Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Nathan Whitlock for DESK SPACE


NATHAN WHITLOCK Me. Nathan Whitlock, author of A Week of This (ECW Press).

DS When did you start writing?

NW I started writing with some aim of eventually becoming a “writer” when I realized I didn’t have the makings of a professional musician – couldn’t stand being around the same group of people (or any group of people) for extended periods of time. 16? 17? Though I don’t think I did it with any kind of intensity until my son was born, ten years ago. That was a kick in the ass and prioritizer. Still took me ten years to get an actual book out, though.

DS Where do you write?

NW I write on scraps of paper and in notebooks wherever I am. When I have a critical mass of those scraps, I type it all onto the computer you see here and try to give it some sense of order.

I wrote most of my first book and dozens of short stories right onto the computer, but I am realizing more and more that seeing it all neat in Times Roman inhibits me a little, makes me think “good draft” when I should be just getting it all in first and worrying about cleaning it up later.

DS Why do you work where you do?

NW My desk is the only spot in the house that is more than 75% mine. I also have a window that looks onto Lansdowne so I can spy on people if I get bored. The sound gets funneled up to where I am, and there’s a fight – verbal, usually, but not always – every other day it feels like.

My first novel I wrote in the basement of an apartment, between the furnace and a brick wall, so this feels like paradise. Note the light coming in the window and death just over my shoulder, which is as it should be.

DS What are you working on now?

NW Mostly hack work – reviews, articles, etc. I’m trying to revive a short story I left for dead a long time ago, and I’m also picking away at my second novel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coming up

Thursday on DESK SPACE: Nathan Whitlock

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Nathaniel G. Moore for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

NATHANIEL G. MOORE I am Nathaniel G. Moore. I'm a pretty serious person. Nathaniel sat under a fig tree and had the confessions of faith in the bible. It was about the existence of Jesus. Personally, I like the Faith album (Columbia, 1987). I am often called Nathan, which I loathe. He was a much bigger star in the bible, but they are two completely different biblical entities. We are often confused. I also like to make videos and cook mussels.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

NGM I published my first book in 2005. It was meant to be a comedy. It was Bowlbrawl. At press time I am an unrestricted free agent, though I do expect either a fiction or poetry collection to be signed soon. My most recent book is Let's Pretend We Never Met, which was a romantic comedy pertaining to Catullus and I. I am also writing "The Macho Girls", which is a BravoFact that Geoffrey Pugen is directing. The film is visually based on my retrosexual Randy Savage fetish and my birthday party. It's about the gas crisis though, and some sort of grass roots fuel heist caper. Publishing writing via television is a lot different because you are even more invisible than a regular strength Canadian small press career. I also have to write something for a discussion at Word on the Street called "Are We Awful?" Serious stuff.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

NGM I write usually at OCAD in the library on the library's computers. Or on the 3rd floor. I don't go there or anything. I just have people's passwords.

DS Why do you work where you do?

NGM The computer's at OCAD are wicked fast. The Broken Pencil office is wicked small. And the computer is slow. And the interns are always doing cart wheels in the hallways (Descant's interns) so it's very distracting. It's at the George Brown house. Have I said too much? Is this thing on? I also go to the Toronto reference library and guard my book. I like the resources there, and the fountain. I like the big tables. I'm sort of a nomad. Sometimes I write outside, but I don't like to be around people. Especially if I know who they are or they know me.

DS What are you working on now?

NGM Danforth Review and Broken Pencil take up most of my conscious time. I have a poetry collection called "Poltergeist" which I am nearly done. It's done, basically. It's based on this morning I had in Brooklyn, Ontario watching this German mother feed her kid a hard boiled egg. The night before she was wearing a black and white dress and I told her that her dress should be called Poltergeist. She didn't run away screaming, so I felt as thought that is a good sign, and it might be an okay book. I'm also nearly done a book of short fiction which is like a greatest hits collection because a lot of the stories are old. These are all being remixed. The collection is called "Legends of Welfare" and combines my insane version of humour with my deranged version of erotica with a bit of capitalism, poverty fetish, sea food and Paul Martin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming up

Thursday on DESK SPACE: Nathaniel G. Moore

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Stacey May Fowles for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

STACEY MAY FOWLES Stacey May Fowles is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, a teen magazine publisher, a loose tea aficionado, and a mildly neurotic geek. She's not on facebook and never will be.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

SMF I've been writing stories since I was in kindergarten, and while I'm sure they were "cute," they were likely never any good (although I'm sure my Mom would argue.) A bulk of the things I wrote in high school were horrifyingly bad and mostly about the sex I wasn't having. I published my first short story (which was not about sex) in a literary journal in 2003, and my first novel, Be Good (which is about sex), last fall.

My next book is an illustrated novel called Fear of Fighting that I collaborated on with artist and genius Marlena Zuber. It comes out this October.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

SMF I do my very best to sit down at my desk in my office and write there, but ever since January when I got all four of my impacted wisdom teeth out at once and was stuck in bed on Percocet for a week, I've developed this nasty habit of bringing the laptop to bed. In fact, I'm writing the answers to these questions to you from my bed right now.

When I was writing Fear of Fighting I wrote almost exclusively at various coffee shops because for whatever reason nothing was happening for me while I was at home. Every day it was an earl grey tea, a sesame bagel with cream cheese, and a goal of 1500 words. The key is finding a group of coffee shops that will let you stay there for hours on a five dollar tea and bagel tab, and then staggering them throughout the work week.

