High School, our 20th issue, is on the way. To cel­e­brate, we’re pub­lish­ing a series of cre­ative writ­ing and illus­tra­tion that cel­e­brate those teenage times for what they were–glorious, hope­less, funny, mov­ing, or just plain embarrassing.

The Surfer by Amelia Garvin
The Surfer by Amelia Garvin

Grammar School
By Megan Jones

Unlike the others,
my father loved
my first boyfriend like
a son; he
actually likes
“doing” “things,” he said. He
is “productive”; he
“wood,” wipes
cutting boards, “cuts”
at them.

Lately, reluctantly, poet
ically I too have asked: are fathers
the poets?

No, really: I imagine them moulding
our little pink
mouths at birth, mouths
later fluttering
wings, loose but
tied and tethered, always,
to some rotting
estuary of words.

Do normal women love
a man’s
as much as I

Do they archive
Facebook messages?

Do they sit cross-armed
like a
“bitch” at
“barbeques” just

Do they wrap and dispose of
like tampons
that is to say: shamefully?

You must be thinking: she has
wasted half
this “poem”

But it must be so
lonely to be a
displaced male word!
Pushed out by the woman’s
new lover
firm mouth
planting words like
hard seeds.

“The green room,”
is the thrashing “barrel”
of a wave, or
“to get pitted” means slipping
beneath the wave’s
inverted belly.

The slope
of the “break,”
is waves, curling
their white fists.

I think I would like
to write a poem
about that next.

I think I like fists now
more than I like “break.”

In winter, this boyfriend,
the one who surfs, shook
snow from his “deck.”
“Let’s get in
the green,” pulled my wet
suit down: a glimpse
of “chicken-skin” chest.

Back then I did not
“breast” or, worse,
“sex.” “Sex” was
is fragile, an unripe
banana of a word: stuck in the
cheek, fuzzed.

My life, a girl’s life
could’ve been all white knuckles
and sexy silence. Waves of blue.
Dark odorous

Instead it was/is the flat
pan held by one who is liked
who has become a real
“thing,” worth
“doing.” It’s “wood,” productively

A“long iron” at the driving range
is a long shaft, it was
my “athletic” boyfriend.

We liked “red” and “winner”
“gold” and “burn.”

Green fists of grass, clenched
white balls. What comes
next, over the rolling
hill? The fathers,
crouching with their daughters,
ducks with heads in the water
Get your bums right up, in the air!
I’ve never
known men in love
with waiting
for words to flow up, ideally:
yes, all, and.


Megan Jones lives and writes poems in Vancouver. She also splits her time between working at two different publishing firms: ZG Communications, a boutique marketing agency for authors, publishers and not-for-profits; and Page Two Strategies, an innovative literary agency where writers publish in a variety of ways. 

Amelia Garvin is a painter and illus­tra­tor who has exhibited her work in group shows across Van­cou­ver. She has a BFA from Emily Carr. See more work by Amelia here and here. 


High School, our 20th issue, is on the way. To cel­e­brate, we’re pub­lish­ing a series of poetry and illus­tra­tion that cel­e­brate those teenage times for what they were–glorious, hope­less, funny, mov­ing, or just plain embarrassing.

Illustration by Amelia Garvin
Illustration by Amelia Garvin

I am remembering the sacredness of sleepovers
By Sarah Ens

I am remembering
the sacredness of sleepovers
and the holding of hair, holy in our hands
twisting braids too loose, taking care
with their undoing, over and over
like an anointing

our ritualized rating
of those poor boys, a sacrifice
until Ryan got a ten out of ten out of
nowhere so we started watching LOTR in slow-mo,
Spiderman backwards, I don’t know why
it was so funny, these things
we could control

and when Abby’s mom died
Abby lay on the floor in the basement at Meg’s
and her cousins lay beside her
like three fingers on one hand that said a-okay
Abby pulling the sleeping bag up
over her head, staying still
just like that

