The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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I was at a very good reading tonight, part of the Pages' Bookstore This is not a Reading Series.

First guy up was Mark Bourrie, author of Hemp: A Short History of a Most Misunderstood Plant. Rather than read from the book itself, he talked more about the whole writing process, and how writing a book about hemp ended up making more sense than either his job (which is on Parliament Hill) or his hobby (collecting fossils, which required him to come into regular contact with spiritual brothers of the Chris Cooper character from Adaptation)

Second guy was Chuck Klosterman, author of an essay collection Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Actual Cocoa Puffs were handed around. He's a writer for various music magazines, and got his start when in his early twenties he decided to write an academic book on heavy metal. When he submitted it to a University press, they rejected it, but said they really liked the parts when he talked about he and his friends listening to this bands, and suggested he concentrate on that. A friend who filed at a publishing company slipped the revised manuscript onto an agents desk, and he got an agent, and a book deal.

The book didn't do that great, but all the right people liked it (including David Bryne of the Talking Heads, who invited him to share a reading) and he ended up writing for a bunch of magazine. The book is a collection of articles he wrote.

As he knows most of us weren't going to buy the book, he gave us a quick run down of what each essay was about so we can pretend we read it when we try to pick someone up in a bar and so impress them.


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