Friday, September 4, 2009

Yesterday morning I spoke with the disembodied voice of Tom Howell at the CBC’s downtown studio. Howell, calling from Toronto, works on The Next Chapter and has an online audio column as well.

It had been awhile since I’d done a radio interview. The CBC interviews I’d been hearing of late, those concerning fiction, focused on the authors’ latest books. And of those books, much of what was talked about seemed preoccupied with time (antiquity) and place (Newfoundland).

So naturally I was curious to see how this might go, given that my new book, 8x10, is deliberately vague with respect to temporal and spatial dimensions, the relationship between form and content being of greater interest to me.

Howell seemed to understand this, delving not only into the new book but also the body of work to which it belongs. Earlier books such as Company Town and Hard Core Logo were alluded to, as well as Kingsway and The Pornographer’s Poem.

The two best questions were those that I hadn’t seen coming. Why is it that the teacher in 8x10 and the teacher in The Pornographer’s Poem come to such a bad end? The second question concerned 8x10's gridded boxes, and are they analogous to the all-knowing Interrogator(s) in The Pornographer’s Poem?

Hearing these questions was not unlike waking from a dream that had me married to my sister. Although I realize interview questions are supposed to be addressed in the moment, these two remain with me, gnawing away. Despite having slept on them, I’m still on the couch, remote in hand, flipping from one to the other.

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