Author Archives: debooker

About debooker

A brief (and somewhat ambiguous) biography. One hundred words, more or less, about David Booker might include the following: though lost in the cosmos without a compass, he has nonetheless managed to find his way into middle age. As to what he will do now that he is there is still a matter of speculation. He often seeks guidance from his youthful daughter as he alternately approaches and retreats from the slow expansion of his waistline and the slow collapse of Western Civilization as he knows it. He hopes the two will reach a libration (or libation) point and he will creep into old age with some dignity and clothes intact.

Monday morning writing joke: “Boast”

There once was a gossip columnist extraordinaire /

Who told stories that weren’t even there. /

If you called him a liar /

He’d only pile it on higher, /

Because he had a few lies to spare.


A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. “But why,” they asked, as they moved. “Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

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12 underrated Canadian novels you need to read

With so many amazing books being published every year, some don’t get the attention they deserve. Here are 12 great Canadian novels we think deserve another look.




From the publisher: Set in Ottawa during the Mulroney years, Asylum is André Alexis’s sweeping, edged-in-satire, yet deeply serious tale of intertwined lives and fortunes, of politics and vain ambition, of the building of a magnificent prison, of human fallibility, of the search for refuge, of the impossibility of love, and of finding home.

From the book: Little had changed and yet everything had changed. On this, the anniversary of his attempted suicide, Walter Barnes sat in one of the two chairs he now owned, reading one of his two books. Of the two, a Bible and the Arden King Lear, he had chosen the Bible, not for any consciously spiritual reason but rather because he found it beautiful and amusing, in particular the Pentateuch, of which he was reading Leviticus.He was not aware that a year had passed since he’d first tried to kill himself. If he had been, he would not have known whether to rejoice or mourn; though, in any case, he might well have chosen to mark the event in this way: reading, at home.

From Asylum by André Alexis ©2009. Published by Emblem Editions.




From the publisher: Hoda, the protagonist of Crackpot, is one of the most captivating characters in Canadian fiction. Graduating from a tumultuous childhood to a life of prostitution, she becomes a legend in her neighbourhood, a canny and ingenious woman, generous, intuitive, and exuding a wholesome lust for life. Resonant with myth and superstition, this radiant novel is a joyous celebration of life and the mystery that is at the heart of all experience.

From the book: In the daytime her frail and ever-so-slightly humpbacked mother, or so they described her to blind Danile before they rushed them off to be married, used to take Hoda along with her to the houses where she cleaned. And partly to keep her quiet, and partly because of an ever-present fear, for she felt that she would never have another child, Rahel carried always with her, in a large, cotton kerchief, tied into a peasant-style sack, a magically endless supply of food. All day long, at the least sign of disquiet, she fed the child, for Hoda even then was big-voiced and forward, and sometimes said naughty things to people. Rather than risk having an employer forbid her the privilege of bringing the little girl to work, Rahel forestalled trouble. Things can’t go in and out of the same little mouth simultaneously.

From Crackpot by Adele Wiseman ©1974. Published by New Canadian Library.

For the other ten:

[Editor’s note: Thank you, Ashlie, for sending the link.]

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Random acts of poetry: “Mad thing”

My heart is a mad thing
A wild, racing mad thing
Touched by suns, a hundred abandoned suns,
Roiling, a caldron from hell,
Fueled by a heat no man can hold.

My heart is a mad thing
A thousand horses mad thing.
Queen Anne’s Lace trampled in its wake.
Flaring nostrils, wild eyes, driven by an Image
Of the passion that lies within.

My heart is a mad thing
A million scented mad thing.
Honey and cinnamon, skin and nectar.
Overwhelmed and overjoyed,
Drowning in a riot of aromas.

My heart is a mad thing
An eternity filled with mad things
Forgotten and unknown
Hidden there, just beneath the bone
This is how it was, how it all began.
How it should end, how I want it all to end.
My hand in yours, my lips on your skin.
And my heart on your soul
A mad thing, a wild racing mad thing.

–by David E. Booker

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Photo finish Friday: “This way”

This way, young lady, to your madness.

This way, young lady, to your madness.

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Haiku to you Thursday: “Ragged moon”

The night sky fills with /

gossamer beauty opened /

by the ragged moon.

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Writing tip Wednesday: “Enemy Mine”


by Bruce Hale


Bruce Hale

Bruce Hale

Nearly every writer has felt it — that deep inner conviction that even though you should be writing your latest story, the most important thing for you to do right now, this very instant, is trim those blasted toenails.

Or feed the cat. Or sort that box of old photos. Or clean the oven. Or check to see if anything has magically materialized in the fridge since you last checked it half an hour ago.

Ah, the siren song of procrastination! We know we want to write. We love writing (or at least we love the feeling of having written). And yet, when it’s time to apply the “bum glue,” we find reasons to wander. So many wise writers in so many different ways have said, “writing = derriere + chair.”

Still, we avoid, we dilly-dally, we find any and all reasons not to sit down and work. Are writers just a masochistic lot? Do we get some payoff from punishing ourselves?

Don’t ask me. I’m just as blind as the next writer. The last week or so, as I’ve been starting my latest book, I’ve noticed some strange occurrences. Time and time again, I sit down in my lovely, comfy, ergonomic chair to write. And then, an hour later, I find myself in the living room with no idea how I got there.

Alien abduction, perhaps?

Or I wake to find I’ve spent an hour futzing about with e-mail or surfing the Net. It’s frustrating, especially when I’ve set myself a minimum page goal for the day.

Am I just your basic psycho?

I don’t think so. (At least, not for those reasons.) Lately I’ve begun to look at this whole approach-avoidance thing as part of my process. Maybe this is just how my muse operates.

True, it’s not the tidy, organized method I’d prefer. But the creative process is a strange and amazing thing.

As anyone who’s ever tried to push a stalled car can tell you, it takes a lot of effort to overcome inertia. So maybe that’s what this behavior is — part of the push to overcome inertia and get the story going.

I’m finding that if I cut myself a little slack, it helps. Not let myself off the hook, exactly — I still have to show up everyday and make the effort. But I’m working on not beating myself up when at day’s end I’ve only produced one page instead of three.

After all, progress is progress. And I look at it this way: Hey, at least I’ve gotten my nails trimmed.

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Reading the writing led Willard to wonder what went wrong.

Reading the writing led Willard to wonder what went wrong.

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Filed under 2015, cartoon by author, CarToonsday