Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fitzgerald - all the stories

Apparently, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote something like 160 stories over his career.  For almost everyone except the fanatics, the short story collection edited by Bruccoli in 1989 (just called The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald) will do.  It collects 43 of the best of them, about half the well known stories from the 4 story collections Fitzgerald published during his lifetime and the rest collected from various magazines.  However, this blog is mostly about delving deep and catering to fanatics, so I will try to pull together what I have learned to date.

The core story collections are
Flappers and Philosophers (1921)
Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)
All the Sad Young Men (1926)
Taps at Reveille (1935)

Note that the first two are out of copyright in the U.S. and thus are on the Project Gutenberg site.  They are also part of the LOA Fitzgerald collection.  That said, the Cambridge editions of these collections are quite nice, as they include additional Fitzgerald stories published around the same time.  (I'm fortunate that Robarts has the full set.)

Cambridge also put out a volume called The Lost Decade, which collected stories from 1934-41 that were published in Esquire.  I'm not sure if this included the entire run of the The Pat Hobby Stories or not.  There is a thin stand-alone book of these stories, and that is more likely to be in a general library.  Similarly, The Basil and Josephine Stories was also published as a stand-alone collection.

Then we have The Price Was High: Fifty Uncollected Stories (1979).  Note that Bruccoli was the editor of this effort as well, and a few of these uncollected stories made their way into his 1989 collection.  This is available as a two volume set from the UK, and that was tempting, but I ultimately bought a used copy of the hardback with all 50 stories (for $1 plus shipping!).  Incidentally nearly all of Fitzgerald's work is out of copyright in Australia, so take a look at to see if a particular story of interest is on-line.

While this isn't really about short stories, I was intrigued to learn that there are two versions of Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald's last completed novel.  The vast majority of printed books are based on the 1934 version, which was serialized in Scribner's Magazine.  It wasn't a roaring success, however, as the Depression was at its heights, and the novel seemed to be too much of a throwback to the Roaring 20s.  Fitzgerald considered rearranging the novel and rewriting sections.  After Fitzgerald's death, Malcolm Cowley finished this effort and the new version was published in 1953.   A decent academic library will probably have this version, though I am not sure how likely I am to read both.  I'm much more likely to stick with the original.

Finally, in terms of breaking Fitzgerald news, there is a new (2017) collection of truly unpublished stories -- I'd Die For You, And Other Lost Stories.  Note that the other collections drew together stories that had been published in magazines but previously uncollected.  Most of these unpublished stories had been rejected because they were too dark, and Fitzgerald didn't want to revise them.  One of them (The IOU) apparently was set aside because the magazine requested some edits, but Fitzgerald was deep into writing The Great Gatsby and never got back around to it.  The New Yorker was able to publish it in its original form.

I don't know if reading every one of these books will actually get you to 160 (or more) stories, but it must be fairly close.  I'm not sure I will get through all of them myself, but I suppose it is something to aim for.  I'm fairly interested in I'd Die For You, so I have requested that from the library.

Reliving the 80s- Psychedelic Furs Tour

I mentioned a couple of times that the Psychedelic Furs were coming to town.  We saw them in a sold out show at Danforth Music Hall.

We got there around 8:15, about halfway through the opening act Bash & Pop (apparently this is a project by the bassist from The Replacements).  It was very loud and not very interesting, so we just hung out in the lobby.  It definitely seemed like something was off with the band, and they ended at 8:30, which is extremely short for an opening act.

At that point we went in and got our seats (we were upstairs with the rest of the "old" people).  My seat was actually quite wet (probably from spilled beer), and I complained about it.  At the very least, I wanted a towel or something to sit on, but they actually got us new seats closer to the front of the balcony, so that worked out reasonably well (though I still had to wash my jeans when we got home...).

I was hoping they would move up the set by a few minutes, but no such luck.  In any case, the show kicked off with "Dumb Waiters" and the fourth song in was "Pretty in Pink," so obviously they weren't going to be playing it coy.  This was a tour that was all about the hits from the 80s.  Indeed, the setlist seems to be pretty much identical at all the venues, though Boston got a shortened version for some reason.