I could never keep vigil, I always
fell asleep only to be woken up
to choose which teacher to kill marry
or screw, shouting elementary school songs like
swears, like spells, I Am
Chiquita Banana shaking the walls of the spare room
and then sneaking our mothers’ vodka, the first time
we did puzzles all night before crumpling
to the floor to confess the way we felt
ourselves, the spaces we’d found that made
us feel ashamed

one time I threw a whole cake
on the floor at the end of an all-nighter
and we scrubbed and scrubbed
but the stain on the unfinished wood
just spread, reckless
and so full of feeling every night, catching
our new mouths on old magics
on baby feminist god-fearing poems
speaking together our scriptures in so
many pink tongues

and I wanted to soften the matted knot
at the nape of your neck, escaped from my attempt
at a French braid, you looking to me fuzzy,
blurred with tenderness, tangles
telling me that he touched you when you were
just a kid

I am remembering
how we pressed our shirt sleeves to our chins
how our eyes burned that dark room, I am reciting
the prayer that curled up from our growing lungs
and lengthened like smoke, stretching
up and up into safer sleep.


Sarah Ens grew up in rural Manitoba before moving to Vancouver to study Creative Writing at UBC. After earning her BFA, she returned to Winnipeg to write sad poems and surround herself with books and Mennonites as an editorial assistant at Turnstone Press. Her work has appeared in Poetry is Dead, The Garden Statuary, and Fugue.

Amelia Garvin is a painter and illus­tra­tor who has exhib­ited her work in group shows across Van­cou­ver. She has a BFA from Emily Carr. See more work by Amelia here and here.



GCNb2EGa_vdfQkXGoIEjfiZ9Qi7tz5jRQki5Wh38ZT0Violence, sex, drugs, love, friendship, hope–Luxembourgian director Donato Rotunno’s latest feature, Baby(a)lone, reminds us why being thirteen and different is still every bit as confusing as ever. The film launched this year’s annual European Union Film Festival, which runs until December 9 at the Cinematheque. With powerful performances by a talented young cast, Baby(a)alone is difficult, emotional, and gripping from start to finish.

Joshua Defays is the film’s unnamed protagonist, a problem child living with his largely absent mother (Fabienne Elaine Hollwege) in an affluent modern Europe. Life isn’t going well for the boy; his antics have landed him in special ed, just a small step up from the alternative–reform school. He spends his days rolling cigarettes and talking to his imaginary best friend Johnny (Etienne Halsdorf) at recess. The evenings he passes in his bedroom, smoking pot while his mother has loud webcam sex in the room next door.DJQ-Jr_jSe4KWEi4cto9fgsdw1XEhqpk1gHmRzA0cxE

Everything changes when he meets Shirley (Charlotte Elsen), a pretty, enigmatic misfit who joins the special ed program after attacking another student. The boy is immediately drawn to her, and they quickly develop an intense friendship. Although Shirley is manipulative and at times even abusive, she brings a spark of energy to the boy’s life. Together, they skip school and wander the city, watching movies, shoplifting, and getting drunk.

Expertly directed and stunningly shot, Baby(a)lone is an honest and emotional venture into a bleak teenage reality. And while it isn’t exactly enjoyable to watch (at times, it is downright horrifying) the film is extremely engrossing. For, despite the young protagonists’ flaws, it’s impossible not to sympathize with them as they fumble towards happiness–or at least some approximation of it.

The 18th Annual European Film Festival runs from November 27 to December 9 at the Cinematheque. For more tickets and screenings, visit the festival website.

High School, our 20th issue, is on the way! To cel­e­brate, we’re pub­lish­ing a series of poetry and illus­tra­tion that cel­e­brate those teenage times for what they were–glorious, hope­less, funny, mov­ing, or just plain embarrassing.

