Great news: The Utility of Boredom is now available in a French edition — De l’utilité de l’ennui — from the Montreal-based publisher Les éditions de ta mère. The book was translated by Daniel Grenier and William S. Messier, and will be officially published on September 25th.
“Horses,” a story originally published in May of 2016 by Found Press, is now available as a limited edition, hand-bound chapbook, lovingly crafted by FP founder Bryan Ibeas. Head to his Etsy store to order a copy, and while you’re at it pick up chapbooks written by the likes of Seyward Goodhand, Liz Harmer, Grace O’Connell, Kirsty Logan, Kathryn Mocker, Matt Cahill, and others.
Loveless, motherless, we were submerged beneath cartoonish desires to be the men we thought we could have been whe we were nineteen and twenty-two. But at thirty and thirty-three we weren’t, and it likely had never been possible. That’d been someone’s joke.
— “Emmylou,” new fiction for Maisonneuve
The American culture industry was shipping out products like White Christmas with reliable regularity— trifles made not without some care and craft, but generally with little eye toward longevity, and certainly no expectation that they become time capsules of the era’s subcutaneous anxiety. But some, including White Christmas, were dipped in the waters of dread, and they still bear the mark.
— On White Christmas and the Great America that never was, for Sinkhole Magazine
Mark Kingwell will be in Peterborough on March 22nd to discuss his new book, Fail Better: Why Baseball Matters. I’ll be on hand to host the event and lead the conversation. Free event, all welcome.
The numbers jumped. Why deny it? When, in 1991, MLB awarded Denver a franchise, set to begin play in ’93, it was certainly not a surprise to baseball’s braintrust to learn that the city’s elevation would have an ameliorative effect on the flight of baseballs. That might even have been the point…. But, like performance-enhancing substances, thin air won’t turn nothing into something. Larry Walker, as his pre- and non-Denver numbers attest, could hit.
— “Larry Walker Belongs in Cooperstown,” for VICE Sports Canada
Throughout Code’s work, characters—usually young males—latch onto codices, texts or cultural relics out of the past in order to graft some measure of meaning onto their lives. They go in search of designs for living and often find them in unusual places. It might be chess, or music, or, as in the case of Code’s 2010 Journey Prize winning story, “Uncle Oscar,” croquet. His characters are in search of totems as well as shibboleths—that is, proof of their own identity, and a means of locating others who share their beliefs.
— I reviewed Devon Code’s novel, Involuntary Bliss, for the Literary Review of Canada
Here’s the truth of it: the game makes sense. Down there on the field we know just what’s at stake. It’s a cleaner, truer expression of ourselves. It’s something to make the hair on our arms stand up, something to hold dear and pass along and worry over. But here’s the rest of that truth: it promises more torment and frustration than most of us would otherwise willingly invite into our lives. It requires loss and pain and heartbreak. It’s not easy, not if you’re doing it right.
— “Home,” from The Utility of Boredom