I actually had seen them once before in New York in 2001, and I can't really recall the show, though I'm sure they were mostly playing the hits (and the singer had a purple boa or something that he kept flinging around).

I realized that I basically only know the Furs songs from the compilation All of This and Nothing, which came out in 1988.  In addition to not having anything from their final 2 CDs, it doesn't have "Mr. Jones" on it.  So I simply wasn't aware of some of the songs they sang.  I thought "Mr. Jones" was pretty good.  I think my favorite song from the "newer" albums was "Until She Comes."

Probably the single best performance of the night was "The Ghost in You."

Here is the first encore: Sister Europe followed by India.  Incidentally it was shot much closer to where we were sitting.

I thought that they had put on a great show, but was just a bit bummed that they hadn't done "President Gas."  Just as I was mentioning this to my wife, they ran back on stage for the second encore and belted it out.  So far no one has posted a clip of this, but if it goes up, I'll add that to indicate how the night ended.

Actually, I have found one with terrible video but the audio isn't too bad.


As a side note, throughout their early career, the Furs could play this song knowing that there was a fairly lousy Republican President in the White House.  Then when I saw them in 2001, it was W. (who while not a windbag was a terrible President).  And of course now Trump who wins worst President hands down.
So sad...

Short Story Extravaganza

I've been thinking of pulling together a post like this for some time, where I keep track of the various short story collections I intend to read (or have recently read), thus I am not going to list Donald Barthelme or Raymond Carver as I read those all years ago (or straying further afield Kafka or Borges or Garcia Marquez).  I usually sprinkle a few story collections in with all the other novels on my reading list, though I still favor novels. At some point in the relatively near future (2019?), I may set aside a long stretch of time to go through a bunch of story collections.  Clearly, there are a lot that I would like to go through!

Kinglsey Amis
    Dear Illusion: Collected Stories

Margaret Atwood
    Dancing Girls (1977)
    Bluebeard's Egg (1983)
    Wilderness Tips (1991)
    Good Bones and Simple Murders (1994)
    Moral Disorder (2006)
    Stone Mattress (2014)

Ann Beattie
    Park City: New and Selected Stories

Elizabeth Bowen
    Joining Charles and Other Stories (1929)
    The Cat Jumps and Other Stories (1934)
    Look At All Those Roses (1941)
    The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945)
    A Day in the Dark and Other Stories (1965)
    (Included in The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen)
    The Bazaar and Other Stories (2008)

 Jane Bowles
     Stories collected in either Collected Writings (LOA) or My Sister's Hand in Mine

Paul Bowles
    The Delicate Prey and Other Stories (1950)
    A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard (1962)
    The Time of Friendship (1967)
    Pages from Cold Point and Other Stories (1968)
    In the Red Room (1981)
    Points in Time (1982)
    Midnight Mass (1985)
    (In Collected Stories and Later Writings (LOA))

T.C. Boyle
    Descent of Man (1979)
    Greasy Lake & Other Stories (1985)
    If the River Was Whiskey (1989)
    Without a Hero (1994)
    (included in Stories)
    After The Plague (2001)
    Tooth and Claw (2005)
    Wild Child & Other Stories (2010)
    (included in Stories II)
    The Relive Box & Other Stories (2017)

Angela Carter
    Fireworks (1974)
    The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979)
    Black Venus (1985)
    American Ghosts (1993)
    (All gathered in Burning Your Boats)

Isek Dinesen
    Seven Gothic Tales (1934)
    Winter's Tales (1942)
    Last Tales (1957)
    Anecdotes of Destiny (1958) (included Babette's Feast)

Deborah Eisenberg
    Transactions in a Foreign Currency (1986)
    Under the 82nd Airborne (1992)
    (both collected in The Stories (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg)
    All Around Atlantis (1997)
    Twilight of the Superheroes (2006)
    (all 4 collected in The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg)

William Faulkner
     Collected Stories
     Uncollected Stories

F. Scott Fitzgerald
     Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (ed. Bruccoli)
     (I will write separately on Fitzgerald, but this is a fine place to start)

Ellen Gilchrist
    Collected Stories (2001)

Ernest Hemingway
    Complete Short Stories (Finca Vigia Edition)

