Patrick Lane takes the Magic 8
Poet Patrick Lane answers questions from the Canadian literati on his writing routine, his room with a view, and what he thinks about the upheavals in writing and publishing.
1. From Zsuzsi Gartner: What are you so terrified of?
Terror isn’t one of my preoccupations. I am a little nervous of my eventual blindness due to macular degeneration. I have begun practicing not seeing. Interesting.
2. From Andrew Pyper: Have you ever veered away from something in your work—explicit sex, say, or bloody violence, or a character uttering offensive thoughts—because it might soil the book for certain sensitive readers? If so, have you regretted it?
No, not really. I may have veered toward soiling a character, but only when the text demanded it.
3. From Sharon Butala: Someone once said to me, "It's a sin not to write," meaning that if you have the gift you do not have the right not to use it. Is writing something given to you by the gods and thus it is your duty to pursue and develop it?
Not much on the “god” or “gods” thing. It is a passion though not quite up to Christ’s, I think.
4. From Cathy Marie Buchanan: What is your writing routine?
Get up in the morning and write.
5. From Drew Hayden Taylor: Other than writing, what other art form (i.e. plays, movies, music, visual art) do you wish you possessed or had a better grasp of?
Stage drama. Always wanted to write a play.
6. From Greg Hollingshead: How much—and what—do you think about the massive upheavals in the world of writing and publishing caused first by 9/11 and then by the digital revolution?
I think it is exciting and we should embrace it as best we can. We old farts should not be intimidated by change. Get on the net, dance in the web, don’t be afraid of spiders.
7. From Greg Hollingshead: Do you ever imagine yourself one day writing a book that will make it unnecessary—or impossible—to write another? Is this thought hopeful or fearful?
No. Every book is an end of a long obsession. I neither hope nor fear. A bit like Atwood, I think, I just keep going.
8. From Helen Humphreys: If you write in a room with a window, what is the view out of that window?
A fish pond with koi and goldfish in an Asian garden.