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The Viral Appeal of Baroness Von Sketch

Posted on Aug 3, 2016

The Viral Appeal of Baroness Von Sketch

I wrote about my current favourite comedy show for the Walrus: The Viral Appeal of Baroness Von Sketch by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer There comes a time in a woman’s life between age thirty-five and death that I call cronedom, a period so abhorrent society does its utmost to neuter it, to shut the lid on its earthy melody. Apparently, nothing happens for women in cronedom—we just get wise and sit around waiting for someone to require our expertise. The crone shrivels up and dies patiently waiting and waiting. (Keep reading here)...

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Wilhelm Homberg’s Excreta

Posted on Aug 3, 2016

Wilhelm Homberg’s Excreta

Here is a scatological story I wrote. Shawn Syms has published it in the Winnipeg Review: Wilhelm Homberg’s Excreta By Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer (Wilhelm Homberg’s pyrophorus was originally discovered in the process of trying to make an oil that would transmute mercury to silver) The four young men I hired for the job are magnificent. I supply Gonesse bread, bought each Wednesday and Saturday at market, and wrapped in dampened linen in between to keep the loaves soft. The men may eat nothing else. This is the finest white bread in all Paris—in all the world, I might add. And for drinking, let water not pass their lips. Only champagne. This is the recipe upon which I harvest the finest pyrophorus. I have forgotten the names of my boys, but I have the curve of their torsos to memory. It is true that two of them look alike, and I sometimes mix them up. But when I watch them take exercise each day, I know them. I know the way their muscles undulate. By God, they are strong! And they are singular in their expulsion, too—oh, yes, I witness my boys excrete. (Keep reading it...

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Dear A-hole

Posted on Jul 5, 2016

(cross-posting from FB because I want easy access to this at all times. A letter to a stranger)   Dear A-hole, My tits did not arrive at the corner of Bloor and Huron as an invitation to the over-achieved ego you keep zipped into your massive testes sac. I will not “take it off” for you although the dazzle of the truth of it if I did would likely strike you dumb for the rest of your pitiable life. I am not sure which part of your inane comment and my reaction to it left you in the state of “leer grin” for half a block either but let me hope that the brief encounter you just had with a genuine goddess has somehow inoculated you and that you may actually rise up and reach a troglodyte level of existence, one that might serve you well in your lonely lonely life. To the rest of you. If you have ever said anything obnoxious to a woman about her body, even if it was just rude, or just a little bit out of line, even if it was five years ago, or twenty-five or fifty-five, take your fucking knuckle headed ego, scratch a little wound in it, and go and fucking apologize. Don’t say, “I apologize.” Pull out all the stops and say, “I am really fucking sorry. I am so totally fucking sorry. There is no excuse for my bad behaviour.” One more thing. There has been a lot of backlash about the so-called man-hating feminist. This backlash is wrong. Bring her back. I am so sick of pretending not to hate men when men consistently underperform. If these men were cars, they would long have been recalled. Please for the love of St Wilgefortis, stop being such complete and fucking ridiculous assholes. Sincerely,...

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Horny Little Capybaras

Posted on May 26, 2016

Horny Little Capybaras

Horny Little Capybaras by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer In the years since she’d been dumped, the capybara problem had gotten so bad she couldn’t let Solomon out alone. Kristen went to the Mark’s Work Wearhouse on Keele and bought one of those fluorescent orange raincoats and a vest and then splurged on several pairs of fluorescent orange socks, because she was fashionable. She devoted herself—with significant resentment—to her new position as crossing guard at the corner of Bloor and Quebec, an unpaid, volunteer position she created for herself because it gave her an easy view of the park, which is where they lived, where they…scurried. The problem started six years earlier and was a direct result of a botched mating scheme on the part of a misguided zookeeper in High Park. On that day, mid-May if she recalled correctly, two horny little capybaras had escaped their enclosure and did precisely what you would expect from horny little capybaras. Cabybaras, if you don’t already know, can have up to eight live babies at a time. They mate in water, which in Kristen’s opinion was a little too porno, and was also, in her opinion, where the team of frantic conservationalists and capybara fanatics should probably have gone looking for them in the first place. Certainly, these days, the herd tended to languish down at the pond, or even further south, at the lake, gazing out to the horizon. That is to say, you could find them there if they weren’t marauding through the brush, whistling through their sexy noses at each other and reproducing. “They’re cute,” Sol had said to her that morning. “They are filth made manifest.” “Look at their adorable buck teeth.” “That never stop growing.” “Mum, I can walk to school on my own.” “No, Sol. No you can’t.” Kristen had basically taken it upon herself to (wo)man the entire route Solomon took to and from school—up Ellis, along Bloor, and down to Runnymede and then its reverse on the way home—and while he was safe and indoors, she stood guard for any kid needing safe passage along the park. It wasn’t unusual these days for capybara battalions to saunter up Bloor, making it impossible for traffic to penetrate. Someone had recently witnessed a group capybara love-in at the wading pool in the north end of park, and she had not been able to repress the visual of the description—thrashing water, nasal trills, and a crescendo of whiny culminations. Who knew rodents had such vibrant, noisy relations? She did not want Solomon or any other minor to be exposed to this. She looked up Quebec Street to discover a man in a trench coat coaxing five renegade capybaras away from the subway opening. “Scoot,” he said. “Scoot.” “Oh, brother,” she muttered, when she realized the man was Mel Cotton, aka Solomon’s dad, aka the last person on earth she ever wanted to see. She turned away and tried to look inconspicuous but it was too late. He’d seen her. “Kristen! Hey, nice to see you.” She hated his manipulative friendliness, his bon vivance, if that was a thing. “Oh, Mel, hi.” “They’re everywhere.” “Right?” “Breeding like flies.” Clichéd, she thought, but okay. “Yeah.” She preferred not to speak about breeding with Mel. “I’m patrolling the perimeter,” she said, and gestured to High Park. Mel nodded. “I wanted to be highly visible,” she added, suddenly self-conscious about her outfit. “You look good in highly visible attire,” Mel said. What was she supposed to say to that? She just stared, scrolling through options in her mind until the silence became awkward,...