Nagai Kafu
    American Stories

Yasunari Kawabata
    Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

Jhumpa Lahiri
    Unaccustomed Earth (2008)

Dorris Lessing
    The Habit of Loving (1957)
    A Man and Two Women (1963)
    African Stories (1964)
    Winter in July (1966)
    The Black Madonna (1966)
    The Story of a Non-Marrying Man/The Temptation of Jack Orkney (1972)
    (Essentially all are in Stories or African Stories) 

Clarice Lispector
    Complete Short Stories

Bernard Malamud
    The Magic Barrel (1958)
    Idiots First (1963)
    Rembrandt's Hat (1974)
    (The Complete Stories (1997) also includes Pictures of Fidelman (1969) and various uncollected stories but not the unfinished novel The People)

Alice Munro
    Dance of the Happy Shades (1968)
    Lives of Girls and Women (1971)
    Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You (1974)
    Who Do You Think You Are?  aka The Beggar Maid (1978)
    The Moons of Jupiter (1982)
    The Progress of Love (1986)
    Friend of My Youth  (1990)
    Open Secrets (1994)
    The Love of a Good Woman (1998)
    Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001)
    Runaway (2004)
    The View from Castle Rock (2006)
    Too Much Happiness (2009)
    Dear Life (2012)

Edna O'Brien
    The Love Object and Other Stories (1968)
    A Scandalous Woman and Other Stories (1974)
    Mrs Reinhardt and Other Stories (1978)
    Returning (1982)
    A Fanatic Heart (1985)
    Lantern Slides (1990)
    Saints and Sinners (2011)

Silvina Ocampo
    Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories

Flannery O'Connor
    A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955)
    Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965)

John O'Hara
    Sermons and Soda Water: A Trilogy of Three Novellas (1960)
    The Hat on the Bed (1963)
    The Horse Knows the Way (1964)
    Waiting for Winter (1966)
    The Time Element and Other Stories (1972)
    Good Samaritan and Other Stories (1974)
    (Collected Stories (LOA) contains many but is not in fact "complete")

Katherine Anne Porter
    Flowering Judas and Other Stories (1935)
    Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939)
    The Leaning Tower and Other Stories (1944)
    (included in Collected Stories and Other Writings (LOA))

J.F. Powers
    The Stories of J.F. Powers

Jean Rhys
    The Collected Short Stories

Carol Shields
    Various Miracles (1985)
    The Orange Fish (1989)
    Dressing Up for the Carnival (2000)

Tess Slesinger
    On Being Told That Her Second Husband Has Taken His First Lover, and Other Stories
    (I'm pretty sure this is still kicking around the house, but if I can't find it by December, I'll order a used copy as a Xmas present for myself.)

Elizabeth Taylor
    Hester Lilly (1954)
    The Blush and Other Stories (1958)
    A Dedicated Man and Other Stories (1965)
    The Devastating Boys (1972)
    Dangerous Calm (1995)
    (included in Complete Short Stories)

Tatyana Tolstaya
    White Walls: Collected Stories

William Trevor
    The Day We Got Drunk on Cake and Other Stories (1967)
    The Ballroom of Romance and Other Stories (1972)
    The Last Lunch of the Season (1973)
    Angels at the Ritz and Other Stories (1975)
    Lovers of their Time (1978)
    Beyond the Pale (1981)
    The News from Ireland and Other Stories (1986)
    Family Sins and Other Stories (1989)
    After Rain (1996)
    Cocktails at Doney's (1996)
    The Hill Bachelors (2000)
    A Bit On the Side (2004)
    Cheating at Canasta (2007)
    (These should all be contained in The Collected Stories and Selected Stories)

Anthony Trollope
    Lotta Schmidt and Other Stories
    Why Frau Frohmann Raised Her Prices

John Updike
    The Afterlife
    Licks of Love

Evelyn Waugh
    Complete Short Stories

Eudora Welty
    A Curtain of Green (1941)
    The Wide Net and Other Stories (1943)
    The Golden Apples (1949)
    The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories (1955)   
    (in The Collected Stories (HBJ) or Stories, Essays and Memoirs (LOA))

Friday, October 20, 2017

Change of Plans

What a difference a day makes.  I had been feeling just a bit weary at work (and frankly more than a little fed up with the incompetence I was encountering every day).  Also, I haven't been sleeping well, waking up several times a night.  So I thought I would take it kind of easy and work from home today.

