Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where am I?

If you're wondering why I'm quiet, seldom-updated blog, it's because I'm working on my thesis. A novel. About dying. That's all I'm going to say.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same

My review of Mattox Roesch's debut novel, Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same, is now up, operational, and viewable at LipStik Indie. Checker.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: Coming Attractions

Speaking of Broken Pencil, the current ish (lovingly displayed to the left) also contains my review of the latest Coming Attractions anthology, featuring Rebecca Rosenblum, Daniel Griffin (up for the Journey Prize this year) and Alice Petersen. The review is not as exciting as the anthology, but it's certainly more exciting than used q-tips or bent bicycle spokes, so check it out.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For Crying Out Loud! reviewed

Guys and ghouls, peep this review of For Crying Out Loud!, a chapbook published by those crazy chaps at crazy micropress Ferno House. The story I have in the chapbook is called 'happily-perverse,' which might be better than 'perversely-happy,' but I'm not sure. The review appears in the latest edition of Broken Pencil. Word on the street is that copies of For Crying Out Loud! are still floating around at The Women's Bookstore and various other places in the city. If you can't find a copy and won't be able to sleep at night without holding it near, head over to the Ferno House website, or send me an email and I'll hook you up.

Anyway, here's the review:

Hand-made chapbooks typically vacillate between the shoddy and the over-ornate – in other words, either photocopied booklets of staple-stitched construction paper or precious little darlings laced with gold thread and pasted feathers. Arnaud Brassard, designer and printer of the new Toronto micro-press Ferno House, manages to avoid either extreme with resounding panache, producing with For Crying Out Loud (Ferno House’s premiere release) a surprisingly beautiful, perfect-bound masterstroke of hand-crafted restraint.

For Crying Out Loud is a collection of poetry and fiction by the students and instructors enrolled in the Masters degree in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. It boasts a poem fragment by seasoned veteran George Elliott Clarke, written in his audaciously lyrical, overtly musical hand, and a short story by American-born fiction writer Jeff Parker – a pitch-perfect, hilarious send-up of both presumptuous American ex-patriots holidaying in Canada and a somewhat lesser known, home-grown entity – the French Redneck. The rest of the book is divided between the program’s aspiring writers and students. In terms of poetry, one finds the subtle linguistic play and adventurousness of Catriona Wright; the spare, Biblically-inspired verse of Wendy Prieto; the meditative and sickly sensual lines of Alex Grigorescu, and the morbid, keen-eyed histories of Laura Clarke. As for fiction, Jonathan Simpson writes out the affecting, fragmented history of a father’s love; Andrew MacDonald provides a cheeky, happily-perverse look at voyeurism and crime; and Spencer Gordon (the editor of Ferno House) writes a dark reflection on cigarettes, death, and literary ambition, which takes an apt turn for the surreal. If what’s included in this collection is any indication of promise, then we should expect some remarkable work from these bourgeoning, Toronto-based writers.

According to the Ferno House website, the book might still be found at choice locations around the city of Toronto for a reasonable $15. I say go pick it up – it’s a damn fine combination of DIY, entrepreneurial ‘zine-culture, sophisticated and meticulous design craft, and ambitious literary writing.

by Eddie Leslie

From Broken Pencil 45

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daily Goodness Update

The Daily XY, referenced in the previous entry, took home Best Online-Only publication in the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. Props.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Daily Literary Goodness

A short little ditty I wrote for the Daily XY about three of my favourite weekly literary reading event thingies is up. Go here:


It has a picture of my face on it that I took in my bedroom. One of my cats was there. She likes peanut butter. Is that normal?

Friday, October 9, 2009


I'm sorry I've been neglecting you, little blog. Things have been very busy.

Soon we will reconnect. Soon soon.

Until then, you should go to this launch of The New Quarterly at the end(ish) of the month. Here are the details:

Join The New Quarterly for a celebration of remarkable writing, on Thursday, October 22 at Art|Bar (in Kitchener, Ontario).
Have a drink with your favourite editors, meet some of our noteworthy writers, and hear a preview of our fall issue, Travellers in a Strange Land. View the Facebook Event to invite your friends.

Doors open @ 7pm, readings beginning @ 8. Pay what you can.

We’ve recruited our feature writer from the issue, Carrie Snyder, to talk about her work and read a selection. We’ve also partnered with Biblioasis Press, to bring you two rising stars from our previous issues: Amy Jones (Issue 111) and Rebecca Rosenblum (Issue 107, 110) to read from their newest collections.

Featuring the music of Alexander James.

Here is a link: http://theliterarytype.ca/?p=626#more-626

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On Rejection

The folks over at The Literary Type, the official blog of The New Quarterly, asked me to do a guest blog on rejection letters. Here's my contribution: Tao of Form Rejection Letters.

You should read it. I mention the time a magazine rejected me by not rejecting me. The story only goes downhill from there.

Completely unrelated, but if you haven't read Skim, you should probably do so.

Friday, August 28, 2009


It's been awhile. My apologies. What's new with me?

- A triad of reviews in LipStik Indie.

- Packing for my move to the Annex on Tuesday.

- Quitting my job to get set for the thesis year of my creative writing masters.

- An internship at a literary agency, starting in the next couple of weeks (swoon).

- An acceptance letter from Event Magazine. The story's called Eat Fist! and it's a lesbian coming out story about a geeky high school math whiz who falls in love with her giant bodybuilding Ukrainian tutor. Huh? Yeah, you heard me right.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It seems that William Golding, author of Simspons-parodied and general literary classic The Lord of the Flies, admits to setting children against each other during his stint as a teacher at Bishop's. More shocking is his attempted rape of a 15 year old girl during his teen years. Here's a bit from The Guardian:

The attempted rape involved a Marlborough girl, named Dora, who had taken piano lessons with Golding. It happened when he was 18 and on holiday during his first year at Oxford.

Carey quotes the memoir as partially excusing the attempted rape on the grounds that Dora was "depraved by nature" and, at 14, was "already sexy as an ape".

It reveals that Golding told his wife he had been sure the girl "wanted heavy sex". She fought him off and ran away as he stood there shouting: "I'm not going to hurt you," the memoir said.

Two years later, the pair met again and had sex in a field, with Golding again introducing crudity by quoting the girl's foreplay remark: "Should I have all that rammed up my guts?"

The author was convinced her approach to his father was a deliberate attempt to discredit him and his older brother who, coincidentally, was having sex with his girlfriend in the same field.

The biography detailing all of Golding's exploits is forthcoming. I'm a total gossip-monger, so I'll clearly be buying it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I just signed a lease for a fantastic apartment in the Annex. Little to do with writing, other than the fact that I'll be writing in it a lot come September.

There you go.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


[the following comes from the estimable blog of the inestimable Spencer Gordon.]

The Conservative government has decided to cut literary publications out of Canadian Periodical Funding.

Here's the source, from Quill and Quire. I think it's something you should read.

But rest assured, gentle reader - important cultural publications like Elle, Fashion Magazine, Flare, and Style at Home (which no doubt absolutely require the 600 to 900 thousand dollars they receive from the government per annum, due to their tiny, marginal audiences and thought-provoking, status-quo challenging content) will still be on the Conservative payroll.

So, if you like to read new writing, by poor or struggling or burgeoning writers, or like to see a viable outlet for anything even remotely avant-garde or 'challenging', please do your country a favour and support the arts.

Here's how:

1) Subscribe to a lit mag (or ten), if you haven't done so already.
2) Repeat step one.
3) Stop voting Conservative, if you haven't done so already for some strange and scary reason that I'm sure wasn't your fault (probably bad parenting or abuse or that accident on the see-saw when you were four that made your forehead look kind of 'funny'). And if you don't vote, please start actively voting against the Conservatives, as this is all mostly your fault, you apathetic loser.

Anyways. Goodnight, sweet magazines. We'll miss you in the fast food concrete suburbs of Harper's happy planet.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Oh yeah, almost forgot. My first review for LipStik Indie is up. It's, like, okay. The next one will be better.

Loving Beth C.

I'm supposed to be doing preliminary work on my thesis, a novel about crazy people. Instead I'm reading some pretty cool Larry Doyle articles. If you haven't heard of Larry Doyle or you're too lazy to click the link, he wrote I Love You Beth Cooper, which I read and found comical. Evidently others did also; it won the James Thurber humor award. He also wrote for The Simpsons. And for places like Esquire and The New Yorker.

In particular, I'm enjoying these essays:

Larry Doyle on moving to LA to write for the Simpons.

How Larry Doyle Became a Writer, Part One

How Larry Doyle Became a Writer, Part Two

Pretty good stuff. In characteristically self-deprecating fashion, he claims these puppies contain no helpful advice. Well. I like how much shit he goes through and how he still trucks on. Good on you, Larry Doyle. I also like how he milks his contacts and advises writers to know as many talented people as possible. In my own (VERY LIMITED, TOTALLY AMATEUR WRITER) experience, I've found that to be the case. I know a lot of really talented people who have been kind enough to throw me bones every once in awhile.

Anyway. I should probably put some pants on (my writing pants) and get back to the desk.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Article Up

My article on eco-friendly sex toys, Green: In Search of the Eco-Friendly Dildo, is up at Blackheart Magazine. Drop in. Say hi. Leave a comment. Wear a bucket on your head. Whatever.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


First review for LipStik Indie sent. Expect it, and a staff profile, up Monday. My dildo article should be up Friday at Blackheart Magazine.

In other news, last night I whipped up a quick piece about the oft-declared death of the novel for one of them pay-per-click sites. The article took me about twenty minutes to write, so it's no skin off my back if this turns out to be an epic bomb. It's an experiment, like.

I'm also probably starting a sister blog to this, if I have the time and inclination, wherein I catalogue, and review, whatever trashy pulp paperbacks come my way. It would be a labor of love.

Finally, I electrocuted myself the other day. Nothing serious, just a weird twitching sensation. I need a new extension cord.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Book-finding is a pleasure. When something catches your eye for no reason at a used bookstore, or you find a weird volume underneath a park bench, it's easy to feel like whatever you've found was placed there for you. I think we're all closet solipsists like that.

A few months ago I found an old, tattered tome, a musty beast the size of a bible, for less than two bucks outside BMV. Who knows why I noticed it. The cover's the kind of minimalist ugly that people probably liked a century ago. This one has a crude drawing of a hand with a spiderweb of lines charted along the palm. Tell me this title isn't gorgeous: Laws of Scientific Hand Reading. Published in Burma, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, 1962. Sometimes I pick it up and read a few pages. I find it difficult to describe the writing itself, a blend of science and superstition with echoes of some personal narrative in it. The kind of book, in other words, that's made to inspire stories. I hold it dear.

The other day a book of similar portent turned up, an old shorthand workbook, hard cover, for women in the 50s. Someone pasted a little pink sheet with their name on the inside cover. All of the exercises in it had been completed by such an expert hand that I first mistook the cursive for some kind of kooky font.

Someone else saw the book and wanted it.

Breaks your heart when they're prettier than you and beat you to the punch.

Lipstik Indie

Looks like I'll be doing regular book reviews for Lipstik Indie. From the front page: LipStik Indie Reviews is all about Indie Artists. If you are a singer, band, spoken word artist, comic book creator, writer (from zines to novels), have an ezine or online DIY store, you should be reviewed by us. We’ve all been in your shoes and know it is important for the world to know about you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I usually get one or two really fantastic cards for my birthday. The one that's held a special place in my heart to this point has a black and white picture of two kids sitting on a dock in their bathing suits, staring out onto a lake. The caption reads, "It's your birthday. Sit back. Relax. Wear a bucket on your head. Whatever."

For me, the card has this really palatable quasi-taoist philosophy behind it, like, chill out buddy, accept your idiosyncrasies (of which I have many). Wear that bucket on your head and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it.

This year the bucket-head card has competition. The card is white, unadorned. No images on the outside, just the following statement, in plain bold helvetica:

A disturbing birthday greeting card that shows a black and white photographic image of a semi-nude elderly lady. She is standing in a non-provocative pose, revealing her breasts.

Inside the card is nothing (except for the card giver's message, which is itself quite glorious and signed 'the Squid').

Friday, July 24, 2009


Xenith Interviews Andrew

An interview with me is up at the nifty webzine Xenith. I'm kind of flattered and totally happy with how the whole thing went down. Sometime in the future I'll probably post the whole damn thing on here, but not for awhile.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Waaaah. I should be finishing this article for tomorrow's deadline. Instead I'm rubbing my cat's belly, listening to instrumental jazz and playing Street Fighter EX plus Alpha (Capcom's sad attempt at Tekken style 3D). The entire scene looks like this:

*note: this is a random internet cat culled from google image. I in no way endorse cat boxing or any other forms of unregulated feline pugilism.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The summer issue of The Fiddlehead is out and contains my story, "Customer X." Information below.

Contents, No.240


5 Mark Anthony Jarman: Dark Was the Night, Bright Was the Diamond


6 Alice Petersen: Among the Trees
13 Rebecca Rosenblum: ContEd
27 Rebecca Rosenblum: Tech Support
41 Richard Cumyn: The Goddess Throws Down
49 Hazel Lyder: Grasping History
56 Jeff Park: A Boat in Still Water
71 Jeff Park: Back to Disney
81 Paul Martone: Homecoming
92 Lori Hahnel: Excerpt from Love Minus Zero
96 Elisabeth de Mariaffi: Ajaccio Belonged to the Genoese
103 J.M. Villaverde: The Spanish Hour
118 Stephanie Austin: "The Sink in Here Is Always Wet"
127 Hugh Graham: Klenau's Advance
137 Andrew MacDonald: "Customer X"
144 Jennifer Stone: Knowing
151 Steven Heighton: Shared Room On Union


164 Katia Grubisic: Mating Rituals of Homo Sapiens Newfoundlandsis
The Darren Effect, Libby Creelman
166 Pat Leech: Life's Greatest Questions: The Enigmas of Human Emotion
The Withdrawal Method, Pasha Malla
168 Shane Neilson: Not a Traditional Coming-of-Age Story
Skin Room, Sara Tilley
171 Ian Colford: Movie Magic
Silver Salts, Mark Blagrave
173 Richard Cumyn: The Compleat Male
Quintet, Douglas Arthur Brown
The Order of Good Cheer, Bill Gaston
176 Edward O'Connor: His Debate with Pain
The Push & The Pull, Darryl Whetter

Notes on Contributors

Suzanne Hill:
Markers, 1 of 3

Monday, July 20, 2009

Antique Debauchery Aids

Doing a bit of research for the eco-friendly sex toy article I'm working on and want to state for the record that dildos have a long, illustrious (and illustrated) history. Like this antique vibrating [pleasure] chair, manufactured by (I shit you not) Kellogg of cereal fame. Well. Have fun eating your Corn Flakes tomorrow morning.


I'm not on staff or anything, but I know they put together a good publication. Submit now.

Link: http://www.echolocation.ca

We are now accepting submissions for Issue 9 of Echolocation! DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 30,

We are accepting:

Fiction, max. 3000 words
Creative Nonfiction, max. 3000 words
Poetry, up to 10 poems
Visual art, submitted in .tif format

We are accepting submissions from students, faculty, or alumni of the University of
Toronto, as well as writers and artists from outside the University.

Please email your submissions in a Word document to:


Feel free to contact us regarding any writing that falls outside of the guidelines
stated above. We're willing to be a little flexible if you've got something good.

We can't wait to see your email in our inbox! Look forward to announcements about future
Echolocation events!

Thanks in advance for your consideration,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Be afraid.

According to this article from the BBC, cats manipulate their human owners into providing food and attention by shifting the pitch and tone of their purrs. The wily little bastards aurally mime the cry of infants, flicking on whatever primordial ma/paternal protect-the-kids switch is programmed into our brains. So when Beaker, my neurotic, corpulent little tuxedo cat wakes me up at four in the morning to get fed, it's that nutso purr that stops me from ignoring it.


Daily XY / Feline

Just got a contract for a short freelance piece I did for Daily XY: The Magazine for Urban Men. It features my three favourite regular literary readings in the city, The Pivot Reading Series, TINARS, and Art Bar. I'm not sure how I'll spend the cash. Probably on booze. And cat food. Which reminds me - my cats look like this:


Beaker K. Beakerton (nee Meredith)

The indignities the cute must suffer. . . 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ducks, attractions, montreal.

It's looking like my review of Oberon's latest edition of Coming Attractions 08 will appear in the next ish of Broken Pencil. Word has it, anyway.

Book details:

Coming Attractions 08 Edited by Mark Anthony Jarman Rebecca

Rosenblum writes offbeat, innovative stories that tend to show up in the Journey Prize anthology. Her characters come from the brittle world of ex-urban strip malls. In one story she features an Edmonton Oilers toque, but there are many other reasons to like her work. Daniel Griffin has also appeared in the Journey Prize anthology. He’s interested in gender roles and writes about fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters. Alice Petersen was a joy to discover. She writes compelling, painterly stories in assured, sophisticated prose. This book is much the richer for her appearance in it.

8.5 by 5.5 by 120 pages, cover from a bestiary, c. 1500
$18.95 (paper) ISBN 978 0 7780 1322 8 $38.95 (cloth) ISBN 978 0 7780 1321 1

Next up: some as-yet-unwritten-book-related writing for Matrix Magazine and an article on environmentally friendly sex toys for Blackheart Magazine. Coincidentally, both are Montreal-based.

Finally, this hot piece of comic ass was in the paper today and sums up the ebbs and flows of my writing process to a T:

xo andy

Saturday, July 4, 2009


You: go read Anne Lamott. Now. She's good. Powell's dot com notes that she "writes cleaner than she lived," one of the snazziest things I've ever heard someone say about a writer. Her memoir Operating Instructions was one of a handful of books from the late 20th century on the Modern Library's 100 Best Nonfiction Books.

It's heartbreaking and hilarious and sort of grimy. 

On the chopping block for me: a couple book reviews and pecking at the pile of papers I'm tentatively calling my thesis. 



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Small Press Book Fair

I encourage all three of this blog's readers to stop by the Toronto Small Press Book Fair this Saturday at the Toronto Reference Library, between 9am - 5pm. Existere is going to have a booth set up there and I'll be dropping by sometime during the day, so if you want to shiv me in the gullivers, hang around and choose your point of attack wisely. I have a big rib cage. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back in Black

Or at least in Toronto. Montreal was gorgeous and fun and the people I met were full of cool. Good work, McGill and co. 

Can someone tell my cats to stop keeping me up at night?

On the plate: writing a review of this year's edition of Coming Attractions.

exes and ohs,


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pivot / Montreal

Attended another Pivot Reading Series event at the Press Club. Good stuff and nice to finally meet this rob mclennan chap the homeboys keep talking about. His blog, in ugly copy/paste font and color: www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

The Pivot's webplace is this: http://pivotreadings.wordpress.com/

There's a good restaurant across the street from the Press Club. M-something or other. My seafood linguine was sex in seafood linguine form. Feed there, if possible. Wait, it's called Musa. Yeah. Good stuff.

It's 6:30 in the AM and I'm about to flee to Montreal to give a paper on female bodybuilding at a conference. My opening riff is about Olivia Newton-John and I'm tempted to wear my lycra singlet from my wrestling days. 

I also saw a six year old get hit by a car on Bloor just before Bathurst yesterday. Note to dimwits behind the wheel: if traffic is stopped at a red light and backed up at least a street, don't try to be a ninja and speed by in the other lane. 

Be well and speak easy. 


Monday, June 1, 2009


 Putting the finishing touches on a short non-fiction piece I pitched to a men's website. They gave me a green light a week and a half ago. Every word's come with the ease of a buick squeezed through my urethra.  Hail Marys until it's all packed away and I have fifty bucks in my wallet, waiting to be spent on cat food and date squares. 

xox andy

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ferno House

The debut chapbook from slick new micro press Ferno House was launched to much acclaim on Friday and features writing from the University of Toronto's creative writing department. 

Website: http://www.fernohouse.com

Official sounding details below. . .

Ferno House's debut release is For Crying Out Loud - An Anthology of Poetry & Fiction, a collection of poetry and fiction by the students and instructors of the 2008-2009 Master's Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. They are:

George Elliott Clarke
Laura Maija Clarke
Spencer Gordon
Alex Grigorescu
Andrew MacDonald
Jeff Parker
Wendy Prieto
Jonathan Simpson
Catriona Wright

For Crying Out Loud is a hand-made, perfect bound, and limited edition (120) release. $12.00

isbn 978-0-981253-0-4


Existere, a sexy little Toronto-based number with national distribution, is out! I'm holding it in my hands as we speak and it's a thing to behold. My story "Leap" graces its pages. Head over to your local lit journal carrying venue and pick yourself up a copy. Better yet, rustle up a subscription.

Website: http://www.yorku.ca/existere