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Fabulous Fabulism

Posted on Apr 27, 2016

Fabulous Fabulism

I spent last weekend at a Lacanian Conference in Colorado Springs—which is to say, I spent the weekend listening to the unconscious desires of a whole lot of theorists talking about things like: what is repressed when a symbolic leader is privileged, how love emerges in quiet ways, how silence can be radical (ask Bartleby the Scrivener), how an analyst listens for telling puns, since punning is a portal to the unconscious. My paper was about Robinson Crusoe talking to gold. I do not know what it is about the scene where Robinson pillages the useless money and hides it away deep in the novel for twenty-eight years, except that it is a fabulous moment, one that can’t quite be reckoned to the realist impulse most critics have attributed to the “novel.” This short paper is the tiny seed of a bigger project I will be working on for my dissertation—the long essay I am beginning to earn a PhD. Wish me luck. This is a topsy-turvy blogpost because I’m too tired to sort out the overarching connection among the things in it, and besides I am still dreaming my last night’s dream, about keys, and wanting to swim, and then dancing gloriously with my mother, both of us twirling. Here is a lovely wee article about fabulism that I enjoyed this morning. It’s about a purse which is really a portal. Maybe all metaphors are portals, I am thinking. Maybe language—itself metaphorical—is a portal. That’s a pretty Lacanian thought, after all. Sometime over the weekend, a book club sent me questions about All The Broken Things and I liked the tone of the Q&A so I asked them if I could post it to my blog (two for one!). I had hoped to Skype in (something I do for free when book clubs request a visit) but our timing did not work out, so I suggested they send me questions, if they had any. I will put it here, since it discusses fabulism and my interest in it: Bookclub: The time in High Park: we see the reference to the play Orpheus and Eurydice but it also has a feeling of magical realism – was this intentional? Me:  Yes, the line between the factually true and the fantastic or the fairytale is immensely interesting to me. In my first novel, The Nettle Spinner I was already developing a playful interaction along the border of the real and the not-quite-real. For this interest, my name has an entry in the Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, edited by the fairy tale scholar, Jack Zipes. I am endlessly fascinated by the way that fairy tales convey meaning — by amplifying consequences for their protagonists etc. And I have always loved magic. It was always the intention with ATBT to tell the story through a fairy tale, or Romance, lens, and the use of the play was a way to connect the practice of storytelling (theatre) with the sort of truth one may find in a fairy tale. I am glad that you caught this! Bookclub: We all (for different reasons each) thought that Max was one of the most interesting characters in the story, what was your intention of Max’s role in the story? Me: Max is a strange villain, and in a way he is not really even a villain. It’s hard to talk about intention here because he literally just popped into the story one day while I was writing and I loved him so well that he had to stay. I had so much fun watching Max emerge out of my...

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Authors for Indies

Posted on Apr 20, 2016

Authors for Indies

Authors-for-Indies Time Again! If you are not familiar with this brilliant initiative, you can read about it here. Last year, I spent the day in three book venues, hand-selling books: Bloor West Book City, The University of Toronto Bookstore, and Type Books.     This year I’ll be handing out bad #writingtips on paper. These will be carefully selected from the 19 pages of egregious #writingtips I’ve been offering the public on twitter for the last two years. I solemnly promise you all that if you follow my advice you will end up happy and probably unpublished, which is a tautology. Here are a couple from the archive: Colons are messy business. #writingtips Hey you writerly mofos. Today, we are going to collectively rock that damn Casbah. #writingtips Take your foot out of your mouth. #writingtips Invite Marx into your heart. #writingtips My very first #writingtips was: I will begin by kissing all the words. #writingtips. I’ll be at Book City in Bloor West Village on April 30th, at 11 am, tea in hand, #writingtips in hand, smile in back pocket. Come!!!!!! Sign up for Kiki’s occasional newsletter...

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