Welcome to a new edition of Tightrope Teaser Tuesday, where we give our readers the briefest of glances – teases, if you will – into our new, forthcoming, and backlist titles. Today’s Teaser is from GULCH: An Assemblage of Poetry and Prose, edited by Sarah Beaudin, Curran Folkers, and our own Karen Correia Da Silva.
GULCH is a rhizomatic exploration of the modern Canadian literary community. Drawing on the postmodern themes of detachment and disjuncture, GULCH seeks to create an optimistic snapshot of the pluralities and complexities that constitute the post-pomo literary landscape. Focusing on the theme of fragmentation, Steel Bananas members Sarah Beaudin, Karen Correia Da Silva and Curran Folkers have collected pieces from community artists, professors, lit students, burgeoning young talent as well as established writers in order to compile a collection that resists the notion of wholeness, privileging instead the multiplicity and diversity found in contemporary globalized culture. This assemblage of poetry and prose bares the innovation and cultural critique of post-millennium Canadian writers, and seeks to expose the beauty of discontinuity.
This weeks teaser is an excerpt from Firdaus Bilimoria’s contribution entitled “Johnny Lau’s Decent into Midlife Crisis”.
GULCH will be available for purchase in November of 2009, you can pre-order a copy here. Check out Steel Bananas at http://www.steelbananas.com.
Enjoy this excerpt from Gulch:
Johnny Lau couldn’t remember the last time he tried picking up someone. He had absolutely no recall. This is like a data retrieval failure, he thought, framing his dilemma in the techno-jargon of his career. A habit he developed over years of explaining complex technology solutions to his demanding clients and superiors. And when he argued with his high-maintenance wife and impossibly western kids.
He had no clue how to handle the woman on the next barstool, and the embarrassingly painful erection hidden in the folds of his suit trouser. Luckily, he wasn’t large and his erection wasn’t visible. He had run out of things to say, having already told her he was in consulting, he was from Toronto and in Boston visiting a client, and that he and his wife had problems.
“It’s loud in here,” she shouted over the music, coyly rubbing the stem of her empty martini glass.
“Yes, I can barely hear you…” He took a large sip of whiskey without tasting it, an unconscious attempt to occupy his nervous hands. He thought he recognized the tune the DJ had going, something his teenagers played loudly on their stereo. “The music is good, you like it?” he asked lamely, his desperation to keep the conversation going apparent. She smiled painfully and looked away, trying not to acknowledge his awkwardness, and shook her head to the music.
Johnny swallowed his saliva. Perspiration coated his upper-lip and forehead. Logic error, he thought, inability of expert system to generate adequate response to un-anticipated scenario, or just plain insufficient computing power. He was too acutely aware of his internal tug-of-war. Seize this exhilarating moment, make a move, cheat on his wife, indulge in inappropriate behaviour, and disappoint his superiors! Or, back out like the wimp he was, and play the role of obedient corporate serf with a personal life of immaculate dullness, like always. The last option brought back to mind unpleasant events from last week.
His new friend made the decision for him. She began talking to the guy who squeezed on her other side. Soon they were in animated conversation and she turned her back to Johnny. Johnny felt abandoned, but in his moment of self-pity he recognized he had dropped the ball. Failure to act decisively when presented with a small window of market opportunity, best to retreat and regroup to review strategic options. He took his drink and began making his way to the other side of the crowded bar. He forced himself not to look behind.