Recent Journal Entries

Blue mug and Youthwrite contest

Hello. It’s Friday, June 13. And a full moon! There is a writing camp that is near and dear to my heart, called Youthwrite, and it is running a contest I want to being to your attention: Go to https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/YouthWrite/159621277384669/ for contest info on Facebook or here: http://youthwrite.com/ for general info on the camps.

But it is basically open to young writers aged 11-15, who must produce an original short story in 120 characters or less (so, the size of a Tweet). I do not qualify but…here’s my stab:

“Now, Ruth considered the kitchen floor a sensible place to kiss. It was safer than the bedroom. The bedroom was a monkey cart of trouble.”

So, if you know any kids (in Alberta) that might be into reading/writing/playing with words…this camp is amazing, and this opportunity is pretty cool.

Also, because it’s Friday and beautiful out, here is a picture on my new mug (small things make me happy and this is one).

blue mug

Youthwrite and happiness

Hello. It’s Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Wanted to send a shout-out to a Thursday night event happening here in Edmonton. It’s a Youthwrite fundraiser, and a book launch for Gail Sobat and Spyder Yardley Jones’ new book – Jamie’s Got a Gun. It’s at the Roxy Theatre on 124 street at 7 p.m, Thursday, May 22nd. It’s free to get in. There’s a silent auction. There’s a performance by Joy Spring Jazz Ensemble and Le Fuzz. Hell of a way to start the weekend!!! I am co-hosting this event with the lovely Connie Massing…so come if you can, you Edmontonians.

Had an interesting conversation the other day about books…and my books in particular. I was talking about the new one – Seven Moments of Mercy – well, talking about it without talking about it.

“It’s so dark,” I said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“When was the last time you read a happy book?” my wife said. “Name a happy book you’ve read.”

Of course, I couldn’t. I don’t read happy books. Do you know any happy books? I mean books just filled with happiness? If there isn’t a struggle for happiness, or joy, or hope, then I’m not interested. Bad things happening to decent people. And seeing what they do. Watching to see if they crumble, or rise up to the challenge. These stories interest me.

Maybe the Buddhists are right – all of life is suffering.

All life may be suffering but this stick deer I drew ought to cheer you up a bit:
Luzern

Seven Moments of Mercy

Hello. How are you? I wonder about the idea of “novels.” I wonder if that specific classification as a subset of everything that is written, is valid anymore. I don’t know that I write novels. I write stories. I show stories. Maybe, instead of printing “a novel” on the cover of my books, I should insist that it says: “a story.” I wonder how that would change things. Would it change the expectation? So, Seven Moments of Mercy – a story? Does that work? I mean, a lot of people in my world don’t know that a novel is fiction. “What do you write?” they will ask. “Novels,” I will say. “Fictional?” they say. “Yes. Fictional,” I say, dying a little on the inside, because reading a “fictional novel,” is like drinking a glass of “wet water.”

So, why not “a story”? Or, “an exploration.” Or “a riff on love”? Or, “a riff on darkness”?

Maybe the term “novel” has become too highbrow.

I’m not married to the idea of writing “novels.” Or literary novels. I don’t mind that you call my new book a story that veers toward literary. Or just, a story. I’d be happy if you said: Gee, that was a hell of a story.

Seven Moments of Mercy is the working title of the new book, the new story. I would love to know what you think about this title. Drop me a line.

Here is my last ‘sorbet’, for those of you who are not on the sorbet list…The “seven” in this title has nothing to do with the “seven” in the title of the new book.

Seven small, seemingly unrelated ‘ghazal essays’
1.
Why is it less offensive to hear a middle-aged woman point to her husband and say – “That’s my old man” than it is for any man, at any time, to say – “She’s my old lady”? Is it because women cling to youth harder than men? Is it because they’ve been taught the currency of youth? Because they worry about being left for a younger model? Add the “the” and it becomes equally and utterly offensive. It becomes a dehumanizing phrase, careless and hateful. “That’s the old man.” “That’s the old lady.” “That’s the old car.” “That’s the toaster.”
2.
Guys are always asking me: “How’s Thomas?” I don’t know if this referring to me in the third person thing is them trying to be funny, or witty, or if they’re just stupid. I always want to say (but never do) – “I don’t know, he’s standing right here, you should ask him.” It’s always guys who do this, never women. Why is that?
3.
Why am I offended by women who wear white runners with dresses – women who opt for ugly comfort over elegant beauty? I don’t care how busy you are, nor do I care how far you have to walk. I’m not suggesting high heels for every woman. I have heard that there are shoes other than high heels, and other than runners. Just saying: runners and dresses should never mix. At the same time, why would you give a damn about what I think?
4.
This young drunk guy at party gave me a pill once. “It’s the juice,” he said. “It’s Cialis – for a night when you’ve had too much to drink. It’s really good.” I did not know that young men used these pills to offset the effects of drinking. In the morning, I couldn’t find that pill. And the cat was missing.
5.
Why would any woman who wears four-inch heels be surprised when a man looks at her legs with admiration, or even desire? The only purpose of high-heeled shoes is to make the female leg look stunningly beautiful, if not sexy. It’s an invitation to look.
6.
It makes me smile when I see a post, or a piece of writing somewhere online, and some bright woman has corrected a comment aimed at her – “Your a bitch” to “You’re a bitch” and then added the word “idiot” after the correction. I’d like to do that someday but I make way too many mistakes, and I have way too much to learn, to be someone who throws grammar rocks from the porch of my glass house. Though, I’d really like to meet that woman.
7.
She suggests that all poets should write self-portraits every now and then. It’s a good exercise. Write a poem that is a self-portrait. Okay. I open a blank page in my journal, uncap my pen and sit and look at the page. I sit and look. At the page. I sit. And look. I.

"New Book" is finished -- let the revisions and editing begin!!!

I finished the new book. I have a really great first draft. I have a fairly good working title but we shall see. Two people on the planet, other than me, have read the description of the book – my agent, and an editor in New York. I have been purposely tight-lipped. I didn’t want a forced description as I was only halfway through the writing to colour the rest of the writing. I needed the book to meander its own course. It’s a crazy thing to write a book, a novel, a really long story – okay, I don’t know that this is a novel. It’s a story, with a wide cast of characters and its set all over the world. It reverberates against itself. It folds back on itself. It’s dark, but not without humour and hope. So, without any more details – (for now) – I just wanted to let the world know that I am pleased. As stuff happens, I will post here. And I will eventually have to change the look of this site to match up with the new book. The book is called “New Book” right now. That’s its file name. See??? I’m not even sharing the working title. Soon, “New Book” will go out to a small group of readers. Okay, enough of this vague blathering.

Luzern

white slip

I started to watch “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” the other day and this whole set of images and scenarios came flying into my head — and they do not fit into the new book. I mean are there women out there like Elizabeth Taylor in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”??? I don’t know. And if there was a woman like that, how would she fare in 2014? So, here is a journal of sorts…an imagined reconstitution of what that would look like. Who knows if anything will come of this writing…All writing is seduction.

1.
The man on the bed watches as she drops her dress on the floor and it puddles at her feet. She’s wearing a white slip, like she’s just stepped out of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. As if she is Elizabeth Taylor, desperate and hot and in heat. She’s wearing heels. Her feet hurt but she knows the heels push her legs into something beautiful. She leans forward and adjusts the stocking on her left leg – affixes it to her garter belt. Her breasts are barely contained in the slip. She walks across the room and makes herself a drink. She uses the tongs to recklessly drop ice into a squat glass and then pours whatever is in the decanter into her glass. She tastes it, then places the glass down and pours more. As she is making her drink, the man is thinking that she would not be so beautiful if she were naked. She would be something else. This woman in heels and a white slip is a step beyond beautiful. When she turns around, he loves her. He wants to do everything in his life with this woman in a white slip. He wants to sit beside her on a piano bench and play sad songs about love. He wants to smell her at 1 p.m. on a very hot day – to fill his nostrils with the scent of her. And at 1 a.m. when everything that is meant to protect is worn thin. He wants her then too. And he wants to sit at the opera with this woman in her slip. And at a hockey game. And the man wants her in the corner of the room, smoking and drinking and muttering about Big Daddy as he writes. He wants her to go out into the back yard in her white slip and have a catch with him. He wants her halfway up a mountain, in her slip and hiking boots — impractical and lovely.

The woman makes a stance in front of the window. She stands with her feet apart, and the slip is pulled tight around her thighs and hips. It is as if she is saying – “well?” The slip rides up a little, invites the gaze. He wonders if she knows what she just did.

2.
“You like that,” she says. “Don’t you.”

It was not a question.

“Where did you find that? It’s got an old-school feel to it.” The slip had little points at the tips of her breasts. Lace at the top and lace along the bottom hem. He’d never been with a woman who wore slips on a regular basis.

“I have a blue one too,” she says. “Steel blue.” She sips her drink.

The man has reading to do but he cannot read with her standing across the room.

“Come over here,” he says. He slips another pillow between himself and the headboard. The ice in her glass tinkles as she moves across the room. She stands in front of him, as if she’s daring him to touch her, to smooth his hand along the silky line of her hip.

When he does not touch her, she sits on the edge of the bed. He can smell her perfume. Her scent breaks his heart a little. He knows that for the rest of his life, this particular scent will break his heart a little. And because perfume is never exactly the same on any two women, it will never be quite right.

“How can I save you?” she says. “How can I not hurt you?”

Too late, he thinks. Way too fucking late. If any other woman had delivered these lines, he might have laughed. He would have considered these words to be disingenuousness. But she is not fooling around. Saving him. Not hurting him. These are things she has been obsessing over for days, if not weeks.

Tomorrow, he knows she will stop taking his calls. She will stop calling him in the middle of the night when she is drunk and lonely and sad. She will stop being there. She will deny her own love. She will break her own heart. They will become a beautiful sad picture of unconsummated desire.

He will think of his own intense feelings as pathetic. He will choke on the depth of his feelings. He will regret. He will drink bootles of wine and sit on the balcony of his apartment and write sad poems. Poems about ruined love. Poems about love that is unattached to anything real — except sadness. It’s always attached to sadness.

3.
you will whisper

This is always unsustainable.
Always.

It is only a wooden match scratched –
sparked into being. Suddenly light,
and heat, and the twisting smell of sulphur.
The sizzle and jerk of combustion.
A bursting leap into jumpy tangerine and
liquid sun.

You will love in that instant, with every fibre
of yourself. You will find no comfort in your days.
No solace in sleep. No escape into dream.
And you will not seek these things. Eyes wide open,
you look around and feel everything. You are
perplexed, amused, frightened.
You will love like an idiot. Place reality aside.
Bathe in the bizarre mystery of it.

And a single moment before flame touches skin
one of you will whisper – whhhhh.
Whhhhh, and the light becomes an aching memory.
The heat, a dissipating phantom. The thin grey smoke
dissolves into nothing. The lingering scent
of sulphur becomes the one true thing.

One of you will whisper – whhhhh.
And it’s done.

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Welcome

Thomas

Thomas Trofimuk is a Canadian novelist, poet, and musician based in Edmonton, Alberta. He's the author of Doubting Yourself to the Bone, and his most recent novel, Waiting for Columbus. More.

Below, are the paperback covers for the UK, the Canadian, and US editions.

Waiting for Columbus

Columbus Cover (UK) Columbus Cover (Canada)

Waiting for Columbus (McClelland & Stewart / Knopf-Doubleday / Picador / and Blackstone Audiobooks) was released in Canada and the US in 2009 and in the UK in 2010. Read reviews and more about the book here.

Columbus Cover (United States)

UPCOMING EVENTS


"Waiting for Columbus" is featured as part of the WILDLY popular RICHARD AND JUDY book club in the UK!!!
Waiting for Columbus is featured on the WH Smith website here. And here is the awesome video!

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
TBA

BOOK CLUBS
TBA

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS for "Waiting for Columbus"
A few suggested discussion questions for "Waiting for Columbus are here. An interview with Trofimuk that might also spark some discussion is here. Enjoy....

Key Dates for Waiting for Columbus

The paperbacks are here! The paperbacks are here!!! Canadian, US and UK paperbacks of Waiting for Columbus are on the shelves!!

Release date Brazil:
Pending

Release date Poland:
Pending



“…And therein lies the best career advice I could possibly dispense: just DO things. Chase after the things that interest you and make you happy. Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t. No one does. You shouldn’t be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren’t real and they were created by other people, not you. There is no explicit path I’m following, and I’m not walking in anyone else’s footsteps. I’m making it up as I go.
It’s harder, for sure, and kind of scary sometimes. But it will allow you to look at yourself in the mirror and know you’re playing by your own rules…”

-- Charlie Hoehn

“coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love...”
~ Turkish proverb


 

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