A chapter from my debut novel, Fake It So Real, was chosen by jury members Amy Jones, Doretta Lau, and Téa Mutonji to be longlisted for the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, and is included in their anthology.
Coming Attractions 16 (Oberon Press, 2016)
Three chapters from my debut novel, Fake It So Real, were included in Coming Attractions 16, edited by Mark Anthony Jarman.
“What is Good,” December 2019, Cosmonauts Avenue
“First thing Gwen noticed about Celeste was the funnel cloud of blonde hair tied atop her head with a ragged fuchsia ribbon–binding ripped from her daughter’s dress or the collar of a runaway show dog. No, that’s a lie. First thing Gwen noticed was the smell of booze that preceded her. Booze on her breath, booze that swarmed her, seeped from her pores.” Read the rest at Cosmonauts Avenue.
“After Gwen,” issue 22, July 2019, Minola Review
“Shepps obeyed Gwen when she told him to go away. He roared away in his Westfalia and spent his nights warming the Crystal Pool’s parking lot with his exhaust, his mornings warming its public toilets with his feces. Every part of him ached for Gwen. Every synapse in his brain was a GWEN receptor, every blood cell was not white or red but gwen, every sperm was programmed to swim to Gwen.” Read the rest at Minola Review.
“The Rest of Him,” 48.1, Spring/Summer 2019, EVENT poetry and prose.
(Longlisted for the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize)
“Hair work-slicked and tie sagging, Nik lifts my covers and pokes me with a corner of envelope. From your mom, he says. He thanks me, with a generous helping of sarcasm, for ensuring our daughter got off to school on time, then informs me he has floor hockey with the boys tonight and I should not wait up. What grown man plays floor hockey?
Of course, after being incommunicado for 16 years, Mom sends me a newspaper article about Dad’s severed foot. No note, no marginalia, not even penned devil’s horns on his image. He’s been dead to her for years, no need for fanfare.”
“Tom’s Wedding,” #36, Spring 2019, the moth: arts and literature.
“What did you expect, here in your little black dress? When the invitation arrived, red-speckled like debris from a gory car crash, you trashed it. How dare they. But here you are, having scratched off globs of hardened banana from the cardstock to make out the address. The bigger person. Curious. Self-destructive. Tom’s wedding is outdoors, tented like a circus. Pity about the ominous rain clouds. Did they stay up all night making pinwheels to line the walk? Did they make up rhymes to decorate their place settings? We fit together like clothes and peg: Tom and Meg. No, they did not. Her name is Sunny. Sunny does not rhyme with peg.”
“Sock Daddy,” #103.2, Winter 2018, Southwest Review.
“Gwen’s daughters found their father’s sock the spring after he left, when the nights grew short and the plums grew blossoms. Gwen had been in bed so long it seemed pointless to get out. The girls tumbled over one another around its outskirst in a slithery game of leapfrog. The eldest, Sara, shrieked and giggled; her baby sister, Meg, ribbeted. Their stubby fingers grasped at the sheets to avoid hardwood-smacked tailbones and closet-door-handle-driven skulls. Gwen’s limp body swayed like driftwood with each tug from either side of the bed. Then the little fingers released the sheet, and there was an audible pause before the girls began to whisper, sinister and insistent. ‘You touch it.’ ‘No, you touch.’ Gwen rolled over to see Sara’s hand encased by a thin, white sport sock, a trail of dust draped from its toe bed like a princess’s ribbon. Sara raised a bony, freckled arm above her head. ‘I found Daddy,’ she said. ” Read the rest at Southwest Review.
“Big Spoon,” #36 Winter 2017, The Puritan.
“I met Rocco the day I fell up the stairs and spilled Mom’s groceries onto the third floor of her building. A shift’s worth of wages at the coffee shop bruised and splayed all over a dusty linoleum floor. I yelled, Fuck me. Rocco poked his head out of 3A and said, If I help will you give me a banana? He was beautiful. Tall, olive-skinned, thick black hair, eyes that could swallow the world. All I could do was nod.” Read the rest at The Puritan.
