As part of AELAQ and QWF’s Get Lit!’ series at the Salon du livre de Montréal, on Wednesday, November 20, eighteen of the province’s hottest writers and spoken word performers got fast!
They read from their most engaging work—for only 90 seconds each—and then, still on stage, wrote live while the next author read. See below for the collaborative text! Hosted by Maria Schamis Turner, the authors, in order, were Neil Smith, Gillian Sze, Monique Polak, Mark Paterson, Nora Loreto, Jonathan Lamy, Ann Lambert, Seeley Quest, Ross Murray, Angela Leuck, Greg Santos, Élise Turcotte, Kym Dominque-Ferguson, Karen McBride, Kama La Mackerel, Steve Luxton, Paige Cooper, and Serge Lamothe.
Read on for the fruit of their effort—and don’t forget to check out the rest of the ‘Get Lit!’ events at the Salon du livre de Montréal here!
‘To love yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. Or so says Oscar Wilde. To hate yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance with your shrink. Or so says moi. I like my shrink. He’s a small man, almost the size of a teddy bear. He makes me like myself. Still, when my mantra, when I need support, is Je me deteste. This is the anti sonnet. This is the winter of pineapples and jam and a jar that shines beneath the sun. In the mornings, we are all sweet. We can make it out of this first hour, I think. I will take the wild with me and then after
Well, after who knows what will happen then?
Back to my shrink, the small man I was telling you about before.
He asked me if I’d drive him to the airport. It was after my session, and I’d paid him by cheque.
“Do you think it’s right?” I asked him, “to drive your psychiatrist to the airport?”
On the way, he told me about his mother. She was Hungarian and she smoked. She had a particular way to make a grilled cheese sandwich: she would stick a Kraft single between two slices of Wonder bread, squeeze the whole thing together, and stick it right in the toaster.
I started imagining this woman, her large body moving in and out of the cupboards looking for anything that she could use to stick on either side of the cheese. She would huff and grunt, pulling out various objects that might work, if one had never had the pleasure of enjoying a grilled cheese.
“Crackers?” No. “Crushed rice krispies mixed with egg?”
I was lost out of the window of the car, craving the smell of burning cheese
Cette odeur qui reste longtemps, parfaite, comme un accident. Les narines qui palpitent, qui valsent. Le je-veux. Je-veux-encore. Des recettes qui n’existent pas. Rien qui ne se répète.
A man appeared with greasy grey hair and green eyes. “ I will help you. Don’t be scared. Help is on the way. ”
This crip creaks into action, rushes before tremors take over and hits enough highlights…
“ But what about the crackers? ” I asked. “ Ritz. Ritz. That’s a funny word, don’t you think? ”
“ It’s named after a hotel. ” she said.
“ No, I think it’s from the Romanian. For ‘ overalls’. ” I said.
“ That makes zero sense. ”
What I really think is we should get t things that really matter. Get back to love and life and breathing the air after a light rain.
I was still craving burning cheese. It made me go back to that childhood grilled cheese. The best one in the world, made with mayo on the outside!
La vie d’une victime, je parle de personne. J’ai entendu le poème. Je mange des choses non cuits, je dé plie mon courage, non, je pense que je ne parlerais plus la langue et la parole de mes ailleux. I am not the difference between friends and family untouched by the grandiose slipping of fingers interlocking with one another. Digits pressing palms together under starlit nights, untouched by polluting light, we scream with our quiet breath. On trouve l’amour ensemble.
A low growl starts from somewhere deep within and without. It’s a sound that could be vile, could be magic, could be powerful, could be pain. The kind of rumble that is a monster’s breath or maybe from inside the stomach.
There was a light, a yellow light, against a velvet black curtain. Orange et noir. Orange et noir. Je me cherche dans la lumiere, dans la nuit. Where was the moon, the orange light? Where does the dark night end? It ends at the beginning with the blush of mango light.
It ends with shrink, who tells me my lifelong romance is waiting for me at the airport, and if I would just drive him there, he’d introduce us.
And even though it’s a Rapid Fire Reading, we do not have to read fast.