Writer's Blog

A place where I write about the writing life and writing projects in progress

March 27, 2011

  • I am (a) Canadian (Doctor Who Fan)
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    Here I am being interviewed for another Doctor Who podcast, this time the sublime and wonderful Radio Free Skaro, to talk about the history of Doctor Who in Canada. You can listen to it here.

    Warren, Steven and Chris conducted a great interview (which was done while we were all in LA in February). I was dubiously awake and at times there’s a lag between when I start talking and when my brain can actually access the facts (you can hear it with my answer about TVO pledge breaks where I suddenly remember the first time I saw TVO do a pledge break was in 1988 after having said it started in the early ‘90s!).

    Still it was a lot of fun to do. Plus the podcast also features interviews with my good friend Mike Doran and the always sensational Mark Askwith from SPACE.

    For those of my non-Who fan friends who just want to cut to the chase and listen to me, my interview starts at 78:14. But why would you want to do that?

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    March 12, 2011

  • Judicial Noir
  • This news item from the Globe and Mail tickled me considerably. It’s about how Ontario Court of Appeal Judge David Watt has taken to writing his legal opinions not in the usual over-complex legalese but in crisp prose that belongs in a crime novel, writing rulings that include lurid passages like, “Early one morning in June, 2006, Melvin Flores closed the book on his relationship with Cindy MacDonald. With a butcher knife embedded in Cindy‚Äôs back. Fifty-three blunt force injuries.”

    It reminds me of the running gag in a West Wing episode where the Supreme Court Chief Justice took to writing in iambic pentameter and delivered legal pronouncements that sounded like they were written by Underdog.

    Overall, I think the debate happening around Judge Watt’s hard boiled decisions is an interesting one from a writing perspective. Why can’t a simple narrative be told in an accessible manner? And when does that go too far?

    All that said, I must add, whatever you might say about the appropriateness of turning official legal text into an Elmore Leonard novel, I utterly adore this little piece of prose from Judge Watt’s commentary on the murder case R v Simon:

    Handguns and drug deals are frequent companions, but not good friends. Rip-offs happen. Shootings do too. Caveat emptor. Caveat venditor. People get hurt. People get killed. Sometimes, the buyer. Other times, the seller. That happened here.

    That’s just plain guilty of genius.

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    March 03, 2011

  • Faith in a Time of Change
  • imageI don’t talk much about my Christian writing much these days. Not that I’m embarrassed about it, it’s just that I haven’t done much of it in a couple of years. For a number of years I wrote for the United Church of Canada websites WonderCafe and Emerging Spirit. On WonderCafe I was a pop culture columnist, talking about different things in media and culture and what it said about humanity, morality and spirtuality. The Emerging Spirit website was a blog for church people and there I occasionally wrote about issues facing the church and how they could communicate better and welcome people more.

    Both projects pretty much have ended. The websites and discussion threads still continue, but they no longer have funds to continue putting up original content. A shame as it was a fun gig and both websites combined to act as a thoughtful magazine for Canadian Christians no matter their denominational base. For years, I wanted to edit such a magazine but there’s simply no market for a Sojourners or a Third Way in Canada. This was the closest we might have seen. I consider the man behind it, Aaron McCarroll Gallegos, a very lucky man.

    I say all this because the Emerging Spirit project closed off their project with an actual book, Faith in a Time of Change. My story/reflection “Sunday Morning, September 16, 2001” appears in it. There’s a lot of other thoughtful pieces in it as well. If you’re interested in such churchy things, I’d really recommend it. You can order it here.

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