A lot of baseball literature gets bogged down in numbers and abstract statistics. Writers often forget what the game feels like. Forbes doesn’t. Perhaps what makes his book successful is that he approaches it with the same measured composure as a player does the game. Boredom and excitement coexist elegantly in The Utility of Boredom, just as they do upon the baseball field. In Forbes’ estimation, it’s an antithetical but necessary relationship. And, in baseball, he locates their ideal synthesis.
— Joseph Thomas
The Puritan, continuing their generous support of the work of Canadian writers and independent publishers, shines a light on The Utility of Boredom in “‘Makes You Want to Talk About Baseball:’ A Conversation on Andrew Forbes’s The Utility of Boredom,” by Thomas, Myra Bloom, and E. Martin Nolan
Baseball, like Whitman, gives me glimpses of what once was, scraps of history with varying degrees of relevance to the way we/they live now. Mostly it’s myth and symbol, lingering ideas and images that please but don’t do much to inform.
— at The Town Crier blog, I spoke with E Martin Nolan about the connection between Whitman and baseball, for The Puritan‘s annual Omnibus Interview
The Puritan has published a detailed and thoughtful review/critical essay of What You Need, written by Jeremy Hanson-Finger. I’m grateful to the author as well as to the editors of The Puritan for the light they shine on independent Canadian literature.
From “I Just Wanna Be Around Adults, Really: Masculinity in Andrew Forbes’ What You Need“:
What You Need […] explores the negative effects of this nostalgia for simple male archetypes with a combination of earnestness and satire. […] Forbes’s greatest success is in taking the high tragedy out of traditionally masculine narratives. His best stories elicit a sense of loss—not for unfulfilled archetypes, but for people who could have contributed to society in a more meaningful and responsible way if they had relinquished outmoded definitions of manhood…
The music of Led Zeppelin is a thrilling, seductive, and ultimately dishonest reflection of an unreasonable form of masculinity.
— Over at The Town Crier, I answered Tyler Willis’s question about aging, identity, nostalgia, and Led Zeppelin as part of an “Omnibus Interview” of Puritan contributors who’ve released books in 2015. Big thanks to Tyler and all the Puritan braintrust for being so good to me and all authors whose work they continue to nurture and promote.
On Friday, November 28th, the folks behind The Puritan, who published my story “Jamboree” back in the spring of this year, will be hosting their annual Black Friday celebration. I’ll be doing a short reading along with a slew of other wonderful writers. Dancing and madness to follow. If you’re in Toronto, I hope you’ll think about coming.
Check the Facebook event page for all relevant info.
All of it suggests to me the role of fiction as a way of holding onto places, especially small, forgotten ones. To depict such places, and to populate them with characters, is to offer rebuttal to assumptions of innocence or cultural backwardness, of their being forgettable, simply because they are being forgotten by so many of us. It is to say that all of the things which make such places unfamiliar to urban dwellers are just surface. They mean very little. In these places, as in every other place, there is character, and story, and the ways in which people succeed and fail, and it’s all worthy of our attention.
— From my Author Note on The Town Crier, written to accompany “Jamboree,” recently published by The Puritan.
There was a field behind me, and country music, a kind of bullshit good time hokum, people dancing in stupid hats, people sitting in lawn chairs keeping time on their knees, people having sex behind Porta Potties. I could hear it all, though of course I couldn’t really hear any of it. It was fifteen minutes down 7, or a hundred miles away, or a thousand. But it was there, in my ears, as Frank’s spade cut the sod and Cub stood holding his can of vodka cooler. How do people have fun, I wondered.
The Puritan (“Frontiers of New English”) has published my story “Jamboree” in their Spring 2014 issue. You can read it here, and you can (and should) also read stories by Trevor Corkum and Victoria Hetherington, poems by Liz Worth, Sarah Pinder, and others, interviews, etc.
Thanks to the editors and readers at The Puritan for making this happen.