After I made this decision, some low-level cold took over my body, as if I couldn't actually enjoy any time off (or at least the saving of the commute time) and I had to actually be sick.  That said, there was still a lot to do today, so I pressed on and got several things accomplished.  Then around 4, I went to bed and slept until roughly 7.

I had already decided I wasn't going to be able to go to the Seven Siblings' show tonight (and I am still undecided about going at all).  I am definitely not going to take my daughter swimming on Sat.  There is a small chance that I will attempt to take her on Sunday, but that would require a very quick purging of this cold.  I also will not be taking the McMichael art bus.  If I want to take it, it will have to be next Sunday.  It's also extremely unlikely I will see Blade Runner 2049 or Life After this weekend.  I may be able to see the movie next weekend, but if I want to see the musical, it will probably have to be mid-week (and I am already seeing George Walker's The Catch on Thurs.).

The only thing I am likely to do tomorrow is go over the bridge to the mall, pick up some cold medicine (everything in the house is expired) and maybe a burrito from the food court.  I mostly need to rest up, since I am determined to make it to Toronto Cold Reads on Sunday night.

So if you will excuse me, I am off to bed again.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gord Downie - RIP

As surely everyone in Canada knows by now, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip has passed away.  Obit here.

I don't have any funny stories of running into him in a ski shop or anything like that.  I do like their work a lot.  I assume I became aware of the group in 1993 or so, when I moved to Toronto, though I think I had heard the name of the band before that (not that they ever got much airplay on US radio).  I definitely picked up Fully Completely then and fell in love with the album.  Over time I picked up all of their music, though curiously one of the last CDs I bought was Day for Night, which quickly became my second favourite album.

I saw them in Chicago in 1995, playing at Metro (they actually had a 3-night stand, but I can't recall which night I saw them).  I didn't really try to follow them after that, but when I moved back to Toronto in 2014 I had more chances to see them.  They had this short outdoor set, somehow related to the Hockey Hall of Fame, where they played 3 or 4 songs, including 50 Mission Cap.  Then I saw them at the ACC for the Fully Completely Tour, and then I (reluctantly) paid the scalper prices to see them on the last Toronto show on the epic, final tour.  That's probably a fair number of times to see them for someone who didn't really grow up with them as part of the soundtrack to their lives, as many younger Canadians have done.

What impressed me most about Gord's determination to keep creating music and to give back to the fans one last time, even after the cancer diagnosis.  On top of the final tour, he recorded two solo projects -- Secret Path, about the tragedies of residential schools, and Introduce Yerself, a double CD, which is supposed to hit stores on Oct. 27.  It's an awful shame that he didn't live to see it released, but I assume he was happy with the final product.  I've preordered it and should have it soon.  I have no idea if the Hip recorded any material in his final year.  I assume there won't be any of this "Free as a Bird" nonsense where they take rehearsal tapes and other unreleased material and try to shape it into an album.  But it is possible that there is material that would have met Gord's approval for being released, and if so, we'll hear about it soon enough.

I do sometimes wonder what I would do if I knew I had just a year to live.  I'm not sure I could do anything differently to make more of an impact at work.  I've contributed to a number of travel demand models, particularly the ones in place in New York and in Vancouver, but this isn't the kind of thing one person can put on their shoulders and bulldoze through in a year.  I'd probably be better off quitting and travelling to the places I really want to see (or see again): London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, St. Petersburg (for the Hermitage).  I suppose I could cut down my reading list to 20-25 stone-cold classics that I just have to read (Austen's Emma, Dickens's David Copperfield, Trollope's The Way We Live Now, Faulker's Snopes Trilogy, Fante's Bandini Quartet and Lowry's Under the Volcano as a start).  And I would probably get more serious about knuckling down and finishing up writing these plays.  Right now, I have this all spread out on the assumption that I have another 30 years or so to accomplish everything, though that is by no means guaranteed.  I'll see what I can do to accelerate some of these things before I hit 50.

Anyway, so long, Gord, and thanks for all the music and the memories.

