Parallel Prairies

Parallel Prairies cover

Update: The Bran­don launch of Par­al­lel Prairies will hap­pen dur­ing Bran­don University’s Home­com­ing cel­e­bra­tion.

Update: The book now appears on the publisher’s site.

Some­time this fall, my short sto­ry “Vin­cent and Char­lie” will appear in Great Plains Pub­li­ca­tions’ new anthol­o­gy Par­al­lel Prairies edit­ed by Dar­ren Ridge­ly and Adam Petrash.

My story’s ele­va­tor pitch is “ET, with a retired farmer with demen­tia in the role of Elliott”.

Pre-order from: McNal­ly Robin­son |

Once I have more details about how & where to order, launch­es, etc, I’ll be sure to post them.

Le tournesol

A song, from my French immer­sion school­ing, about sun­flow­ers. (Every time I see a field of sun­flow­ers, this song comes to me.)

Le tour­nesol, le tour­nesol
n’a pas besoin d’une bous­sole
ni d’arc-en-ciel, ni d’arc-en-ciel
pour se tourn­er vers le soleil

In Eng­lish:

The sun­flower, the sun­flower
has no need of a com­pass
nor of a rain­bow, nor of a rain­bow,
to turn its face to the sun

One thing I didn’t remem­ber from ele­men­tary school music ses­sions in the library at École Lau­ri­er: that bassline.

McNally Robinson Photo Submission

McNal­ly Robin­son, my favourite book­store, is curat­ing a pho­to­book of the province, to be titled Man­i­to­ba by Man­i­to­ba. To that end, they’re seek­ing pho­tos tak­en out­side the Perime­ter (for the non-Man­i­to­bans, that means, essen­tial­ly, “not tak­en in Win­nipeg”). You can sub­mit up to 5 pho­tos.

It wasn’t easy, trim­ming my sub­mis­sion down to five. Here are the ones I sent in.

Wish me luck!

Roasted vegetable soup

Roasted vegetable soup

This is where the long-ass sto­ry goes, right? The one you scroll past, mut­ter­ing Just show me the freakin’ recipe! under your breath.

It was cold out­side yes­ter­day. I had lots of CSA (com­mu­ni­ty sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture) veg­gies in the house.

OK, story’s over. Here’s the recipe, such as it was:

1 large gold­en beet
2 onions
4 small pota­toes
2 car­rots
2 bell pep­pers
1 mid­dlin’ zuc­chi­ni
1 large pat­ty-pan squash
12 car­ton of left­over veg­etable broth from the back of the fridge
1 block of ice frozen in the veg­etable broth car­ton (my fridge gets cold at the very back, appar­ent­ly)
12 car­ton of left­over beef broth
1 cup of water

So here’s what I did: chopped up all the veg­gies, into cubes or slices about 1″ thick. Roast­ed them at 425°F for var­i­ous times, till they were all nice and soft­ened. The beet took about 45 min­utes, all told; the pota­toes, onions, and car­rots took 30 min­utes; the pep­pers and squash, about 15.

Then I pulsed ’em all in the food proces­sor, till they were smooth but still a bit, well, rus­tic. I spooned the veg­gie pâté into a stock pot over medi­um heat, and stirred in the broths, the chunk of ice, and the water. Heat­ed till it start­ed to boil light­ly, stir­ring every so often.

Served with ched­dar-onion fougasse and fin­ished off with a deli­cious slice of pump­kin pie, both from Chez Angela.

Parallel Prairies review

Parallel Prairies cover

This is the first review I’ve come across for the new made-in-Man­i­to­ba anthol­o­gy Par­al­lel Prairies, and I’m glad to say the review­er appears to have enjoyed my short sto­ry “Vin­cent and Char­lie”.

Anoth­er rur­al close encounter of note in the col­lec­tion is Bran­don-based Patrick Johanneson’s Vin­cent and Char­lie. The sto­ry explores the con­cept of alien telepa­thy and mem­o­ry manip­u­la­tion from inside a mind descend­ing into demen­tia. Johan­neson finds an art­ful bal­ance between sus­pense and sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty and adds a soupçon of Men in Black for good mea­sure.

Sarah Jo Kirsch, The Uniter

Read the full review here.

Par­al­lel Prairies launch­es Oct. 11, 2018, at McNal­ly Robin­son Book­sellers in Win­nipeg, and Oct. 13, 2018, at Bran­don University’s John E. Rob­bins Library.

You can order the book from McNal­ly Robin­son, too, if you’d like (there will be copies avail­able at the launch­es, of course).