Of Writerly (and Readerly) Superpowers, and Other News for July at PQL

Can we take a moment to recognize just how impressive it is to be a writer?

Not just a person who writes, mind you, because we all do that, but an honest-to-goodness writer, who puts in hours of hard graft every day to give a new story its voice. Someone who sits in front of a blank text document, blinking cursor mocking them as they try to give shape to that all-important first sentence. Someone who jots down thoughts and impressions at all hours, pen and paper always within reach so as to catch fleeting inspiration when it strikes. Someone who endures hours of reading and revising, who makes hard choices and painful cuts, who ultimately consigns his or her words to their fate at the hands of a ruthless editor. Someone who does all this, over and over again, despite the hardship and the toil, to entertain us, to educate us, to make us feel something we haven’t felt before.

It is at this point that I can solemnly declare that I am NOT a writer, though I do admire them. I have long realized that my imagination is not one that lends itself well to creating new worlds or finding something original or exciting to say about our own. On the other hand, my voracious appetite for reading has given me an intuitive grasp of the possibilities of language, and my fixation on logic sometimes allows me to see gaps and fissures in plot or characterization that might otherwise be missed. So while I am still NOT a writer, I have cultivated some writerly powers over the years, and while I’ll probably never write a novel or a collection of poems, I can wield these writerly powers for good, in the service of other people’s stories.

And if that is not the dream of every great reader, I don’t know what is!


What’s happening this month?


We have to apologize. We are quite woefully behind on Jim Westergard’s clever and adorable book of wood engravings, See What I’m Saying. Sorry! But don’t worry—we are hard at work making sure we get this book out and in the world as soon as possible. We promise it will be worth the wait!

In Hamilton.

We’re trying something new this month! We’ll be attending this year’s Zineposium in Hamilton, a small little fair featuring cool zines and “wonky art objects of all kinds”. Stop on by The Spice Factory on July 8—the event is free and open to the public.

In Detroit.

We are so pleased to be back at the Detroit Festival of Books at Eastern Market this year! Last year’s inaugural event was such a treat, so of course we’re excited to this year’s bigger and better festival. We’ll be at Table 10 in Shed 6 (AKA the Gallery) on July 15, so be sure to find us and say hello.

In Orillia.

Shane Neilson will be taking part in the Leacock Summer Festival’s Poetry Night. This event is still shaping up, so be sure to check back on our website for more details.

On the radio.

Plastic author Margaret Gracie will be featured on the radio this month! She will be interviewed on the radio show “Storylines” by host extraordinaire Christine Cowley. Tune in to Hunters Bay Radio on July 14 for some insight into the process of writing a collection of linked short stories.

In the world.

July 4th is Sidewalk Egg Frying Day. Given that the forecast in my neck of the woods is going to be in the thirties (that’s over ninety Fahrenheit), I can certainly see why.

Cow and calf.


July 15 is apparently Cow Appreciation Day, so feel free to go locate a cow and tell it how amazing it is. (Fun fact: I once petted a cow on an honest-to-goodness farm. The experience was both exhilarating and deeply disappointing.)

Finally, July 30 is the International Day of Friendship. So to all you Quill friends out there, know that I appreciate you!


From the procupette’s corner.

Old man punishing boy.

Me, punishing myself for screwing up a scan for the third time.

I’ve learned, this past month or so, to deeply respect designers who deal with the reproduction and preparation of images. I’ve been struggling with scanning, processing, resizing, and hopefully not utterly destroying images meant for print. I also learned what moiré is. It is not good. At any rate, image processing requires a lot of experimentation and a fair amount of starting from scratch.

Designers, I salute you!


PortraitSo that’s what’s hip and happening at the Porcupine’s Quill in July. We thank you for checking in on our progress and we hope to see you sometime at our upcoming events!


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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.