Recent Reviews & Stuff

TDR Revived

Posted three new interviews today on The Danforth Review, all part of the revived and revised TDR, now focused on the short story and interviews with short story writers.

I have been reading new fiction submissions for a couple of weeks now, but just this morning posted the first new content on TDR in over two years, interviews with Zsuzsi Gartner, Jessica Westhead and Rebecca Rosenblum.

Turducken, the first day of school, and cancer

“Go big or go home,” Steve Carrell’s character says in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and it might not be the most subtle response to cancer, but what the heck, it’s better than get rich or die tryin’.

One year ago, on the first day of school, September 2010, my wife, Kate, and I dropped the kids off at school (then starting grades one and five), then went out for breakfast, then went downtown to await for her appointment at the breast cancer clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital.

She had found a lump a couple of days earlier and was scheduled for an ultrasound. Her referring doctor had pressed on her that she should press for a biopsy. The ultrasound technician agreed and they stabbed an enormous needle in her chest.

Confirmation of cancer would come two weeks later, but by then we weren’t surprised.

Tomorrow is the first day of school and an anniversary of sorts. In the past 12 months, Kate has enduring six chemotherapy “treatments” (18 weeks), surgery to remove her left breast and a dozen lymph nodes in her left arm, five weeks (25 daily doses) of radiation, the ongoing physical and psychological pain of all of the above and the additional indignities of the side-effects of ongoing hormone drug treatment.

And she has consistently blogged at Auntie Cake’s Shop.

Yes, we both had panic attacks, fearing she would die. Or what would happen if she died. Or how are we going to get through all of this.

The kids, I have to say, have been remarkably resilient. Of course it has often been hard. Sometimes irredeemably hard. But they have taught me much about how to keep on keepin’ on.

Which brings me to the turducken, a turkey stuffed with a chicken and a duck. All of the birds need to be de-boned. Then you BBQ at roughtly 400F for eight hours.

Sound crazy? Well, go big or go home.

We rented a cottage for the end of the summer, our chance to leave cancer behind and relax and jump in the lake and …  prepare turducken.

Because, why not? Because, life is for living.

But, man o man, it took me 90 minutes to de-bone the turkey. And an hour to de-done the chicken. Kate de-boned the duck and made the stuffing.

All told, it took us three day to prepare this thing! (Video evidence of parts of the process and the results are below.)

Writer Interviews Added

I’ve added a new page with links to interviews and profiles of authors I’ve done since 1995.

The list includes Douglas Glover, Mark Anthony Jarman, John Lavery, and Greg Hollingshead, four short story writers I greatly admire.

Also included are interviews with Gwendolyn MacEwen’s biographer, Rosemary Sullivan, Alden Nowlan’s biography, Gregory M. Cook, the editor of John Newlove’s Selected Poems, Robert McTavish, and interviews with Carrie Snyder, Evelyn Lau, Lynn Coady, Leon Rooke, Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, Emily Pohl-Weary and K.I. Press, among others.

Most of these interviews were done for The Danforth Review.