Thursday, January 22, 2009


1. Obvious desk shot. As opposed to, Obvious desk, shot. No desks were harmed in the shooting of this picture.

2. My Frankenberry bobblehead. Fun. Pink. Gender fluid.

3. A piece of chalk my grade nine math teacher signed when I won a quiz. I get all the answers right and my reward is his autograph! I loved that he claimed his own bit of authorship in our accomplishments. My favourite personal item. It's got to be going on twenty years old and has yet to break. Now that I've said it out loud...

4. A car poster. Two of my characters originally aged enough over the course of the story that I imagined them driving into a field where they dance in the headlights to Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back." Don't know that that's gonna happen now, but one of the older brothers - who dies in a car accident - will probably inherit this baby. Either that, or I endorse underaged driving. I'm undecided.

5. The view from the La-Z-boy chair. The sky really is that blue.

Julie Wilson for DESK SPACE


JULIE WILSON Julie Wilson, author, podcaster, Gossip Girl of the book world, creator of

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

JW I have a distinct memory when I was four years old. I was standing in my bedroom in front of a pink ironing board play set. I tried to imagine a woman, who this woman was, and how she felt about her ironing. I decided, for whatever reason, that she wasn't happy with the ironing. What would that feel like? I asked my four year old self, and promptly started to cry. I ran to my mother who was, rightly, freaked out. She kept asking me why I was crying, and I just blabbered on about this invisible woman and her ironing board and how it was all so very sad. I may not have been able to write, but I think it's safe to say that that's the moment my mother knew she had a little storyteller in the family.

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

JW I write Seen Reading almost exclusively at my desk. About 215 km from my that, there's a really nice La-Z-Boy recliner that overlooks a bay. I seem to get more word count toward my novel when I'm sitting in it.

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

JW I don't have wireless, so it's essential that I'm "plugged in" when writing Seen Reading. The entries are short, but I do a fair bit of research for each, be it the brand name of a jacket, or the proper pronunciation of an author, etc. And because I update five days a week, I find that if I'm obligated to stay at my desk I'll remain focused and churn out the material faster. It would easy to spend the entire weekend creating lavish worlds for each reader I see, when people have often told me, in fact, that their favourite entries only contain one or two sentences. That's one of the reasons I started "Page One" sightings for readers I see who are only just starting a book. For those, I write to the exact word count of the first sentence only. It keeps things fresh and fun, and I'm reminded that it doesn't take three paragraphs to invite the reader into another world.

The aforementioned La-Z-Boy lives in a place where there's only dial-up, so I'm more inclined to write freehand which, at this stage, grounds me more in my characters and the setting.It also to function as a reminder of just how atrocious my handwriting has become.

DS What are you working on now?

Since I started recording Seen Reading as a podcast I've become keenly aware that it's readership/listenership has a chance to expand through syndication. I'd like to find a home for it beyond the parameters of my site. The hope is that with the right resources - *cough* a little cash *cough* - I could broaden my sightings to the farthest reaches of the GTA. In the new year, I think I'll also open a phone line so people can call in their sightings. I think that would be a real treat for some people, to hear their voices telling the world what they saw someone reading on a bus in Sudbury. I know it would be a treat for me.

I'm plugging away at my novel, Fading. And, blissfully, I have a fairly solid structure for a second. What I'm learning from my time as a publicist at House of Anansi is how difficult it is to invest in increased word count when you don't have months of solid time. I'm in awe of writers for taking the financial and emotional risks required to get something on the page. So, for my small part, Seen Reading is my way of making sure writers and publishers know that their efforts aren't in vain. And, I hope, myself, to be strong enough to take a similar risk sometime in the near future. I have a few words in me.


bob said...

Where is Count Chocula?

tyrone said...

That "poster" looks awfully like the insert from a Big Sugar CD.

Evie said...

Couldn't it be both, Tyrone?

Julie Wilson said...

Tyrone, it is! Choose from among the mid sized stuffed animals. (Great album, that one!)