More and more I'm trying to be a "grown up writer" and make the office space work for me. At home right now we're on this kick where we're strict about our "zones"; we both do work at home so we feel it's important to have a space reserved for for work, a space for eating, a space for sleeping, a space for tv watching, etc. It's supposed to improve our collective mental health and is all very well intentioned, but every so often I just want to have the luxury of an entire workday from bed. What good is working from home if you can't at least have the occasional horizontal workday? I mean, most of the 9-5 world thinks that people who work from home are "not really working" anyway. That's probably why I get so many midday calls to go for martini lunches.

DS Why do you work where you do?

SMF I'm a bit of a hoarder and I'm always surrounded by notes, magazines, books, and whatever stuff I happen to be buying off ebay, so having a dedicated home office space is kind of like having a teen girl bedroom all over again (hence the autographed framed photo of Kelly Clarkson on my desk - that was a gift from the editor of Shameless). Also, having a room for my organized chaos and strange collections is a really easy way not to piss off the (very minimalist, methodical, neat and tidy) person I live with.

I've never really needed quiet to write - I've always been the kind of writer who listens to loud music and can easily write in public, so being alone in a home office all day can actually be a bit of a challenge. That and there's always a household task that needs to be done outside the office door. I think that's why the coffee shop becomes a necessity. It's such a cliche - "look at me, I'm a real writer because I'm writing in public!" But I think sometimes when the dishes pile up and the laundry needs to be done, it's completely necessary to get out of your own mess and into someone else's to get any work done.

DS What are you working on now?

SMF I'm currently editing an anthology of non-fiction essays affiliated with Shameless Magazine that's due out in the spring, and I'm considering expanding the play I wrote based on Fear of Fighting to a full length production. I'll also be working on messing up my desk again, as admittedly I tidied it up for this photo.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coming Up

This week on Desk Space

Thursday: Stacey May Fowles

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer for DESK SPACE


KATHRYN KUITENBROUWER Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. I write novels and short stories, am the magazine editor for, teach at the University of Toronto, write reviews for various publications including the Globe and Mail. I live in High Park.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book or when are you publishing your next?

KK I don’t remember when I started writing, but was certainly writing storybooks by kindergarten and grade one. Clowns featured.
Way Up, a collection of stories was published in 2003. A novel, The Nettle Spinner was published in 2005. My second novel Perfecting will be published in the spring of 2009.

DS Where do write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

KK I wrote at my desk with a kind of monastic routine until my chair broke and I bought one of those kneeling prayer chairs (thinking it might help) but I hate the damn thing as it requires abdominal muscles. Now I can’t bear the space at all so I write on a laptop at the dining room table, amidst the vile cutlery and soiled plates or, channeling Colette, who wrote in bed, on the couch under a boiled wool blanket, which incidentally can induce severe lower back strain. I suppose I ought to go out and buy a new chair at some point, but the thing cost a pretty penny and I feel lousy about wasting the money.

DS Why you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think or in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

KK It’s that damn chair, again. I feel terribly guilty about it all. My husband built a mantle around the fireplace in my office and beautiful built-in bookshelves. The room is insulated with a double row of books on the exterior wall, so quite cosy. There is a lovely Persian carpet in the room, as well as art by Scott Griffin and Holly Farrell (they actually have a show together upcoming in Seattle). The room is my sanctuary, mired only by the presence of that nasty chair. So, I work where I work by default, by guilty necessity.

DS What are you working on now?

KK I am manically rewriting the opening bits to my new novel, Perfecting:

“Thirty years had passed by and the last six were droughted. Martha walked the Pecos River determined, and when she came at it, she skirted the prickly pear, grabbed weeping willow boughs here and there for stability. She was a beauty, had on handmade ropers people here could not afford. Black horse leather boots that would make anyone look cowboy. She had sweet hips, hair cut straight, a bob, no bangs, and dyed black. Hips to dare touch. Black jeans, black eyelet shirt. The river was but a thin wet meander cleaving desiccated banks, down to a trickle in most places, and where it ran strong, it still couldn’t be called a river much. But they called it that, holding onto hope, while north and south, good neighbours squabbled over who got what water. The land around was a red-skinned beauty, too, with hips to make a man cry or dare to touch.”

Monday, November 3, 2008


Jacob McArthur Mooney for DESK SPACE

Okay, so this is sort of a bad time for me to do DESK SPACE, as I am travelling, am presently at an art retreat, and have no digital camera. What I do have is Google Images Search, and a word processor which with to narrate my findings thereon. Get it? Okay, here goes.

a. Bed

So I like to do most of my writing in bed, rather than at a desk. I have a desk, but it tends to be relegated to uses peripheral to writing (storage, food consumption, etc). My ideal way of using the bed is to pull off every scrap of blanket and pile it all in one corner, then sort of sit/lean against the pile. This is bad for my back and can cause insomnia. What I really need is a Chaise Lounge. The bed in the picture has a woman jumping on it. This is because I found the picture in a Japanese catalogue. If you jump on my bed, it will break. It’s old.

b. Notebook

I had to go find the exact notebook I use because everyone else should use it as well. It’s the one that’s open in the corner of this picture. It’s made of faux leather and smells like grandfathers. It’s made by a company called Spicebox. I would gladly act in their commercials free of charge. If you use these, everything you write will look better.

c. Laptop

I bought this laptop direct from Acer for only $400 last September. NEVER BUY A LAPTOP FOR $400.

d. Puppy Dog

My puppy dog is incredibly important to my artistic process. Officially, he lives with his grandma, but I take over full dog responsibilities when I come visit. He looks a little like this dog except more bad-ass and less “milkin’ it for the camera.” If any new parents wish to raise themselves a writer (and I recommend you think that over for awhile before committing), go buy him or her and puppy, and make them take it for long walks in a land with a long history. Ideas will begin to emerge.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE

Tuesday: Jacob McArthur Mooney

Thursday: Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer