Judging by her calves, she's danced jingle. Judging by her moves, she's danced Fancy. Judging by her hips, she's Tradish.
—From Chapter 1 of "Powwow Shades of Grey", by Ryan McMahon
Fifty Shades of Grey is becoming the fastest-selling book series of all time. Not bad for an erotic trilogy, penned by British writer E.L. James, that started out as piece of fan fiction inspired by the Twilight series.
Like James, Winnipeg comedian Ryan McMahon was just having a little fun when he tweeted "She had dirt under her fingernails from chasing her kids around the
powwow grounds all day & she smelled like camp fire.
Comedian Ryan McMahon (Ryan McMahon)
Now McMahon, who is on the road to becoming one of Canada's most popular Aboriginal comedians, is gaining new followers every day as he hammers out chapter five of Powwow Shades of Grey.
He describes his twitter novel as "one man's journey of love findin', weekend snaggin', heartbreakin' and gettin' heartbroken, all while enjoying the powwow trail during one crazy summer."
It's irreverent and raunchy humour. "I'm kind of glad #PowwowShadesofGrey is on my phone because I don't think I'd
want to be seen with that book cover in public. #powwowsmut," tweets one of McMahon's 12,000 readers.
Before he gets swept up in fame and fortune, we asked McMahon to dish out on his new project.Have to ask, have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
I haven't read any of the books but when I tour and have to sit in airports for chunks of time on end I see the wary traveler holding those things everywhere.
I imagine the business class one night stands are becoming a thing of the past with the advent of this book. What inspired you to write Powwow Shades of Grey?
It actually started out as a goof. The first few tweets were a joke, I was writing material. Within minutes though those tweets were being re-tweeted an insane amount of times.
I like story and I like narrative. So I created a little world with those first sets of tweets. Then the good people on twitter told me to KEEP WRITING. Have you had any experiences at powwows that inspired you to write this twitter novel?
Too often, we as Indigenous Peoples take ourselves SO seriously. We've been through and are going through a lot. But we are human. We need to give voice to our very real human experience.
AND...I'm a powwow person and I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things. There is such a thing as "powwow code," and since I'm a "powwow'er" I'm sworn to that code. Next question. Is anyone suggesting new developments in the plot line?
I haven't heard any suggestions yet, BUT, I'm writing this story tweet by tweet, 140 characters at a time.
You can see the timing of the tweets roll out in real time while I'm tweeting. Sometimes there is a gap in time - that's because I've painted myself into a corner in the story where I get stuck and I hate where its gone.
Other times you see chunks of tweets roll out and you can see the jokes just write themselves. The process has been super fun. What's one of your favourite passages so far?
My favourite parts of the story are the parts that garner the "Oh my god he said that..." responses. These are the ones that everyone relates too but are too scared to say for whatever reason. I have no fear. I can't. I'm a comedian, not a politician. Your comedy is incredibly irreverent...do you ever get kick back from the community for that?
For sure there is push back from the community. I'm a truth seeker though. I'm digging for honesty. I dig in the dark corners that we all stand in now and then and then I shine a light on that corner.
Truth in comedy is a motto I live and die by. I could be making a better living being the "Bingo & Bannock" comic that does family friendly shows and aims for the lowest common denominator - but I refuse that outright. Fifty Shades of Grey has turned into a million dollar best seller optioned for a Hollywood movie...what do you see in the future for Powwow Shades of Grey?
Probably nothing at all if I'm to be honest. What I hope is that it shows people that I'm creative and can write.
If anyone reading it wants to offer me a book deal, television writing deal or a high five at the powwow - I'll take it.This online interview was edited for brevity by CBC.