“When the Greyhound comes to a full and complete stop I follow the only guy who seems remotely legit to a club. It’s an all-ages show so the room is full of pre-pubescent boys who smell of mother’s milk and fledgling body odour. And little girls with barrette-speckled heads and baggy skate pants, their belts like leather lips puckered to swallow them whole. Being eighteen, I’m bigger than everyone and queen of the mosh pit until the legit guy from the bus stomps on my face. In apology, he takes me across the bridge to the Funky Pickle because dude is particular about his pizza.”
“Dad, Offstage,” #134, Spring 2015, The New Quarterly.
(short-listed for 2014 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award)
“Sara is the first to see the postcard. To touch it, to smell it. And I’m sure she does those things to it because it is from Dad. Dad left when I was two, but Sara was six and she actually knew him. He even had a nickname for her. Jellybean. Sometimes Mom calls Sara JB, but not in a nicknamey way. In the same way a know-it-all calls someone genius. Hey JB, are you going to vacuum the apartment or are we plotting a zen garden?”
“Shepps appeared at Pluto’s Diner carrying a duffel bag stuffed with Dorothy’s Rainbow posters and a roll of masking tape. He wasn’t an official band member but they let him play second bass sometimes. They’d adorn him with a black spiked wig and track marks on his forearms—a nod to Sid Vicious that guaranteed him a Nancy after the show.
Pluto’s offered two waitresses that day for the young and horny gentleman wandering Cook street with a stomach for grease. Tiffany of the two-inch tall sprayed-straight bangs and bra-less, off-the-shoulder sweaters and Gwen of the bleached-blonde witch’s broom and ever-moist Fire Red pout.” Read the rest on Numéro Cinq.
(finalist for a 2014 Alberta Magazine Showcase Award in fiction)
“You’ve taken to searching for your father. Nothing serious. Something to do while Tom’s on campus and Sebastian naps. No phone books, private investigators, CSIS. You use Google, Facebook, Plenty of Fish. He’s not on the internet. Not even an employee listing, a letter to the editor, a running race result. There are not enough Damian Costellos in the world. But there is Kneel Young on Plenty of Fish. He fits the profile. Claims to be thirty-five, which is what any fifty-year-old cruising twenty-five-year-olds would do.”
“Popular Girls,” #40.4, Summer 2013, Grain.
“Sally’s mom leaned out of the kitchen, all ten fingertips wedged into her two jeans pockets. She tried to push them in farther, but gave up when she hit the soft wall of flesh I’d once heard Sara refer to as gunt. There was no visible bone on Sally’s mom. The way a mom should be. A cushion between us and the awful world. Something I knew I would inevitably become, but in a grotesque alternate universe in which I was old and undesirable.”
“Fall From Oysters,” January, 2013, Little Fiction.
“He isn’t her type at all, this hot dog stand guy. Louise’s last few dates were more effeminate. Tall, pale, weedy. The sort of eligible bachelor a Jane Austen heroine would thumb her nose at. This one drools at the mention of oysters, sweats with the effort of swallowing them whole. He’s thick. A cross-section of him would reveal dense bone and two inches of fat-marbled flesh. She could never squeeze one of his babies out.” Read the rest at Little Fiction.
“The Definition of Hunger,” #122, Spring 2012, The New Quarterly.
(acknowledged/long-listed by Zsuzsi Gartner for 2011 Short Grain Contest)
“This Dee-Dee character Philip has chosen is pulled up to the corner of my kitchen table like she can’t commit to a side. Her legs are crossed, calves splattered with freckles like mud from a puddled bike ride. Her bob screams six-year-old girl, though by the looks of her crimson dye job, she’s going for femme fatale. She leans across the table, hands clenched around her coffee mug as though we’re a couple of 60s housewives.”