#MARM 2020: Week 4

This was a slow week for me MARM-wise. I read some more from Waltzing Again as well as a few things on the internet to juice up my listicle – the only new square I have crossed off this week. (I have colour-coded my grid for you this week… I think it looks much better!)

November 18th was Margaret Atwood’s birthday. Ali wrote a birthday blog post for the occasion, and Rebecca attended the CWWA Symposium. I was tied up most of the day, but did manage to bake some ginger cookies.

The Graeme Gibson book I requested from the library finally came this week. I was not expecting it to be so beautiful! I’ve flipped through it, but have not taken the time yet to look at it properly. But it’s nice to see that the library it came from has a signed copy.

All I have left for that fourth row down is one teensy TV episode – I don’t know why I find that so hard to fit in. This week it will be a priority.

And now, my listicle…

Margaret Atwood Fun Fact List

1.Under the name of Bart Gerrard, MA drew a comic strip for This Magazine in the 70s called Kanadian Kultchur Komic. If you have 15 minutes to spare, check out this 1977 archived interview of MA talking about being a “closet cartoonist.” The humour, the dimples! [And now I can cross off the “watch interview” square!]

2. “And” is MAs favourite word: “It is so hopeful.”

3. MA’s favourite drink is a single-malt scotch, straight up. I learned this when I was searching for her favourite kind of cake – I thought Id make it on the 18th. But, not only could I not find a favourite cake, but no favourite foods either. Just this drink.

4. MA’s brother is a neurophysiologist who sends her “weird clippings.” [I found this out when I was looking up her family after reading her interview with Joyce Carol Oats in Waltzing Again.]

5. Also from the interview with Oats… MA says of her father that he “reads a great deal of history and has a mind like Leopold Bloom’s. But as far as I know, the only poems he ever composes are long doggerel verses, filled with puns, which he writes when he has the flu.

6. And her mother… “My mother is a very lively person who would rather skate than scrub floors.”

7. MA resists the term “science fiction and prefers “speculative fiction” for her work. She explains it all here. [I was thinking of Bill when I added this to my list.]

8. MA wrote an opera about Pauline Johnson–called Pauline–in 2014. Is there anything the woman can’t do?

9. Apparently not, because she also wrote a rock song called “Frankenstein Monster Song”, performed by One Ring Zero. Between you and me, though, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever heard.

10. Next time you get a request to review a self-published book remember, that in 1961, MA self-published her first book Double Persephone. It went on to win the EJ Pratt medal.

BONUS: Here is a good example of why I love Margaret Atwood… When asked in Waltzing Again, which does she think are her most successful and least successful novels, she responds: “That is a question I never answer. The reason I never answer it is that the others will hear and they’ll be very annoyed. And, in any case, don’t you think each one of them has something special that only they have?”

Margaret Atwood Reading Month is hosted here and by Marcie at Buried in Print and inspired by decades of reading Margaret Atwood’s words. From Sunday November 1st to Monday November 30th, we’ll be reading Margaret Atwood, and we invite you to join in!

Don’t forget to check out Marcie’s progress for Week 4!

In case you missed it… Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

15 thoughts on “#MARM 2020: Week 4

  1. buriedinprint says:

    Who knew that a listicle could be so much fun: you’ve made me want to try my hand at one too! Isn’t it funny to think of someone choosing to write verse when they’ve got the flu; I wonder what he could have conceived of, if he’d been stuck in bed, recovering, in these times. I’m curious which show you’ll choose to start to watch: have you decided yet?

    • Naomi says:

      I thought that was funny, too! In my experience being sick in bed leads to less creativity! I wonder what he might have been like as a writer, if he hadn’t been so busy with bugs… And her mother sounds like fun. I think mothers who don’t like to clean are the best kind of mother! 😉

      I will probably watch The Handmaid’s Tale.

      • buriedinprint says:

        I’d forgotten that you finished Alias Grace; somehow I thought you’d only started it.

  2. wadholloway says:

    MA might just as easily said, I don’t write Canadian fiction, people might see me as a hick. She doesn’t get to choose, at least not for critical purposes though she did a good job marketing-wise. As an SF fan I applaud the introduction of feminism which it still badly needed, despite the efforts of Le Guin and women’s SF in the preceding decade. (Thanks for the mention)

    • Naomi says:

      Her pro-Canadian attitude is one of the things I love about her. In the interview I link to in this post, she’s asked if she’s anti-American – she answers that she’s not anti-American, she’s pro-Canadian. 🙂

  3. annelogan17 says:

    how many glasses of scotch do you think she drinks in a week? I also like speculative fiction rather than science fiction, especially when it comes to her writing-it also seems very plausible in our future!

    • Naomi says:

      I agree – I like the story to feel like it could easily be real. It’s way more scary that way!
      Haha! It didn’t say how much she drank of it, just that it was her favourite. 🙂

  4. integratedexpat says:

    What wonderful facts you found! That term ‘speculative fiction’ is a good one, but I can never remember it. I’ll have to make myself a Goodreads shelf with that name to imprint it on my sieve-like brain. Before I had children, my go-to activities when ill were drinking soup and practising on my recorder. Not very hygienic. Now I find enjoyable books to read.

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