Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

CHANNELLING AL

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I never wanted Al in my body. Not ever; although some people have had the rudeness to ask if it happened.

So why was I channelling him at the Monday Awards last week?

Read on.

It must have been the brown maidens. Monday Magazine, the must read what's going on in Victoria weekly has an annual awards party. They nominate the best of's in the arts scene and readers get to nominate from the page and vote for their favourites.

I have had three Monday awards in different genres and, although I don't lose any sleep over the process, appreciate that they indicate real interest and appreciation from the community.

The Monday competition gets intense and subterfuge is common.

This year the Monday editors sought to defuse the pressure by giving our unique awards: beer bottles with citations on the labels.

I was there to represent myself and my choir.

What will I do, I wondered, if my ninety person gospel choir wins for best musical ensemble and we have to share a bottle ninety ways? IMAGINE THE IN-FIGHTING. IT WOULD MAKE THE GILLER AWARDS LOOK TAME.

I have a particular loathing for awards, because they bring out the worst in people, eyeball snatching, face scratching bitchiness. When there is little to reward artists, particularly during times like these when the government is beyond indifferent and downright hostile to cultural workers, awards become the MOTHER WHO NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED THAT WHAT YOU MADE WAS GOOD ENOUGH.

Al Purdy had a mother. He loved her attention, and, like James Morrison Weatherby Gerge Dupuis, he berated her for "losting" him while shopping. I often wondered if that's what all the poems were about, and all the brown maidens he consumed before his doctor ordered him to stop drinking.

Al and I had a love hate relationship. I think that had a lot to do with my intense but divided maternal energy and my refusal give him my undivided attention.

One bottle of beer is not enough when you want the whole box.

What does this have to do with the Monday Awards? Well, when it was my turn to make my way past the wasted punk rockers and lesbian hardware bands to pick up my LITERARY LAUREL (SINGULAR), I ordered the editors to send me the other 11 by courier the following morning.

Al would have done that.

The beer has yet to arrive, but my husband was able to steam the label off my bottle, which shrunk, like Alice, to the size of a postage stamp. Perhaps it is reminding me to keep such things in perspective.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Linda Rogers

Linda Rogers is the author of the novels Say My Name (Ekstasis Editions, 2000), Friday Water (Cormorant Books, 2003) and The Empress Letters (Cormorant Books, 2007). She has also published several collections of poetry, including Love in the Rainforest (Exile Editions, 1996), Heaven Cake (Sono Nis Press, 1997), The Saning (Sono Nis Press, 1999) and The Bursting Test (Guernica Editions, 2002).

Go to Linda Rogers’s Author Page