Illustration by Amelia Garvin
Illustration by Amelia Garvin

By Nathaniel G. Moore

To her, every road wasn’t made of material itself,
but animalistic memory and sensory sent out
the way bats see, bouncing infrared animation depicting
what we can’t see or the way beacons, other worlds contact us.
It’s as if we are riding over people’s dreams, dog’s dreams, made
of ancestral bones made of skin clouds made of a million soup craving,
bank robbing sister’s shameful tears
I didn’t create language, Kathy thought. Later she
would think about her mother and father and the people she loved.
Now she wants to tell us teenaged or otherwise that the world is a complicated
place and that you can put ribbons on everything but it doesn’t
change the fact
That beauty isn’t something you can pluck from a grocery hearse and everyone
is different and feels fucked up for no reason but there is
always a fucking reason.


Nathaniel G. Moore is the author of Savage 1986-2011(Anvil Press), winner of the 2014 ReLit Award for best novel. His next book, Jettison, is a collection of romantic horror stories. It will launch in Vancouver in May 2016 along with an art show of the same name. A life-long Torontonian, Moore now calls Pender Harbour, where he has a PR job in the book creation industry, home.

Amelia Garvin is a painter and illustrator who has exhibited her work in group shows across Vancouver. She has a BFA from Emily Carr. See more work by Amelia here and here. 


Look out for High School Poetry on Tuesdays on sadmag.ca.

High School, our 20th issue, is on the way! To celebrate, we’re publishing a series of poetry and illustration that celebrate those teenage times for what they were–glorious, hopeless, funny, moving, or just plain embarrassing.

How Art Would Save Us by Amelia Garvin
How Art Would Save Us by Amelia Garvin


By Esther McPhee

Ten years out of high school, I watch six seasons
of Glee in three months. It’s embarrassing to admit this

but when they burst into song I got that shining
feeling again. You know, that cocktail of conviction

and desperation that insists something inside of you
is important enough to become a poem.

If graduation was when I wedded myself to real life
(rent, grocery bills, the kind of heartbreak that makes you sober

and cautious), then I’m on my tin anniversary,
year of brittle metal. I remember high school pretty well

and I’m sure it was neither as cruel nor as gay as it is on TV.
I’m sure I spent whole semesters dreaming of a kiss

that would shock my fist open the way Kurt’s hand uncurls
when Blaine falls onto his mouth that first time, like water finally

after a long thirst. I cried after that scene the way I cried
when I found out a senior had killed himself

over spring break. I knew he was gay even though
I’d only talked to him twice in the hallway. We all knew

he was perfect. In a building made of pretending
no one else existed, he met your eyes

whenever he walked past. There was no song
for how immediately he disappeared. Just static.

Everything is pain and magic when your dreams
are as big as stadiums. Once in a while I want to remember

how completely I believed art could save anything
—anyone—when I was sixteen.


Esther McPhee is a genderqueer writer, magic-maker and organizer who lives in a cozy collective house and reads a lot of kids books. They hold an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and co-organize a queer reading series called REVERB. Find out more about Esther here. “REMEMBER HOW WE FELT ABOUT ART AT SIXTEEN” will also appear in SAD Mag‘s upcoming issue: High School. 

Amelia Garvin is a painter and illustrator who has exhibited her work in group shows across Vancouver. She has a BFA from Emily Carr. See more work by Amelia here and here. 


Look out for High School Poetry on Tuesdays on sadmag.ca.

Due to a design error, the version of this poem that appears in SAD‘s print issue is centered rather than flush left as the poet intended. To Esther McPhee, to the poetry community, to our dear readers, we extend an embarrassed, heartfelt, left-aligned apology. 

If you wandered past Robson Square on the evening of August 13th, you may have glanced down to the ice rink and been a little puzzled. There was some swing-dancing happening initially, but then as people filtered in, the swathes of blue light began to encompass more than your run-of-the-mill mingling. To celebrate the kick-off of the 27th annual Queer Film Festival, attendees were graced by the presence of fire breathers, circus performers, and acrobats. If you hung around, you also likely took in some characteristically incredible performances from Shanda Leer, Anna Propriette, and ManUp’s PonyBoy.
It was a celebration by cinephiles of all sorts for cinephiles of even more sorts, loudly and stylishly setting off what’s going to be ten beautifully crafted days of seventy films (read about Program Director Shana Myara’s excited approach to the lineup here).


