Too Many Books In The Kitchen

I'm Michael Hingston, books columnist for the Edmonton Journal (new columns every other Friday).

My first novel, The Dilettantes, was just published by Freehand Books. Here's everything you might want to know about it.

Other topics under discussion: podcasts, strange sodas, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Moby-Dick.

Email me, if you like, at hingston [at] gmail [dot] com. I'm available for hire and I like free books.

WRITING

Favourites: 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013
What I Read: 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 (so far)

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OTHER PIECES

"Comic Sans" (The Incongruous Quarterly)
"'No Fear' T-Shirts Based on Board Games" (McSweeney's)

"The Men in the Mirror"
"Moby-Dick; or, My Favourite Book"
"The Pop-Culture Annotated 'Lord's Prayer'"
"Tumblr Recommends"

Bowling alleys, neckties, and an announcement

I remember the exact moment I knew I was going to try writing a novel. It was a weeknight in early 2008, and I was sitting in the now-defunct Van East Cinema, a few blocks from my apartment, watching There Will Be Blood. The theatre was basically empty. I liked the movie, but about halfway through, it hit me.

The rest of the film was a blur (bowling alleys, milkshakes). I was restless, and fidgeting in my seat. As soon as the credits started to roll, I took off for home and quickly filled several pages in my notebook, which until then had gone basically unused.

Four months later, I graduated and moved a little east and a lot north. In Edmonton, I got an entry-level office job that I always overdressed for. Later I got a different office job, but kept wearing ties. I knew I’d never have hours at a time to write—so I picked a date, way off in the future, as my arbitrary deadline to finish a first draft. Then I did the math backwards: to get there I’d have to write 119 words (about half a page) every day. This seemed manageable. I drew up calendars, and wrote down my daily word counts with a red pen. It was a way to self-motivate. Two zeroes in a row would drive me insane. There were never three.

I wrote mostly during lunch hours at my desk. Some weekends. I was also getting regular work for an alt-weekly in town, and building my chops as an arts journalist. Somewhere along the way I started this blog, where I’ve had the good fortune to meet some of you reading this.

I finished that first draft in June 2010, four months ahead of schedule.

More drafts followed. More cuts. (And some additions, because why not.) Then, when I finally declared the book finished, there was the painful 18 months I spent trying to find it a home—to find people who saw in it the same things that I did.

Well, the deal just went through. The Dilettantes, my first novel, is going to be published by Freehand Books in fall 2013.

This won’t be the last you hear about it, I can promise you.

Dec 13, 2012
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