So yesterday was a huge night for me…
After graduating from Concordia and putting years of work into my writing, I have received yesterday my first literary award. That’s right, the Expozine Alternative Press Award for Best English Book was awarded to A Teenage Suicide and it came with this amazing blurb.
“Truman’s third self-published novel follows a group of friends working through late adulthood issues of identity, depression, and lots of tough choices. Set in and around Montreal and in particular its punk, art, activist and student scenes, its down-to-earth raconteur style provides an enduring snapshot of young-adult life in the big city today.”
For those of you who don’t know about it, Expozine is Montreal’s bilingual small press, zine and comic fair. It has been going on for almost ten years now in Montreal’s notorious Mile-End district and is often the best place to make a name for yourself as a young author in the city.
This really means a lot to me and I do hope to use it as a springboard for my future projects.
I want to send thanks and praises to the people who worked on it :
Benoit Lelièvre, Editor.
Lori Hettler, Proof-reading and creative comment.
Mary Lee Maynard, Photographer (and lovely spouse)
Also, the three models who agreed to work for very cheap, Charles Laurier, Marianne Lapointe and Catherine Ripchensky.
“Expozine is organized by Arcmtl, a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting and preserving local independent culture, and is made possible in part thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.” – Expozine website.
You can find everything here in both French and English : http://expozine.ca/en/awards/2013-2/
So, it’s 2014 and so far. I had sex, a decent bagel, coffee and I played a fairy and sorceress card game with my daughter… I also finished editing notes on a side project, the whole family’s in the living room, writing, drawing, creating (while listening to Bjork).
So far it’s a good representation of what my life has become in the past year. We are FAR from my hochelaga/factory years (man, 2005-2006 was almost ten years ago!) I can honestly say that I love my life very much. I’m madly in love with my spouse, my daughter is 4 and a half which means we’re DEFINITELY done with all the horrible crap that comes with young, young kids (diapers, puke, picking up food from the floor, having to teach her basic human decency, you don’t sleep nearly enough, the family’s always broke, the stress is high. It might sound horrible, but I did not enjoy being a dad THAT much when Kaelie was young but MAN am I having fun now!
We (well, Mary) has an arts studio where she (and I, sometimes) get to actually work (We used to have our “studio” at home in the freaking bedroom, it’s really not a good place to work : the cats destroy everything you do, you lose your shit all the time, the artworks get mixed up with the laundry, you go to sleep in plaster dust and the smell of glue or plastic…) So I’M WAAAY happy about that (plus it sounds really cool when you get to say “Oh! Yeah! I’d have to drop by the studio to get that.” Might be a little bit vain, I like it anyways.
I guess the low point of 2013 was my professional life. It’s stalling on some fronts, but slowly growing on other. I still have my warehouse job but I’m really not that committed to it. I had hoped to become a boss this year, I worked for it, I’d say I’ve proven my worth and I still didn’t get it. (they switched the “nature” of the job I wanted so that it was purely an administrative position now, which is not something I wanted.) So I’m stuck in the basement warehouse for now, but you know what, that’s good because I’ve accepted that I don’t really want to be a boss anyways, what I am, is an artist.
And 2013 has not been bad on that front either. I’ve become close friends with some of the nicest, most interesting people I’ve ever met (I’m talking about you Neda and Sterling). I’ve reunited with an old, lost friend I missed more than I imagined (that’s you, Kenny) and we have written some of the best, aggressive music I have even been involved with.
As far as writing goes, I’ve published my best work so far (A Teenage Suicide) and although sales aren’t there at all, I can safely say it was both emotionally challenging and satisfying to write. I’ve also published a poetry collection that is doing better than expected. I’ve learned how to do covers pretty well this last year and so, the cover for “Northern Gothic” has cost me a grand total of 3$ to produce, so even though I’ve only sold a few copies (ebooks) from it, it’s my first officially profitable book.
I’ve also published my first translation. The Factory Line is now available in French as “La Shop.”
As far as sales go, it’s been a slow year to start with, but I’ve had a stronger December than I expected. I’m learning a lot of things as I publish more and more works. My early works are getting some attention now which landed me twice in bestselling categories (if only for a day) for both Satire and Noir. As it happens, I write stuff that is hard to sell, but I’m satisfied emotionally and intellectually by it, so profits are really a secondary thing to me.
