Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Beautiful Miramichi!

A lovely first review of Bad Ideas in the Miramichi Reader. Absolutely perfect that the reviewer saw the Hell Riders in Kingston as a kid.


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Book launch on May 5th!

Thrilled to be launching my new novel, Bad Ideas, as part of the Plan 99 series at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. If you are in Ottawa, please join us on May 5th at the Manx Pub at 5pm. It is going to be a beautiful night!


Monday, 24 September 2018

Hey, good looking!

Here it is! New book coming in April 2019 and available for pre-order now, if the spirit moves you. Very grateful to the wonderful people at ECW Press for bringing it to life and making it look so lovely!

You can order it in all these ways:

- direct from the publisher: www.ecwpress.com/products/bad-ideas

- from your favourite independent bookseller: www.findabookstore.ca

- from Indigo: www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/bad-ideas-a-novel/9781770414617-item.html?ikwid=BAD+IDEAS&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=2

- from amazon: www.amazon.ca/Bad-Ideas-Novel-Missy-Marston/dp/1770414614/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538919690&sr=8-1&keywords=bad+ideas


Saturday, 18 August 2018

This is what my new novel is about. Bad Ideas. Coming April 2019.

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Ode to Wilco

Some things I love; some things I hate.

I love thinking about my favourite music. I think about it all the time and in endless variations: favourite live albums, favourite cover songs, top five songs about complete bastards, top five songs written from a complete bastard perspective, and so on. You name it, I will give it some serious thought. One thing I don't love so much are those super-limiting social media challenges about top tens. So many rules. Just post the cover. No comment. Albums that "influenced you". But Kevin MacDougall, my best music friend, did it and challenged me to do it, so I did it. I broke the rules. I commented. I think, in the end, I posted 32 records instead of 10 and I still agonized. I am still agonizing.

But playing along led me to this sweet memory of discovering my favourite band.

Here is my day 10 post. It definitely contains a comment and four Wilco albums instead of one. Not sorry.

Day 10. Kevin MacDougall challenged me to post 10 albums that influenced me, without comment. Well. Instead of a comment, here is a story. And instead of one album, here are four.
On August 24th 1999 I heard Wilco for the first time. Seven months earlier I had split up with my husband. My kids were 2 and 5. I was as tired and rattled as I have ever been. A ghost. I took the train to Toronto to see REM at the Molson Amphitheatre. I was sick with a cold that was becoming something worse, probably bronchitis, and by the time I got to Toronto I had a fever. I sat on the grass feeling weird and happy, sweating in the cool evening breeze. Wilco was the opener and was touring Summerteeth. They started slow and then played Nothingsevergonnastandinmywayagain followed pretty closely by Shot in the Arm. I remember cocking my head to the side like a dog and thinking I had never heard anything like it. When I got home I went out and bought the album and the clerk put the fat pad of his index finger on Jeff Tweedy in the band photo on the back cover and said “This guy can do no wrong.”
I bought everything. I buy everything. I see them every chance I get. They are my favourite band and unlike so many favourites, they just get better. As a live band, it is hard to imagine their equal. My real top ten would have nothing else in it. When trying to pick a favourite, this is as narrow as I can go.
For the record, REM was in top form that night, crazy light show, high energy. Michael Stipe talked about what a great songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara was, which made me feel like the universe made sense and that everything would probably, eventually be OK.

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Sunday, 11 March 2018

Oh, I just don't know where to begin

Here I am, talking about Elvis Costello and a typical writing day. It begins with little dogs and it always ends at the pub.

Missy Marston: My (small press) writing day      

My favourite Elvis Costello album is Armed Forces and my favourite Elvis Costello song is Accidents will happen. It begins: I just don’t know where to begin. And it ends: I know, I know. If I am lucky, every writing day is like this. I feel like I don’t know where to begin, I begin anyway, I figure something out.

People sometimes ask me how I write books when I work full time, have a family, etc. My answer is it takes forever (I am fifty years old. I have written two books.) and, I write on Sundays. I write on vacation, too, and when I’m ill – I got an incredible amount of work done once when I had pneumonia – but mostly, it is Sundays.

