Sunday, October 02, 2011

Out-of-Town-Authors: Terry Jordan


Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
by: Ariel Gordon

As of Oct. 1, Saskatoon-based writer Terry Jordan will be the Winnipeg Public Library's 2011-2012 writer-in-residence.

The award-winning writer and playwright, who recently led the fiction workshop at the Sage Hill Writing Experience, will be the twenty-second W-i-R since Sandra Birdsell kicked off the program in 1985.

Jordan will split his time in Winnipeg (October to April) between individual consultations with writers and working on his own writing.

Please consider this your introduction: Terry, Winnipeg. Winnipeg, Terry.

1) As a writer (i.e. someone whose artistic practice is predicated on time spent alone) how do you approach performance? What do you get out of it?

As story, which exists as the world exists. Everything, every thing we can touch or imagine, is involved in various levels of at least one story. Books included. The process of writing them will contain stories, the text and spirit of them also, of course. It's just one of the reasons we read, but we, all of us, are storytellers to some extent. Often, what we find most interesting in other people are their stories and their ability to tell them. Different cultures give stories as gifts. Writers do, too. We like to give; we like to receive. Like all generosity, giving is receiving.

2) What do you want people to know about you?

My connectedness to writing and to people who love to write and read. I'm approachable: come see me at the library.

3) Will this your first time in Winnipeg? What have you heard?

I have been to your city a few times for shorter periods, but this will be the first time in quite a while. A number of scenes from the novel I'm just completing, which depict fishing and whaling in the 19th century off Canada's eastern coast and south from there, were written in a cabin overlooking Lake Winnipeg.

The city itself owns a vibrancy that is much talked-about in other parts of Canada, and its reputation is well-deserved, I think.

4) What are you reading right now? What are you writing right now?

I've always got about eight books on the go. I've just been looking through a book by the photographer Stephen Collector called Law of the Range: Portraits of Old-Time Brand Inspectors, which is striking and original. I'm wearing an editor's hat, so I'm immersed in a number of projects - fiction and non-fiction. I'm reading Catherine Bush's new novel The Thief in manuscript form, which is beautiful and to-be-looked-for when it is published. I've just started Guy Vanderhaeghe's A Good Man and finished David Homel's Midway, it's very moving. Dickens again, whom I love, because my daughter was asking that I read it to her. Lovely. Then Linda Hogan, James Welch and Gerald Stern. A book on Ireland's Nine Years War by Timothy O'Donnell.

I mentioned I just finishing writing a novel, Been in the Storm So Long, set in Nova Scotia and New Orleans, which follows, in a different sort of way, the migration of the Acadian people 100 years after their expulsion. I'm also at work on a book to follow this, the second of a trilogy I have planned, but I'm much too superstitious to say any more about it.

5) What are your goals for your term as W-i-R?

In meeting the all and, hopefully, many writers in my time in Winnipeg, talking to them, working with them to both celebrate and overcome the beauty of our imperfect language, our wonderful failure of expression. To quote Joy Williams, "None of this is what I long to say. I long to say other things. So I write stories in my attempt to say them."

Ariel Gordon is a Winnipeg writer.

No comments: