Chapbook plans

1 08 2016

I’ve been deciding whether or not to submit a few poems to a literary magazine and have been ambivalent about it. In the past, I’ve submitted my poems pretty much everywhere and only in LGBT lit mags do they ever get published, leaving me with the impression that my poems are only good enough for queer audiences. I know poetry is probably my weakest genre to write in although I personally think some of my poems are pretty darn good, even though publishers and editors don’t seem to think so. It’s been really frustrating, to say the least.

Today, I realized I don’t necessarily have to get my poetry published in lit mags to get it out there. I could publish my own chapbook! Duh. The Vancouver Public Library even has a collection of zines that people can borrow — it’d be really cool to have it there where people could borrow it if they wanted. The idea of designing my own poetry collection and leaving it up to people to read if they wanted to (or not, I fear).

Now to do some research into zines/chapbooks… 🙂

The 2nd annual Aaron Book Awards

30 12 2013

Welcome to the 2nd annual Aaron Book Awards, where I list all of the books I’ve read this year and pick out some of my favourites. Compared to last year’s total of 30 books, I managed to read 35, which surprises me because I felt like I didn’t read very much this year. So, without further ado, here are the awards!

Best Play

Winner: a Shakespeare play I should’ve read

It seems unfair to make My Chernobyl the winner for this since I only read one play this year. I had been meaning to read some Shakespeare but never got around to it, mostly because I feared the translation would be daunting and annoying. But next year!

Nominees: My Chernobyl — Aaron Bushkowsky

Best Graphic Novel/Manga

Winner: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind — Hayao Miyazaki

Okay, I know I’m not even finished Nausicaa yet, and yeah sure, the last three books could completely ruin the series, but based on what I’ve read so far, it’s a huge, complex, philosophical piece of work. Not that Scott Pilgrim isn’t, but certainly not in the same way. One reads Scott Pilgrim to be entertained; one reads Nausicaa to have their mind blown.

Nominees: Scott Pilgrim — Bryan Lee O’Malley
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind — Hayao Miyazaki

Best Children’s Book

Winner: The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett

I will give a shout-out to Evan Munday again though, because I love his humour and his writing style. He’s my bro!

Nominees: The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett
Dial M for Morna — Evan Munday

Best Non-Fiction Book

Winner: Slow Death by Rubber Duck — Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie

I would’ve picked A Brief History of Time but I will be honest: I know Hawking dumbed down physics, but there were still parts in there in which I stared blankly at it and just looked at the pretty pictures.

Nominees: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time — by Stephen Hawking
Slow Death by Rubber Duck — Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie
Expert Companions: Household Skills and Tips

Best Memoir/Autobiography
I have to say that this is really tough because I loved all of these books in their own way, and quite frankly, these are all books that everyone should read sometime in their lives.

Winner: i am not myself these days — Josh Kilmer-Purcell

When something makes me cry, I know it’s good. i am not myself these days has that perfect balance of great humour, drama, and tragedy that I so long to write. It’s an incredibly poignant look at a tumultuous relationship of a young gay man’s life and growing up. I only hope to one day that my memoir will be as compelling as this one.

Nominees: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother — Amy Chua
i am not myself these days — Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Me Talk Pretty One Day — David Sedaris
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls — David Sedaris
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times for Teens
How Poetry Saved My Life — Amber Dawn

Best Novel (Fiction)
I only read three novels this year? I thought I read more. Hmm.

Winner: Life of Pi — Yann Martel

Nominees: Life of Pi — Yann Martel
The Five People You Meet in Heaven — Mitch Albom
The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold

Best Young Adult Book
I’m surprised this is the biggest category. I guess I didn’t realize how many YA novels I read this year.

Winner: Where You Are — J.H. Trumble

I thought there were great twists and turns, and the narrative was so compelling I couldn’t put the book down, which doesn’t happen very often. A really great novel in its own right, but a really good gay romance too.

Nominees: What They Always Tells Us — Martin Wilson
Hidden — Tomas Mournian
The City of Ember trilogy — Jeanne DuPrau
Six Earlier Days — David Levithan
Where You Are — J.H. Trumble
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times for Teens
Two Boys Kissing — David Levithan
Don’t Let Me Go — J.H. Trumble
Divergent — Veronica Roth

And for the final category: Best Book of 2013

Winner: i am not myself these days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Honorable mention: Where You Are by J.H. Trumble

Looking forward to reading tons more books next year!


If you ever question your writing skills…

25 11 2013

just read Fifty Shades of Grey. Seriously. I’m only about 60 pages in and it’s hilariously awful writing. I think I might put it in a shadow box or some sort of glass case so that whenever I get existential and I feel like what I’m writing is crap — all I have to do is look at Fifty Shades of Grey and I will be reminded that anything I write will be infinitely better than this waste of trees.

But really. Man, what a mess that thing is. I understand how the subject matter might be titillating for people, but how do they get past such godawful writing? I feel like it’s because people have low reading standards. Like how The Da Vinci Code was also popular but was also not subtly written.

Oh well. You are my saviour, Fifty Shades. Thank you.

The Secret Garden

1 09 2013

What a lovely book. And now it has been tainted with my near-naked body and giraffe boxers.


Hidden — Tomas Mournian

26 04 2013

I finished this book but I didn’t like it nor did I take a picture of me and the book. Probably because I wanted to return it and get it out of my hands.


Here’s a comment I left on the VPL’s page after reading it:

Well, I will have to respectfully disagree with the previous comment. I think there’s a good story here, but the narration of the protagonist is so ingratiating. self-pitying, and overdramatic (even if teens are overdramatic, they’re not this overdramatic) that it becomes difficult to care about Ahmed’s struggles. As well, I found Mournian’s style of writing to take me out of the story (ie, breaking up dialogue with unnecessary action and then finishing the rest of the sentence). Less than halfway through the book I wondered if I should’ve even bothered finishing it because it wasn’t very interesting and engaging. Mournian may have a journalism background but it doesn’t translate well to a novel. Parts are confusing to imagine, particularly the rushed ending. Anyway, this is probably scathing enough. If by about a hundred pages in you’re not sure if you should continue, I would put it down (and I’ll tell you what happens).

What They Always Tell Us

2 02 2013

Here’s my pudgy body.

Also, this book is fairly enjoyable and I really like the way the gay subplot was done.


National Reading Campaign

13 11 2012

From Nov. 13-20, it’s the National Reading Campaign!  I suppose this is an effort to get the mildly illiterate population to pick up a book — you know, one of those things made up of lots of pieces of paper with words in them.  So in honour of this week which probably no one will observe — or at least not students because they don’t give a shit about anything and are blind to the rest of the world, particularly students at UBC, it seems — here is a picture of me and Every Day by David Levithan, which I will be starting today.  (I just finished reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes earlier this evening and read on the bus to and from school, so I am not a poser)

Thanks, but no thanks

18 09 2012

Got another (quick) rejection yesterday, after submitting a couple short stories to a literary journal.  I didn’t think I would get published, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to submit nonetheless, so I wasn’t very disappointed or upset that my stories didn’t get picked.  Anyway, I know my fiction writing isn’t my strongest, but I’m working on it.

Oh well.  Time to make myself fat by eating ice cream cake.  Yay!

Nothing much part 2

14 08 2012

Still nothing much.  I’m also reading John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany (on purpose, not just because it was a book that just happened to be there), which is also on the BBC’s list of books to read.  And it is much, much different in tone and style than The Da Vinci Code, to say the least, not to mention also being about 200 pages longer and denser.  I can’t comment on the writing of Irving too much as it’s difficult to describe, but all I can say is that A Prayer for Owen Meany is clearly written by a real writer with craft.  Sure, there may be tons of background info and description of characters’ lives (I’m about a hundred pages in so far), but Irving does a great job of creating a sense of foreboding and foreshadowing.  It’s a very curious novel, and restrained in what the narrator decides to reveal.  Da Vinci, on the other hand, feels as if the narrator is so excited to divulge all the info, like a child with a secret all too eager to share.

Is that a fair assessment?

Dead Kid Detective Agency — Ch. 7 audio score

30 06 2012

Here’s the second piece I wrote for Ch. 7 of The Dead Kid Detective Agency.