (or both). Yes, as I said, rhetorical. But since when has rhetorical ever been a particularly devastating accusation?

Rhetoric is just a temporary building material, made up of the same stuff that kludges are moulded out of. Hope (if not faith), led by patience. That word again: patience. I think I met you somewhere, at a bar maybe, when I was younger and looking for your type. It is true that rhetoric cannot keep a tower standing, but it can inspire the building of towers.

Where am I going with this…right: things are odd, and unbalanced, and it all points to a giant (fictional) neon sign blinking just above my head, big-city halo-like, which says: TRANSITIONAL PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT. Fair enough (if not sexy).

I suppose I am writing this to say that I’m here for you, but not in the way that I was, which is not to say that I am not still here. My focus is changing, not changing for change’s sake but fermenting into something more stable and powerful. I guess, if I may go back and answer an earlier question, the reason why I am not as prolific here as before is that – now that I am slipping into a new stream of life – my energy must be treated as a finite commodity. Perhaps this, for now, is “success”, and I’m just looking at it like a paleontologist holding a magnifying glass against a piece of the Arctic ice shelf, unsure of what is before him.

Tell you what: when I find out, I’ll let you know. The long and short of it is that I’m still here, but here may be changing to suit my needs. We’ll see. We.

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