Some of SAD Mag’s lovely and talented writers will be preparing reviews and interviewing the creators of some choice films from this years lineup. Here’s what we’re most excited for!


The Cult of JT LeRoy

“The infamous writer who sparked “the postmodern trial of the century,” JT LeRoy, a 15-year-old trans* sex worker, was hailed for writing heart wrenching novels. Chuck Palahniuk described JT as having the “authentic voice of someone who suffers.” Known for being deeply shy, JT LeRoy was encircled by a Warholian world of celebrities including Winona Ryder, Rosario Dawson, Natasha Lyonne, Sandra Bernhard, Gus Van Sant, Shirley Manson, Lou Reed and numerous writers and agents. But at the peak of JT’s 10-year rise came a rapid fall from grace. Was this the world’s largest literary scandal? Or a profound uncovering of our literary biases? Director Marjorie Sturm crafts a haunting, introspective documentary that questions artistic voice, freedom of speech and how far we will go to achieve our dreams.”


We’re excited to have an interview with director Marjorie Sturm to go along with the screening of JT LeRoy!



Bright Eyes, Queer Hearts

“This youth-full night of short films is just the tall order you’ve been looking for. We start this night by celebrating the young local filmmakers who won this year’s Rise Against Homophobia Youth Short Video Contest. Then we venture into an amazing international selection of shorts that delve into the awkward, the painful, and the silly moments of growing up queer. From first crushes in Mexico to dealing with friends – and enemies – in Denmark, to the perils of social media and nosy parents in Taiwan. “

Afterwards, the films were discussed by panelists Vi Read, Tahia Ahmed, and Jessie Anderson! The lineup of films to be shown include RISE AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA YOUTH SHORT VIDEO CONTEST WINNERS, and Love Intersections’ Regalia: Pride in Two Spirits from Canada; Carina, from Mexico by Sandra Reynoso; Big Time-My Doodled Diary by Sonali Gulati from India and the USA; CAGED (UITGESPROKEN) from the Netherlands by Lazlo and Dylan Tonk; and Penguins at the North Pole, by Stella Lin.



Girl at My Door

“This powerful film by writer-director July Jung presents a stunning reflection on immigration, rural life, addiction and abuse—and the heartbreak of finding no safe refuge in family or law. Young-Nam, an outsider with an unspoken scandal, is sent from Seoul to a small village to take over as police chief, and is soon drawn into the personal dramas of the locals. When her ex-lover arrives, Young-Nam’s defense of a girl in the town becomes suspect. A beautifully done, sometimes disturbing, and ultimately exquisite film, July Jung’s A Girl at My Door captures the fantasies and hopes of two people finding hard-won redemption.”

This film famously garnered a three-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival–don’t miss it!

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party

“Stephen Cone (The Wise Kids) brings us another smart incisive film full of depth, guilt, pain, and peace. Traversing the common experience of growing up gay in a home where faith rules, Henry Gamble is turning 17 and his worlds of church, school, adult mentors, family, and youth group are colliding. When Logan (a quiet youth from his church group) arrives, Henry is pulled into the awkward longing and distancing that often comes with adolescent desire. A bold and complex image of the inner struggles of those who hold faith, this film is a sharp work with believable characters, excellent acting, and the beautiful reminder that “the trouble with growing up is that you are always becoming yourself.”



The Chambermaid

“A powerful adaptation of Markus Orths’ novel of the same name, The Chambermaid is a dream come true for every kinkster with a bent for complex portrayals of sex work, mental health and happy endings. This slow-burning drama offers up a make-you-wait-for-it depiction of a refreshingly weird duo of characters. Lynn’s highly regulated and mundane life as a cleaner at a hotel is transformed once she hires Chiara, a dominatrix sex worker who adds enough blast to her world to open her up and help her regain intimacy through kink. Starkness mixes with whimsy in this arthouse flick that amps up in the same way that love and recovery so often do.”


