I’M JOINING THE BLOG TOUR TRAIN, thanks to writer and friend Gary Barwin. When I think deeply about The Blog Tour I’m reminded of one of those get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, which keeps doubling itself ad infinitum in a kind of Egyptian table of math that looks great but is apparently unsustainable (and illegal). For all I know, I could be among tens of thousands of blog tourers contributing this week, all of us part of a great network of blog tourers that span oceans and time zones, bound intimately by the question: Where did it all begin? (If anyone has time to trace The Blog Tour back to origins, please email me).
What am I working on?
I am currently in the late stages of refurbishing a novel called CARAFOLA, which will be published this fall through Mansfield Press. It was written four years ago, resurrected last November, and has been straightened and teased, massaged and smacked, loved and frustrated and poured over ever since.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My writing is interested in the triple-hyphenation between mercurial principles of longing, idiopathic funks, and the innate desire to obtain some kind of planetary confirmation that I’ll never in my lifetime suffer aphasia. It differs from other work in this specific genre in its use of diplomacy in relation to semicolons, as well as tendency to use idiomatic expressers as a means to render the germane germane. It’s also partially intrigued by the parenthetical and footnoteworthy, the body’s immune response to words, and the way a watched pot never boils is an innocuous way of saying GO AWAY. In short, my writing is less moist in its palliative care for my own psyche, and more lush in its somatic insistence that growing up in suburbia can produce interesting thoughts. It’s like a coyote at your back door, and if you’ve never read a book like this, then my work differs from others you’ve read in its specific genre.
Why do I write what I do?
I sit down to write and what I write is what comes out while I’m writing. Which is kind of a shitty answer. But insofar as I write what I do without formulating an answer for Why (because it’s more intuitive than conscious), why I write what I do is also not done capriciously or thoughtlessly. Instead, I think I’m constantly unconsciously aimed at creating an experience for the reader that captures life at its most unabashedly authentic.
How does my writing process work?
My writing process is impenetrably (and perhaps boringly) systematic. What it does not involve is the romantic burning of midnight oil or excessive wine consumption or the culling of each and every hallucination incited by an unredeemably long acid trip. Instead: I wake up with the sunrise (although the most ideal time would be 7:15am). There’s a green tea, one sometimes two hardboiled egg(s), a glass of water, large flake oatmeal or Bob’s Cream of Brown Rice Cereal or both, and me reacquainting with everything I wrote the day before and adding more. After a few hours, my gut intuitively tells me to stop. Then the rest of the day is spent deeply inside then deeply outside my head. I write down every word and fact I hear. I go to public lectures. I talk to people. I go for so many walks my neighbours must think I’m crazy. I worry about my unemployment. I pace around the house reading. I eat a lot. All of this is part of my writing process too.
Michael Casteels has self-published over a dozen chapbooks of poetry and artwork. His poetry has recently appeared in: The Puritan, The Rusty Toque, and Lemon Hound. In 2012 he was nominated for the emerging artist award in The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. He lives in Kingston, Ontario where he runs Puddles of Sky Press.
Stephanie Noel has spent half her 20s living in Japan and the rest of it traveling the world. She writes full-length fiction and the occasional blog post. She’s currently based in Montreal.