In other artistic news, I’ve started painting a few weeks ago. While my technique still requires some work, I’m getting the hang of it and most of all, I really, really enjoy it.
So that was 2013.
And now, moving on to 2014. I’m setting the bar pretty high for 2014.
1- This Spring I’ll publish my sixth book (fourth novel), “Grand Trunk and Shearer” and while I love A Teenage Suicide, Grand Trunk and Shearer will be my “Mystic River.” I like it that much.
2- I expect to translate A Teenage Suicide in French for this summer. The title will be “L’été d’un suicide” and I have one professor form L’Assomption Cegep (the town where most of the story takes part) who I met at Expozine, he said he wanted a copy of the french translation, saying that if he liked it, he might even teach it to his students. We’ll see where that goes.
3- I want to be at the MAC with my paintings. If not this year, I’m going to apply to the next Biennale de Montréal. I know, it’s probably arrogant to even thing about it, but it’s in the plans.
4 – I’ve found a better gym where I can train away from he douchebags and preppies that plagued the place where I was training. I’m not that social and I certainly don’t like these guys, so I’m happy about that. I also want to get back to martial arts and they teach Tai-Chi there as well so I’m really happy about that (and it fits with my work/family schedule which is UNBELIEVABLE).
5 – And, perhaps the biggest news, is that this year, I’ll begin my transition from novels fo films. I’ve been working on two separate projects, one of which would be plan A and the other one plan B, but the options are there.
I can’t go into details out of respect for the people involved (no confirmations have been set yet) but I’ve talked it over with Mary and we have plans for me to take an unpaid leave sometime in the next year to work on that. I enjoy writing novels, but the truth is that I’ve watched at least one movie every day for as long as I can remember and I want to get to that. So if Yahweh doesn’t hate me too much, I’ve planned out some camera workshops for the next year, see if I can do a few shorts in preparation for my larger projects.
You could say I have a big year in front of me, but man, I’ve had it so good lately, it would be insulting not to aim that high.
I love everyone of you in my life,
So, after a bunch of people suggesting I change both the cover and the title of “tales”, I’ve come to my senses came up with “Low Down” as a title and changed the cover to a more straight-forward noir look.
The reasons why I did this are simple: it appeared as a collection of short stories to the reader, the cover was too close to a lot of the self-published mystery novels and “Low Down” is not a “mystery” book per say. I don’t know. I do prefer the new cover, feels more like me.
If there was a category such as “neo-noir”, I’d be a happy author right now, but there ain’t so…
That’s pretty much it. Like it or don’t, it’s not ALLLL that important anyways. But updating all the files on all of the sites does require a few days (or weeks) to process, so don’t get your titles mixed…
Hey everyone, here’s the first of four covers for my upcoming novel, A Teenage Suicide.
Photo by Mary Lee Maynard, I ended up being the model because the previous shoot with Vincent Harnois didn’t turn out fit for print (not enough sun). The layout is by me.
The launch so far is planned for September, with a “paper” launch in Montreal and ebooks worldwide.
I still got two more photo shoots to do plus one cover to edit, I’ll keep you posted.
So, I’ve finally released my first collection of poetry titled Northern Gothic.
It was a project that I’ve been putting aside for too long and now that A Teenage Suicide (my next full lenght novel) is in the hands of my proof-reader I finally had time to work on some side projects.
So here it is, available as an ebook through Kindle or in print at Lulu.com
Northern Gothic is a collection of poetry in four parts.
I didn’t try to reinvent language. I have little use for new ways to twist your tongue and play with words.This is not that kind of book, these are not those kinds of poems. Most of them do not follow any specific form and it wasn’t even intentional.
Most of them just got out that way and I decided to remain as truthful to the original feeling of the poem as possible. In all things of life, I am a pretty straight forward man. Northern Gothic is a collection of tall tales, slices of life, changes of heart struggles, hopes and contradictions.
It’s about real life, about living in the East end of Montreal, dreaming about the north, working in warehouses and factories, trying to go to back to school or founding a family.
It ain’t always pretty and it ain’t always bad. One thing is for sure, these poems are always honest and that’s one thing we could all use a bit more of these days.
Take care, Ian.