I thought I would let everyone know that my debut novel, The Society of Experience, is now available as an ebook for Kobo readers. Please enjoy!
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.”
My year-of-years continues with blessings – I was profiled in the December issue of Quill & Quire, the major trade publication for publishers and booksellers in Canada. Although the feature isn’t likely to be posted online, I’m attaching a photo below taken from my smartphone. The December issue is still on newstands if you are interested in picking up a copy.
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.)
Just a quick note to say that there is now a website for my novel – available now and launching tomorrow night in Toronto – The Society of Experience. You can find it here. It comes complete with a streaming audio playlist of songs and artists featured in the novel, as well as a map showing where much of the book takes place. Please enjoy responsibly.
In anticipation of Word On The Street (September 27th, Harbourfront) and the release of my book, The Society of Experience, I was asked todo a Q&A with Open Book. It was a refreshing exercise, seeing as they were just as interested in Ontario as where I lived, Toronto. The thing is I’m qualified to speak of both: I moved a lot as a kid, from town to town. I’ve only lived in Toronto since 1995 (20yrs this month). It got me thinking about my influences growing up, among other things.
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:
Right now, it’s about keeping my energy and clarity in some sort of balance with the demands of reality, whose shifting path I have been navigating for the last while.
I am, by all rights, completing work on the last film I will ever work on. I say this with understandable trepidation since walking away from something you’ve done for 20 years, swinging to a new vine which depends solely on me and me alone: intimidating. Also experiencing the predictable though nevertheless white-knuckle bullshit of completing work on a film.
My psychotherapy practice is humming along nicely, which I am grateful for.
I am awaiting editorial notes on my novel, The Society of Experience, and hoping that they are neither too overwhelming nor the window I am given to do them within too short. Nobody wants to publish a bad book–that’s the good news and the bad news.
I am gratified by the progress I have made as a writer this year, not only in that I had a short story published, but that I feel I have turned a corner with respect to my writing process and the way I approach the development of stories.
I still have bad habits, but that’s what keeps life interesting.
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.