Liz in September

“Patricia Velasquez (Arrested Development, The L Word), also known as the first Latina lesbian supermodel, stars in this intimate love story as Liz, a party girl and heartbreaker who has a reputation for being irresponsible— and irrevocably seductive. She also has a secret. After she meets up with a group of friends for their annual celebration in the Caribbean, the mysterious Eva joins them and their lives become intertwined. With a lively cast including an ebullient group of friends, director Fina Torres brings us a meditation on the invisibility of death, the limits of life, and gaining what we need when we least expect it.Liz in September boldly reminds us that the best is yet to come.”

We’re going to have reviews of all of these films up in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Angel Morgan, Animal Communicator
Angel Morgan, Animal Communicator

Angel Morgan goes by many titles: psychic, medium, healer, television show host, motivational speaker, and, perhaps most notably, animal communicator. I have never spoken to a psychic before, let alone an animal psychic, so I’m not sure what to expect when I call her at her Toronto home late on a Tuesday night. An animated, matter-of-fact woman answers, and soon we are on the subject of spirit animals.

“Everyone has a spirit animal,” she tells me. “Yours is actually the elephant.”

It’s not until the interview is over that I notice I’m wearing my grandmother’s elephant charm around my neck.

Shannon Tien: How did you get into animal communication as a line of work?

Angel Morgan: [laughing] That’s quite the story, actually… I got an email that said, “Are you coming to the animal communications course?” And my friend calls me up and she’s like, “Are you going?” And I’m like, “Fine, I’ll go to disprove it.” By the time I had finished the two-day class, I had realized that not only was this real, but I was really good at it. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years.

ST: Can you describe your first ever experience communicating with an animal?

AM: I remember the first time that it really hit me. Shortly after I went to that course, I went to Marineland [the aquarium in Niagara Falls] and there was this whale that came right up to the glass. And my son and I were just standing there and I could feel a sadness in it that literally, physically dropped me to my knees.

The funnier story is that I used to have a cat, Marlowe, a ginger. And my cat used to pee in the heat register of our home. Of course, that was not a happy thing. So I thought to myself, “I’m going to ask the cat to pee in the toilet. That’s what I’m going to do.” And so everyday I would ask the cat. About two weeks later my son comes into the room and says, “Mommy, mommy, the cat’s peeing in the toilet.” We got up, we’re all looking at this cat peeing in the toilet, and the cat turns around as if to say, “Yeah this is what you wanted. Can I have some privacy now?” And to the day he passed, he went to the washroom in the toilet.

ST: So did you say the words out loud?

AM: There are four ways of talking to an animal. The physical, which we’re all used to — that’s “sit,” “stay,” “come,” all that jazz. And then there is the mental, which is when you give them pictures and they give you pictures and you communicate like that, or you hear their voices. And then there’s the emotional. And the emotional is when you feel what your animal is feeling. And you communicate your feeling.

And then there is the spiritual, so that’s when an animal crosses over, or they’re not in my presence, like they’re in a different country.

ST: When they talk, is it in a language? Is it in English?

AM: [laughing] Yes and no. My teacher taught us right off the bat that we have universal translators. So basically, if I have an animal that speaks Spanish, I can call on my guides and my guardians, and the animal has angels and guides and guardians that work with them, too. I can go up to that level and say, “Listen, I need to understand what they’re saying. Turn on my universal translator,” or whatever a particular animal communicator wants to call it. We all have different words for it.

ST: Do you have a lot of pets?

AM: Oh yeah. We have a dog, we have a cat, we have a bird, we have a snake.

ST: Does it ever get loud in your head?

AM: [laughing] It can. The bird is very visual. The dog speaks. The cat is really emotional. So each one of them gives me practice in different aspects.

ST: What are cats like to communicate with? I would assume that they’re standoffish, but that might be a stereotype.

