Look Out, I’m Coming At Ya [updated April 25th!]

Late April/early May is going to be busy with appearances! First up, I will be participating in the 35th annual Ad Astra Convention (happening April 29-May 1 in Toronto). UPDATE: I’m appearing on Sunday the 1st of May at 2pm on the panel The Trials and Tribulations of Writing About Time Travel (along with fellow authors Kari Maaren and Kelly Robson).

Then, on Saturday April 30 I will be taking part in Authors For Indies Day, working the floor at Type Books during their 10th Anniversary (Queen West location) from 12pm to 1pm. Come by and I will help you find books!

Lastly, I will be reading in Ottawa on Tuesday May 3rd at Patty Boland’s (101 Clarence Street). UPDATE: I’m appearing at 7pm, alongside authors Chadwick Ginther and Mark Shainblum. Event listing here.

Like I said: it’s busy!

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Interview on CIUT’s HOWL

CIUT logo

CIUT is the University of Toronto’s radio station

I’m going to be interviewed on CIUT’s literary program, HOWL, hosted by Nancy Bullis, this Tuesday (March 15). I’ll be speaking about The Society of Experience, writing, and whatever else comes up. We’ve got an hour, so I’m curious to see how this goes. I’ve never done radio before, so I look forward to the experience! The first thing I’ve learned is that THEY DON’T ALLOW COFFEE INTO THE STUDIO, which is…well, something I’m going to have to deal with, considering the show starts at 10pm.

If you’re interested in listening-in, the show is located on the local Toronto FM dial at 89.5, and is streamed live via various sources. Wish me luck!

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A Sweet Deal For Book Clubs

So, it appears The Society of Experience is becoming popular with book clubs in Canada and parts of the United States – this is wonderful news. As a token of my appreciation for this interest, I’m offering the following to anyone part of or organizing a book club: if you decide to add The Society of Experience to your book club’s reading list I will gladly make myself personally available to answer any questions you may have about the book, or writing in general. If you are in the Toronto area, I’m willing to make a personal appearance (time limited of course – please book early), otherwise I’m happy to connect with your group via Skype/Facetime or just plain ol’ email.

Get creative – throw me an idea! And remember, The Society of Experience is available in paperback and now eBook.

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Short Fiction: “Second World”

I have a new piece published with Found Press, who last published my story Snowshoe. The new story is called Second World and, like There Is This Thing Of You (published last month), it takes things in a more experimental (for me) narrative direction. Whereas There Is… was written in second-person perspective (a departure from third or first-person which are most common), Second World features a triptych of perspectives – one for each of the three characters/narratives. Respectively, First person, third person, and second person.

I should state here that I don’t like gimmicks. When I wrote There Is… I wasn’t intending on writing something in second-person. It just came out like that. As did this piece. I’m extremely proud of Second World.

From the synopsis: “Portraits of people marooned within themselves, trapped by their past experiences, by uncertainty and anxiety — individuals for whom each new situation is a grueling journey towards the present, a place where action and choice are possible. In Second World, Matt Cahill illustrates, with honesty and empathy, how the most important breakthroughs are not the life-altering revelations, but rather the minor miracles that get us through each day.”

Please enjoy.

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Short Fiction: “There Is This Thing Of You”

I am proud to put new works out into the world. My short fiction piece, There Is This Thing Of You, is something I’ve been polishing for a number of years and I’m happy that it found a home with the online literary journal The Rusty Toque.

While it’s free to read, please consider donating to The Rusty Toque if you like what you see (and please check out the other great authors – like poets Madhur Anand and Eva H.D.)

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An Interview With rob mclennan

I was contacted by rob mclennan (he spells it lowercase, and who am I to argue with this?) to take part in his ongoing 12 or 20 (second series) Q&A. He asks some great (and sometimes challenging) questions about writing, the process, and influences. Any writers out there might find this interesting. Please enjoy.Photo of yours truly

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Too Much Change

So much has happened…

– sold house (add to this: renovated house)

– bought condo (add to this: mourning house, moving)

– moved psychotherapy practice to newly-leased office (add to this: find office space, renovate, move)

– had my application to the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario accepted

– began intense revision process on novel (coming out in September)

So there you have it. I also hope to have a new short story published around the time my novel comes out, so yeah. All hands on deck at the moment.

