If your childhood was anything like mine, you were probably a dirty little thief—by which I mean: if you spotted an unsupervised book, well, who’s to say it wasn’t your book in the first place?
My parents used to read to me, but largely not from children’s material. They read to me whatever they were reading, with some substitutions. My mother adores Whodunits—especially those by Sue Grafton, Dick Francis, and Ian Rankin—but probably thought the genre was too adult for her six-year-old, so she would pull out her favourite novels from high school. Or, if she was researching, I would get half an article about the role species classification of foraminifera has in mapping potential oil deposits off the Scotian Shelf for the Canadian petroleum industry. Or, occasionally, whatever chapter she had assigned to her second-year geophysics students.
My father would read anything you put in his hands, and then my father would read to me. West with the Night, Birds without Wings. A book where the speaker imagined herself a girlhood friend of Mary before the fame and infamy of the Virgin Birth. A book I recommended to him: No Fireworks. Nonfiction of all varieties: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Last Train to Paradise. We would go back and forth reading to one another. I always called him when I found myself wandering around a bookstore. I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled a book from my bookshelf only to realise it actually belonged to my father (and he had let me get away with nicking it from him).
The ways other children played house or doctor or school was how I played writer. I would bind whole reams of dot-matrix paper and meticulously line each page with scratches and streaks to imitate printed works, and then march around to family, babysitters, and patient neighbours, giving “readings” from my books.
Now I’m here—starting a blog at the cusp of
my teaching and writing career.
Not Your Mother’s Bookshelf is still a little wobbly. Please bear with me—the beginning will be a little choppy as I figure out a posting calendar and exactly how to format and layout what I want to accomplish. There’s a nifty tab in the top menu for Literary Nova Scotia that tells you all about the book scene at home, like The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is promoting, what my poet-mentors and dear friends Shauntay Grant, Wanda Campbell, and Sue Goyette are doing these days, and what Andrew Steeves & Gaspereau Press (creators of the most beautiful books in the world) have in the works. Publications is where you’ll find me tooting my own horn: links to the journals, presses, or contests that have accepted my poems (yay!) and also where my nearest and dearest can be found, too.
My blog portion is largely going to be concise and dramatic snapshots of the latest thing I’ve read, where I’ve just sent submission packets, recent readings I’ve been to, and whether or not my thesis advisors put any checkmarks on my most recent drafts. I’ll try to be exciting with monthly features—September is #SeptWomenPoets so look out for that post!—and also come up with some kind of posting schedule. This post will stay sticky on the front page as I keep building up the first flush of content, and then it’ll retreat to its proper place in the timeline.