Friday, 24 May 2013

4Q Interview with Lee Thompson Ex.Dir of Writrers Federation of NB

To suggest Lee Thompson is a busy man would be an understatement and yet he finds time to answer a few questions for us. Much of his days are consumed by his current role as Executive Director of the Writers Federation of New Brunswick. He is an active writer whose work has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Gaspereau Review, and Victory Meat: New Fiction of Atlantic Canada and The New Quarterly to name a few. His first novel S., a novel in [xxx] dreams was published in 2008. He has recently released a CD of wonderful music under the name of Pipher, all songs written and composed by himself. Phew!

4Q: Your book, S. a novel in [xxx] dreams, is an intimate and personal journey of what seems to me, as a reader, almost as a lament. Can you tell us what inspired your story and why you chose to write it in this format, which is quite entertaining?

 LT:  The approach – to tell a story through the narrator's dreams – came about through distillation.  I'd attempted to write a conventional novel about the dissolution of a relationship, with the idea of working in these persistent dreams, and then the novel itself began to dissolve and only the dreams remained.  This seemed a challenge and a curiosity: what could come of this? How would this work?  The goal was to invade the reader's psychical space as intimately as possible and to convey the experience as faithfully as possible.  I think it worked but dreams are unreliable messengers.

4Q: Poet, writer and musician, when are you most inspired to write and record songs that are so pleasurable?  And what does the future hold regarding your music?

LT:  I'm not sure what inspiration is beyond being a connection between what's outside and what's inside.  And I think that if you're proficient enough in what you do – write, or play an instrument, or sing or paint – then that connection is live and all you really need, and most of us have this, is to be able to feel.  And if there's anything that stops me from writing (fiction or songs) it's not feeling that connection to feeling, being too distracted with work, with life, so the less turmoil the more creative I am.  Future for my music?  I expect to record another album within a year.  Every month it feels more and more a part of me not some squirming graft.

4Q: Tell us a favorite childhood memory or anecdote.

 LT:  Honestly, my childhood memories are fudgy or fuzzy and feel like dreams.  I try to remember something and the first thing I see is a wire-mesh tunnel with wasps buzzing at the far end.  Lots of forests and rivers, too, and once hitting a baseball farther than anyone thought I could.  I remember a drunken man passed out on a lawn and being told not to go near him.  Favourite memories involve sitting along in the woods behind the house.  I was probably an odd kid.

 My mind has never worked in anecdote.

4Q: You’ve been involved with WFNB for 16 years now in one capacity or another, what do you see for the Federation in the coming years and will you still be at the helm?


LT:  The Federation's goals are to improve services to our writers, to reach every writer in the province, and to continue to raise the profile of writing (and writers) in the province.  I think we're getting better and better at that.  We have specific goals, such as a mentorship program and a biannual provincial book awards and have been taking steady steps toward their realisation. We've done lots with limited resources and increasing our resources is not only a goal, but a necessity.  My position as E.D. is a year-to-year contract but I enjoy the position and working with and for writers is ideal.  Beyond that, who can say?

4Q: I know this is #5 but I’d like to know your pet rabbit’s name?

LT:  This is a co-share rabbit named Porscha.  She insists on this spelling.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Lee. We look forward to reading and hearing more from you in the days ahead. Good luck with your endeavors.


Join me at the end of next month where the 4Q interview will host Gabriel Malenfant, one third of the popular Acadian Hip Hop band Radio Radio.


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