Sunday, June 20, 2010


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

ROSALYNN TYO Rosalynn Tyo, Managing Editor of The New Quarterly: Canadian Writers & Writing, Blogger-in-chief for the literary type, writer (some day) of magazine articles and personal essays.

DS When did you become interested in literature and the publishing industry?

RT I can't really remember a time when I didn't love books. My mother is a great reader; she taught me to read before I went to kindergarten, which meant, on the first day anyway, I was the smartest kid in class. I think my fate was sealed sometime in between recess and snack. But my memories of this period are pretty vague.

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

RT Most of my day time hours are in The New Quarterly office, but I like to blog and work on my own projects, such as they are, in my living room, on the couch. When I have the option, I like to layout issues of TNQ here in my living room too, because here I'm not distracted by other things on my desk: the piles of paper, sticky notes, messages, etc that are equally urgent. From an ergonomics standpoint, this couch is a nightmare, but that just gives me all the justification I need to fidget, stretch, walk to the coffee maker and back. This room gets lots of natural light, and the window faces the street. I always sit facing the window. In fact, this photo just reminded to rotate my couch cushions; if you look closely, you can actually see the indentation left from my last session.

DS Why do you work where you do?

RT I like sitting here because I find that when I write, I spend about as much time idly staring as I do typing, and my street is just busy enough to accommodate this habit. There's never enough going on to actually distract me, but there's always something to look at when I happen to look up. My neighbour's tree. My crazy neighbour's cat. Rollerbladers. Kids going to school. You know, suburbia. And if I'm not looking out the window, I'm staring at the bookshelf in the other picture. That bookshelf was made for my grandmother, was an important fixture in my childhood bedrooms (we moved a lot), and the top shelf houses my 'current all-time favorites'; I find it both comforting and inspiring to look at.

DS What is the last book you read (or what are you reading)?

RT I signed up for the Great Canadian Book Challenge for the first time this year, and the way I chose to personalize it was to limit my thirteen books to ones that have been given or lent to me by friends, family or complete strangers. Book number eight was Galore by Michael Crummey, lent to me by my mom (we both loved it); I'm now in the middle of February by Lisa Moore. It's breaking my heart. A friend cautioned me that it would ruin future books for me because it's so good; I think he might be right.

DS What are you working on now?

RT Trying to actually finish one of the many essays I've started so that I may send it out and thus finally understand how the many submitters to TNQ really feel!