Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Andrew Kaufman Reads from Born Weird: The Exuberant Bodhisattva attends another literary event

For a change from the usual sex and body parts, here is my second consecutive blog about a Halifax literary event. This time I went to the Spring Garden Road library where all the pigeons of Halifax congregate for pizza crusts and rejected hotdogs. On Tuesday night, the library also hosted author Andrew Kaufman who read from his new novel Born Weird.

This is Andrew Kaufman, and the cover of Born Weird (Photo From Here. And you can watch him read an excerpt)

Born Weird has a yellow cover. Inside it tells the story of the Weird family, named this way due to a mishap at Pier 21. The family consists of five quirky siblings who find themselves on a quest to reunite at their Grandmother Weird’s deathbed. There, if they arrive on time, Grandmother Weird promises to undo the blursings she cast on her grandchildren. A blursing, if you were wondering, is

a blessing + a curse.

Usually it is something that started as a blessing and eventually turned into a curse. Just like when you fall in love with someone because she rescues broken-winged ducks and abandoned pet turtles from the park, and that ends up being the reason you break up.

Now you know.

Anyways, from what I’ve heard and read so far, Born Weird is as playful and zany as the word blursing. Already I’ve been to Vancouver, Winnipeg, a cardboard city somewhere in Ontario, MontrĂ©al and the Kingdom of Upliffta, where Abba, one of the sisters is Queen.
At the Spring Garden Library, one of the cool people in the audience asked Andrew why so much of his work centres on a road trip? Andrew said quite simply that it provided a good narrative structure and he loves structure. He loves quests. Quests go back to his favourite superheroes from his favourite comic books. Actually, what he meant to say was that quests go back to his fondness for classics. The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy. Etc. Andrew added that road trips make the quintessential Canadian experience. Everyone from Halifax know this. Everyone in the audience had been on a big road trip. We had all been on road trips, and they'd changed us forever

This is Eliot, the Big Black Dog, having a bath before his Christmas road trip to Ontario. 
The Road Trip was one of the big highlights of his life. It changed him forever.
The next intelligent question from the audience was whether or not Born Weird evolved from something shorter like All My Friends Are Superheroes and some of Andrew’s other work. Apparently, Born Weird was the first book Andrew wrote all in one go, as a single, longer piece. Andrew said that he is more comfortable writing around 17 000 to 20 000 words, which is more the length of a novella rather than a novel. In Born Weird, he got around this by giving the Weird family lots of siblings.
And the third thing we learned was that in the nineties, Andrew used to tell stories out loud. Spoken Word. Stephanie Domet, author of Homing (a novel that involves pigeons and Spring Garden Road), and Fallsy Downsies (about a folk musician on a road trip) asked Andrew if he missed that. Andrew said no, and not only because Spoken Word is not quite as cool as it was in the nineties. Besides Spoken Word, Andrew also gave up filmmaking. He feels like making books leaves you with the most satisfying and enduring product. Ten years later, a spoken word performance is long forgotten whereas in ten years, a novel lives on, moldy in someone’s basement.
It seems as though Andrew Kaufman is somewhat self-deprecating. Perhaps that’s his blursing. Or a clessing, a curse that ends up being a blessing. I think it’s part of his charm.
If you live in Halifax, I recommend buying Born Weird at The Bookmark, on Spring Garden Road. Andrew Kaufman signed my copy and I vow to keep it far away from my moldy basement. Can’t wait to read the rest.
The End.
Nothing weird about this girl.

Follow Andrew Kaufman on Twitter: @severalmoments
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

The Exuberant Bodhisattva attends Bookcamp Halifax 2013
Five Days of Creative Recovery
Asking Matt Wiviott About His Life


No comments:

Post a Comment