AM: It is. Every single cat is different. Do they have attitude? Yeah. Most cats do have a bit of “cattitude.” They all have that very distinct, “I rule the roost” vibe. Once you get past that, though, they’re very individual animals. Some of them are brilliant and others just don’t care. When you’re looking at wild cats, like jaguars or panthers, which is more what I lean towards, those animals are more primal. You get less verbal/mental and more emotional/spiritual.

ST: Do you ever speak to dead animals?

AM: All the time. That’s actually where I get most of my cat clients from, ones who have crossed over. A lot of people will have me come to their home or clinic before their cat passes. I feel very blessed and fortunate to be able to do that.

ST: Are cats afraid to die?

AM: No. Animals are not like us. Animals are accepting. Regardless of how domestic they are, animals understand that it’s just process. It’s not like, “Okay, I’m ok to die now.” They’re just so in the moment that it’s just a part of what the present brings.

ST: What do you say when people don’t believe you? Do you ever have skeptical clients?

AM: All the time. By the time they leave, they’re not sceptical anymore. [laughing] That’s the first thing. But I respect it. Everyone has their own perspective on it. I’m not here to prove my work is real. I’m here to do work.

ST: What’s the most interesting thing an animal has ever said to you?

AM: Want to know anything about a family? Talk to the animals. They’re always willing to tell you about the affairs, the funny things, the bad things.

ST: Do you eat meat?

AM: I do, actually. We believe that we all have contracts with each other and we make those contracts well before we come into this world. And the contract of that particular animal is to help me survive, to help me maintain who I am. It takes a lot of courage for that animal to make that contract. But if you’re someone who goes hunting for sport, I take issue with that.

ST: What do you think of Dr. Doolittle? Does he accurately portray the profession?

AM: [laughing] My mom, when I told her, “Look, I talk to animals,” it was weird because she turned around and said, “Yeah. That doesn’t surprise me. You’re Mrs. Doolittle. You always have been Mrs. Doolittle.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Get yer moustache on and head down to the Fox Cabaret for the Official After Party for East-Side Pride, hosted by sexy-town residents Tran Apus Rex and Shanda Leer!

1 ticket = 2 queer dance parties: Freddie Mercury MAN-GLAM Dance party + ROUGH TRADE

Entertainment includes:

Freddie Mercury drag show!

DJ Ruggedly Handsome
DJ Bella Lugosie
DJ Jef Leppard
DJ Daniel Pitout

Moustache photo-booth! BYOM (just kidding, we’ll have them)

Tickets $12 at the door or $10 in advance. RSVP and get your tickets right here.

Join Sad Mag TONIGHT at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway, Vancouver) for the official book launch of Gender Failure.

Shoulder to Shoulder – A Preview of Gender Failure by Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote – Arsenal Pulp Press (2014)

If the title does not clue you in, this is not the queer give-to-your-grandmother story collection for which Coyote is famous. It does not sing to an electro-pop beat. There are no country roots, but there is wilderness–and in this wilderness, Rae and Ivan have decided to come out.

Gender Failure is a non-fiction, storytelling piece which represents a distinct departure from the trans* narratives before it.  The “trapped my body” trans* tropes are shelved, while gender is shown to be highly personable, subject to a dialectic. The book is a joint manifesto of sorts, separating sexual preference firmly from gender identity. It draws us into the roots of binary discomfort with a camera lens that, at times, feels like the Blair Witch Project: immediate, disorienting, raw, unflattering messy, and circumscribed by fear.

Our two heroes, alternating chapters, weave through personal histories and presentations. Pronouns are placed in situ but by the end of the book, we must confront that the singular “they” pronoun is requested–plain and simple. Their stories are so compelling in fact, the reader might want to take the cue from Rae and announce their own gender retirement.  As Ivan suggests, this could be our second chance too.

– K Wade

Gender Failure is co-written by Rae and Ivan and published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Join Sad Mag TONIGHT at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway, Vancouver) for the official book launch of Gender Failure.
This show is All Ages. Box office and Will Call will open with doors at 7pm. Advance tickets are no longer available. Tickets will be $25 at the door.  


