Inspiring Creators

Aug 212007

cons-thumb.jpgJust coming down from the high of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival where we not only found an excited audience for our new graphic novel (we sold 90 copies in two days!) but I got to sit beside my favourite comic maker at the convention, Carla Speed McNeil — who, incidentally, I first heard about through the first TCAF when we were on a self-publishing panel together. I did a quick 20 minute interview with her and we talked about why she creates anachronistic science fiction societies, how she gets around the fact that her work is complex and hard to promote, and the development of her sin-eating aboriginal bad-boy.

Download the MP3 here.

Keep reading to hear about the other amazing cons I went to this summer, as well as some tips for enjoying them! Continue reading »

Jul 312007

Ariel Gore gets the word out thereI’ve always prided myself on the fact that the DIY publishing articles on this site have a certain lack of, shall we say, bullshit. And normally, a book called How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead would smell a little funky to me. However, Ariel Gore, Hip Mama mag creator and indie culture maven wrote this book, and like all her books (I’m particularly fond of her memoir Atlas of the Human Heart) it is excellent. As well as sharing her own considerable experience, she interviews folks like Ursula K. Le Guin, Dave Eggers, and even me, and manages to pack more wisdom and practical advice than I’ve ever seen in a book of its ilk. (It had an extremely high nods-per-minute ratio.) She even gets the folks she interviews to give “assignments” at the end, making it a writing class unto itself. Plus it’s extremely readable — I intended to skim to find something to excerpt but I found myself sucked in and reading most of it. Below is one of my favourite sections in the book. Continue reading »

Mar 042007

Expozine 2006 posterartRevolver #2, which consists of an excerpt of Salgood Sam and my upcoming graphic novel Therefore Repent!, has been nominated for the Expozine Alternative Press Award for best comic. It’s an offshoot of the awesome Montreal zine fair, one of the more successfully bilingual events I’ve been to. This is the second time they’ve done the award and, although I have fairly ambiguous feelings about prizes and competitions, I think the attention it draws to underexposed artists is definitely a Good Thing.

Case in point, a nominee in last year’s Expozine competition The Hero Book by Scott Waters.

Scott’s a pal, and the book is great, but he’s a curmudgeon. Not likely to tour, or do readings, or talk to people, he’s not exactly a media magnet. But awards like the Expozine Award give a context in which to talk about him. Or, in this case, interview him. Continue reading »

Jan 282007

recommendations-thumb.jpgMark Slutsky is an old friend and longtime collaborator — we’ve written screenplays together and he’s acted in shorts of mine — and his studio, Automatic Vaudeville, has recently released a hilarious comedy under a Creative Commons licence for free download. The Recommendations is a 55 minute mockumentary about the horrible violence bubbling just under the genteel surface of Canadian literature. A showcase for their obvious goofball humour as well as their subtler cultural savvy, it’s my favourite of the Montreal movie studio’s almost fifty productions. To watch a trailer, read a short interview with Mark, and find out how to download it, keep reading. Continue reading »

Jan 072007

Helen at her book launchOn the day I met Helen and Paul, we had just made the long train trip from Montreal to Halifax and I was trying to decide between showering and eating before my book launch — I figured it might be hard to find vegan food in a new city and I didn’t have time for both. Paul, who’d picked us up, ushered us into a cosy kitchen to meet Helen. She offered me some stew, and regretfully — both because I was hungry and because I always felt bad rejecting people’s hospitality — I told her that I was hard to feed: I was vegan.

“We’re vegan too!” Helen exclaimed.

This was a lovely introduction to the delightful paradox of Helen and Paul. Continue reading »

Dec 202006

Susan as collaged by Margaux Williamson.Susan’s birthday is today, and last night she finished off the last academic assignment for her doctorate. That’s only one of the many things she’s pulled off this year — being her husband I might be biased, but I think her 33rd year was pretty amazing.

As a biochem grad student, Susan has pretty much a full-time job at a lab where she’s been publishing papers, training students and doing real science type stuff with gels and microscopes and a labcoat of her own. Last year she started a group on campus and a zine (LadyScientist) to talk about the issue of women in science. (Interesting fact that we just discovered this week: University of Toronto has the widest wage discrepancy between male and female professors in Canada.) This year she’s been dealing with the same issues, just in a fantastic variety of ways… Continue reading »