I leave you with the cover for my novel, The Society of Experience:

 

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Adventures in Shitty Writing Advice, Part #1

There is a lot of free advice out there for fiction writers on the Internet. Much of it is vague, subjective (to the point of not being clear who it’s intended for), or just plain bad.

Here’s one that instantly didn’t make sense to me:

“Don’t write your story until you’ve plotted it out and know what it is you’re going to write first.”

 

It’s entirely possible that someone, for example, who is new to writing may start a story without having a structured narrative in mind and find themselves unable to sort it out.

However, is the problem really not having a preconceived story figured-out beforehand? Or is the problem that you aren’t allowing yourself patience (and perhaps a little bit of outlining on the side)? Depending upon how experienced a writer you are, or how comfortable you are reaching into your imagination, perhaps it’s a question of giving yourself the time (and opportunity) for perspective, say, looking at your piece after a week’s break with a new set of eyes?

Writing fiction, for me, is an exploration. It’s a journey, regardless of what it’s about, even if I happen to know the beginning, middle, and end of the story. What makes it a journey is the discovery of your characters’ depth and how this inflects the arc of the story; it’s developing your idea into something more than two dimensional. Having something planned out does not always necessitate a successful venture. If I knew everything that was going to happen in advance, I’m not sure I would be quite as excited than if I felt there was an unknown variable or challenge to what I was working on. You’re writing a story, not raising a house.

I would wager that, particularly if you are a new or emerging writer, waiting until you have figured out the structure of the story in advance before attacking it only delays your ability to put what you have in your mind into some sort of form (and using that as a starting point). Learn as you go, in other words. Explore.

Note: I mentioned “outlining”. What’s that? Well, sometimes it’s good to have some notes on the go while you are working on a story. These notes can be as simple as the question “What’s it about?” (so that you stay on track and don’t let your story become something too burdened with marginalia or tangential), or maybe the notes keep track of themes and ideas, or characters’ thoughts that you are trying to develop in the piece.

 

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So, Another Year (A Needle Pulling Thread)

2013 was good to me, which is not to say that it was without challenges. I suppose it was a cluttered year, and I will take that over barren, even if I’m feeling exhausted.

I had two articles published, on two topics that I took personal interest in: the shape of Kensington Market, and the 10th anniversary of SARS. They both involve Toronto, but aside from that they don’t hold much in common. I took great pride in writing them and each provided healthy challenges for me as a writer.

The biggest news, for me as a writer and an individual, was having my novel picked up by Hamilton publisher, Wolsak & Wynn. Of course, there is a lot of work to be done until its publication date in 2015, but it’s about the biggest milestone for me as a writer that I could have asked for (a big shout-out to my agent, Kelvin Kong, with The Rights Factory).

And yet it was also a year where my psychotherapy practice grew and broadened. This February will mark the completion of two years of private practice and I could not be happier with it, though like starting anything new and independent there are always going to be challenges. I began working with couples in the summer and found myself liking the dynamic very much, though working with the energy in the room can be taxing.

I’m not completely out of the woods with respect to the film industry. I started work on Bruce McDonald’s new feature, Hellions, as a post supervisor/consultant. It’s difficult juggling this type of work with therapy – two different parts of my brain which don’t always play well: the anticipatory, structure-based, logic-seeking left brain vs the open-ended, empathetic, creative right.

I would like to top 2013, but I don’t know if that will happen in 2014. I would certainly like to complete the first draft of my new novel. But it’s a tough nut to crack and doesn’t want to be rushed. My greatest challenge as a writer with respect to new work will be combining the worlds – and words – of therapy and writing: finding a project in which to write from the viewpoint of a therapist. I see this as an inevitability and I would prefer to jump in the pool rather than be pushed. I look forward to the days to come.

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