Sunday begins with our two dogs, Mary and Munro, waking me up between 5:30 and 6am. (They are Chihuahuas. Their bladders are tiny. It is amazing to me that they don’t just pee on the floor in the middle of the night. But they don’t! They just get up at 5:30.) I get up, feed them, take them out into the backyard, and then we all go back to bed to sleep or read for a while. (I read, they sleep). Because it is Sunday after all. 

(Munro and Mary, the dogs)
 When I can’t stay in bed anymore, I get up. I go downstairs and drink coffee and eat breakfast in my pyjamas, then shower, get dressed, make a thermos of tea and head to my “office”. My office is in our son’s bedroom. After he left home to go to university, my husband built a desk and shelves at one end of the room. I keep books there that help me write or that are otherwise reassuring. Reference books, art books, books about rock and roll, books by friends. And just really astonishingly good books. Books that seem impossible to write. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Zombie by Oates, Herzog by Saul Bellow, Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis, etc. Books to dream on.

You can see there are also gadgets. A mini Christmas tree that changes colour, a rubik’s cube. Things to fiddle with or stare at while thinking.

(The desk: writing HQ)
 I also have a cork board that I tack things to that seem to have something to do with what I am writing. Images, lists, timelines. Also, there are pictures of people I admire that I cut out of magazines. Sometimes I like a picture so much it feels like bad luck to throw it out. Saul Bellow mid-sentence, a young James Merrill looking exactly like Matthew Broderick. Helen MacDonald sitting in her apartment with a giant hawk on her wrist looking like she hasn’t slept in a week. Wallace Stevens looking like the undercover poetic super-hero he was. Shipwrecks. Machines. That’s what it is like in the office.
(The corkboard. I don’t know what it means. It just helps.)

This is where I am supposed to sit and write. And I do. But I also roam around the house. I like to write at the kitchen table or on the couch in the living room. The couch is the best because dogs are there and also because you can flop down on your back in frustration when you get stuck. It can be magic. You flop down on your back, totally lost, and after a few minutes of staring at the ceiling, something comes to you, a place to start, and you pop back up and write a bit more.

Other ways of unsticking myself that I use include pacing around, taking a bath, folding laundry, staring out the window. They all usually work.

Another important factor in keeping to my Sunday schedule is this: every Sunday my husband goes down to the basement and paints all day. He is committed. This helps me. If he were around to talk to, to waste time with, I would never write a word on Sundays. But he goes down into the basement and makes oil paintings like the one below and listens to music so loud that I can often hear it two floors up. Regularly, I go down two flights of stairs, scare the life out of him just by appearing in the basement, and gently ask him to turn it down. Then back up two flights of stairs. Exercise!
                (the kind of thing Peter Shmelzer makes in our basement on Sundays)

That’s it. Each Sunday, I do this sort of thing (typing, sitting at the desk, flopping down on the couch, stomping up and down the stairs, bathing, folding, pacing, staring) until 4 or 5pm. Then we go to the pub.

Missy Marston’s first novel, The Love Monster, was the winner of the 2013 Ottawa Book Award, a finalist for the CBC Bookie Awards and for the Scotiabank Giller Prize Readers' Choice. Her second novel, about daredevils and heartache, will be published by ECW Press in 2019. She lives in Ottawa.

For more writers talking about their days, see: www.mysmallpresswritingday.blogspot.ca

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

If Patton Oswalt thinks it's cool, who am I to argue?

Here is something wonderful from Canada: A beautiful set of individually wrapped short stories that you open every day leading up to Christmas.

Lemony Snicket is in there. Anakana Schofield is in there. And for you few and wonderful (good-looking, lovable, clever) fans of The Love Monster, Margaret H. Atwood and Amos are in there! I have been asked on several occasions if I have considered writing a sequel to The Love Monster, mostly because people wonder if things work out for Margaret and Amos. How does the love story end?

I might do it. I might write another book with those characters in it. In the mean time, though, I have written a little story about Margaret and Amos, 14 years later. You will find it nestled somewhere between stories 1 and 24 in this lovely collection.

Sending admiration and gratitude to Michael Hingston and Natalie Olsen for bringing together this supercool magical invention again this year. It can be purchased here: www.shortstoryadventcalendar.com