DSC05394  What’s the difference between Michael  the man and Michael Crummey the writer?

At Burlington Public Library’s One Book One Burlington celebration, newly Governor General nominated Michael Crummey was asked that question.  He answered something like–I put the best part of myself in a novel. Obviously the worst part of me still exists, it’s a part of me after all.  He went on to say that when he really loves a writer he sometimes avoids meeting him/her so that he doesn’t become disillusioned.

What I like about meeting another writer, especially one in a totally different genre, is that I can put my feet up and be the reader.  I can ask reader type questions like “Why didn’t you use quotation marks?”  Michael avoids quotation marks when the dialogue is not in the present “realistic” portion of the novel in both Galore and Sweetland.  It may not be word for word exactly what the character said.  (Hence, I did not put his earlier answer in quotes, please note.) I can ask writer type questions:  “Do you write from an outline? Do you write scenes here and there or do you work in a linear fashion?” No outline. Linear.  Again no quotations as these may not be Michael’s exact words–I like to have a few of points in mind that I will cover. I write 500 words a day.  Maybe on a good day 1,000.  I move to a point on the horizon. But that point often shifts. On writers’ middle-of-the-book misery he says he tells himself something that somehow gives him comfort–I will finish this book. It will suck. And I will never have to write it again.

What I liked hearing is that now that Michael’s more experienced with his own writing rhythms and cycles he’s enjoying writing the book more.  Confirms how I feel (can a GG be far off in my own career?) On meeting Michael the man after meeting him as the writer–for me, it enhanced the experience of reading his work.  Thank you Burlington Public Library for hosting this event.

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