Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

'Hey, who's the dead guy?'

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I did a reading this past week and it went pretty well. Decent turn out, people seemed to enjoy themselves. A few days later I did another reading, but this time in a TV studio and MY GAWD, it was shocking! Under the full-on TV lights, I looked like I’d just crawled out of a coffin! A no-shit zombie, no make-up required.

It’s strange how you have this self-image and you kinda of walk around thinking, 'hey, I don’t feel too bad. Maybe I look like I don’t feel too bad.' Then you see someone you haven’t seen in a couple decades and think, man, they look awful. And of course the sad epiphany follows: “Hey… wait a minute… if we’re the same age, that means…”

Seeing myself on video after that TV studio shoot, without any dimming effects, etc, it was horrifying, Night of the Living Dead type stuff, croaking out some shit about god knows what.
I kept thinking about meeting someone who looked like me. It would have been one of those stunned moments of awkward and uncomfortable silence then later on asking in a hushed voice: “Who’s the dead guy?”

I don’t know why exactly, but it makes me laugh really hard. I suppose cuz otherwise, I’d just get in my pinebox right now and save everyone the time and trouble. It’s like: “What are you doing walking around talking and eating, breathing and driving, writing, fucking and laughing? Didn’t anyone at HQ tell you!? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD, STUPID!”
I had a few people at the studio say in these sympathetic there-there voices: “No, you look fine, really, you look punk, you look world-weary!
”What?! Punk?! World weary?!

Flipping it around, when would that ever be a compliment for a middle-aged woman? No, really, dear, you don’t look like an old Basset Hound - you look punk, world weary even.

It’s pretty sick, actually. A woman who’s held it all together for decade upon decade being culturally forced to continue wearing make-up and hair dye and hip clothing and painfully high heels. Hell, maybe some women like doing that but when someone does it under a kind of duress or insecurity, there’s a pathos - a losing battle kind of sadness, a grinding, profit-driven machinery that doesn’t give a flying fuck about who they’re humiliating.

So the best thing to do is keep laughing at this slowly dying of life business. Just keep working hard and working true.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Basil Papademos

Basil Papademos is the author of MOUNT ROYAL: There's Nothing Harder Than Love, published in the spring of 2012 by Tightrope Books, also available as an ebook in all formats from all digital retailers. His earlier novel, The Hook of it is, was published by Emergency Press. His upcoming novel, How To **** Your Psychiatrist, will be published in the fall of 2013.

Go to Basil Papademos’s Author Page