In Praise of the Body Temp and Metabolism of the Hibernating Black Bear, or, News for February at PQL

If ever there is a time when I can completely relate to certain animals’ instinct to hibernate, that time comes up around the month of February. Here in Canada, we’re surrounded by frigid temps and, let’s face it, probably also knee-deep in the winter blues. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I feel like I have the low body temperature and decreased metabolism of a hibernating black bear.


I may look about as cuddly as this guy, but my hair isn’t nearly so neat. Nor do I look quite so awake…

But is hibernation really so bad? I know as a society, we tend to prize breathless, go-go-go craziness. We like to keep busy, stay sharp, work hard—and play hard, too. But, speaking from experience here, there’s something to be said for two days of unproductive bliss. I spent a solid chunk of my weekend wrapped in blankets, and I enjoyed every paragraph of the five-hundred page mystery I’d been saving. Consequently, when I returned to my desk and my computer screen bright and early Monday morning, I was as refreshed as any vacationer after a holiday at the beach—though decidedly less tan.

So while I know that a full 48-hours of pyjama-wearing, blanket-covered bliss is probably unachievable for most, I highly encourage you to spend a bookish afternoon, ensconced in your own personal den, doing your best impression of a cozy black bear … who maybe also happened to get his paws on a good book.


What’s happening this month?


Now that we’ve finished the lovely selected fiction collection by P. K. Page, Triptych, we’re moving on to printing the long-awaited book of essays by Richard Teleky—Ordinary Paradise. I have a special spot in my heart for books of criticism, so I’m especially pleased that this one is coming down the pipe.

Aside from that, we’ll be hibernating, so to speak, with no public events this month. But don’t worry—we’re out and about this March, so be sure to check back for details!

In the world.


maniculeFebruary 7 is Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbours Day. Presumably this degree of specificity is due to the fact that Wave One of Your Fingers At Your Neighbours Day ended in rather un-neighbourly feelings.

February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day. I mention this for my friends out there (who shall remain nameless) who maintain that chocolate and mint are a disgusting flavour combination. To you, I say HA!

Finally, February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What a great day to remember the magic and wonder that storytelling brings to our lives.


From the porcupette’s corner.

January was, all-told, a fairly quiet month. Lots of routine tasks that take up a lot of time, like grant writing and starting to prepare for the new season’s titles. In a way, these familiar tasks are calming and reassuring.

scruffy beggar

Forget alms for the poor. How about “free international tax advice for the porcupette”? I’d even settle for “help navigating voice mail hell for the disheartened”.

Of course, there’s just enough newness in there to keep things interesting. I’ve been fiddling with coding up another spring title to prepare it for layout and design, which always results in a few hard lessons about just how you can and cannot tag a manuscript. Plus, I’ve been diligently continuing my marketing studies at McMaster and trying to figure out the vagaries of Florida sales taxes given our upcoming trip to the AWP Bookfair, which could definitely be its own full-time job!

All in all, the balance of the familiar and the novel is the reason why this porcupette finds publishing so exciting—this sure isn’t an industry for those who don’t like to keep on learning!

PortraitI hope you enjoyed this little update on what we’ve been up to this last month at PQL. If there’s anything you’d like to see or hear about in future updates, feel free to drop me a line and say hello!

All the best, Steph

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.