Jesse Donaldson

When Sad Mag first interviewed Jesse Donaldson, a couple of months ago, we were all aflutter with issue no.12/13 Mad Mad World and the amazing piece of Donaldson’s included in it. We were stoked to meet him at a rooftop launch party and misremembered the colour of his hair in the auburn glow of the setting sun. We asked him questions, he gave us responses, and we promised to hold on to the interview for him until closer to the launch of  his first book, This Day in Vancouver

Now that the book is set to be launched at the Portside on Nov 19th, and we’ve had time to dwell productively on what it means to have written such a book, we have more questions. Like, how many of your days did every day in Vancouver take to write? And what is your favourite day? The shark in the Georgia Strait? The declaration of an official town fool? In 365 well-researched and beautifully written entries, readers will have to judge for themselves.


Sad Mag: Who are you?
Jesse Donaldson: I ask myself that at least twice a day.

SM: Is there such a thing as a “literary scene” in Vancouver, and if so, how did you get involved in it?
JD: I’m not sure there’s a single, cohesive “scene” so much as a collection of smaller reading and writing communities, each with a different focus.

There’s the Vancouver Poetry Slam, which happens every week at Cafe Deux Soleils, where poets can share their work and win money, and hone their craft. There are the journalists – the old guard at the Pacific Newspaper dailies and the Straight, and the newer generation writing for folks like Megaphone and The Tyee. There are small, community writing groups like the West End Writers’ Group, who tend to be mostly passionate amateurs, and who share everything from portions of novels to upcoming blog posts. Then, there are the folks who write and publish legit books. I’m only occasionally invited to their parties – which is a wise choice on their part.

SM: What was the first piece of writing that you felt proud of?
JD: Probably a short story I submitted to a writing contest when I was 14 or 15. It had a snarky little twist ending, and I think it ended up doing rather well – first or second place. Up until that point, it had never struck me as something to do for anybody other than myself, so that was a nice little revelation. Before that, probably an epic comic book saga I wrote with my younger brother about a laxative with super-powers.

SM: What do you think literary life in Vancouver is lacking?
JD: More chances to drink heavily and bellow at each other.

SM: Favourite Vancouver writer/poet(s)?
JD: Oh, man. From a history-nerd perspective, Daniel Francis has written some of the most in-depth and interesting stuff about this city I’ve ever read. In that vein, Jean Barman’s book on Stanley Park, and Aaron Chapman’s book on The Penthouse are both marvelous reads, too. On the poet side of things, folks like Jillian Christmas, Chris Gilpin, and R.C. Weslowski continue to blow my mind with their insight/hilarity. Also, a Vancouver gal named Moira Walley-Beckett, who’s written some of the best episodes of the best television series ever made, period. This show called Breaking Bad that not many people have heard of.

SM: Favourite literary genre?
JD: Henry Miller.

SM: What is the book you fantasize about writing?
JD: I’m in the midst of finishing up a Canada Council Grant for a travel book I want to do about New Zealand. I rode a motorcycle around the country a couple of years ago, and I’d love to combine that narrative with some solid research and humorous observations about the place in general.

Either that, or an epic comic-book saga about a laxative with super-powers.

SM: Where are you as you answer these questions?
JD: Up to my nose in research for my first book, THIS DAY IN VANCOUVER, due out this fall from the good folk at Anvil Press. Which geographically puts me somewhere between a state of euphoria and a panic attack.

SM: Last album you listened to?
JD: M-83’s “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”. About a billion times.

SM: What are you most excited about right now?
JD: The release of my first book, THIS DAY IN VANCOUVER, due out this fall from the good folk at Anvil Press. Seriously. There are actual pre-sales, and a book launch at Portside on November the 19th, and it’s just in time for the Christmas season, and it’s chock full of photos and the layout looks fantastic, and it’s just generally a whole big pile of awesome. Bring your parents. Bring your friends. Bring your parents’ friends. We’ll drink heavily and bellow at each other.