Art Bus to the McMichael

Somehow this completely slipped under my radar, but this summer the McMichael ran an "art bus" from downtown Toronto to the gallery on Sundays.  Now it did sort of assume you wanted to spend all day at the gallery, since you would have to leave from Spadina and King at 10 and then leave the McMichael at 3:30 (to get back around 4:30).  This was initially only going to be July and August, but it seems it has been extended through October.  Some details here.

I suppose if you pack a lunch, it might not be bad to wander around the gallery and then stroll around on the grounds, perhaps taking time to read or reflect in the woods, and then make one's way back downtown in the mid-afternoon.  I assume the leaves are just starting to change up in Kleinsburg, and it is probably quite pretty now.

It costs $10 for the bus, plus you then need to pay admission to the gallery.  Given that parking alone is $7, and in my case I have to rent a ZipCar, it would still be cheaper for me to take the bus, even if bringing up to 2 more people along.  I'll have to consider this seriously, though I suspect I don't have the time this Oct.  I have no idea whether they will continue to extend this into the winter (probably not) or bring it back next year.  I don't really know if it is such a rousing success as the Stratford bus (and hopefully the Shaw bus).  It is after all somewhat limited if it only runs on Sundays.  Mostly, I don't think people know about this new service, so I thought I would at least mention it on the blog.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Climate change plays at Toronto Cold Reads

I have been out late a few nights in a row now, and I am just catching up on the blog.  Last Sunday, I went out to Toronto Cold Reads.  I mostly go out of curiosity, since I don't have a piece coming up for a while,* and I have not had much luck winning the writer's challenge (only once so far).  The music guests have remained quite good, however.  And I usually am inspired to get a page or two of dialog down in a notebook while waiting for the action to start, so that's a good thing.  (I also seem to write well in jazz clubs, so I may start going on a more routine basis to The Rex, but maybe at this point waiting until the spring...)

I think I mentioned that I sort of got roped into reading a small part on the previous outing.  This time I didn't even sign up, but then they handed me a small part anyway.  Kind of odd.  I can guarantee you that I am not going to get stage-struck and start wanting to be an actor.  I've never had that particular ambition.  I didn't like the piece so much on the read-through, but it actually worked considerably better in front of the audience.  That is actually a useful lesson.  There was one other really strong piece (or at least strongly-acted piece) about a director kind of stuck in limbo (directing children's theatre) while his "discovery" is on the fast-track to success.

At the reading, I also met Brianna, who was on Team Tango with me for the 3Fest pieces, so that was neat meeting up with her.  I'm not sure she saw the full pieces either (I was out of town for the readings at Jarrett's place).  Anyway, it will be quite a surprise when they go up, probably in 3 weeks or so.  After the Cold Reads event ended, there was a sneak preview of the Seven Sibling's Future Fest.  I hadn't really planned on staying, but David Straus was there to do a short scene from his piece (written by Genevieve Adam), so I stuck it out.  Brianna (who is obviously a SF fan), David, Genevieve and I ended up on the same SF trivia team.  We did quite well on the books (no thanks to me) but not very well on the true/false questions.  I definitely cost us a point on the movie trivia, though others cost us more points on the true/false.  We lost by one point to another team, which is unfortunate, as Brianna and I would have scored tickets to the Future Fest.  At any rate, I haven't decided if I will see Genevieve's piece or not.  It actually starts this Friday and there are 5 or 6 shows over the next two weeks, so I have a bit more time to decide.  After this preview event wrapped, I finally made my way home and got a bit of sleep, trying to get ready for Monday.

At any rate, I thought I would mention that next Sunday (Oct 22) looks particularly intriguing, especially for those that aren't part of the inner circle.  There will be 5 shortish plays about different aspects of climate change, written by some fairly heavy hitters of the Toronto scene, including Jordan Tannahill, Anita Manjumar (author/star of the Fish Eyes Trilogy) and Marcia Johnson.  All are supposed to be in attendance, which would be incredibly awesome.  Also, there will be Jarrett Rusnak's TV pilot Humanity.  I'm very curious to see what this is about.  Finally, David Healey, who has a wicked sense of humour, will present his writer's challenge piece.  This looks like an absolutely can't-miss night.  Some additional details here.

* I am nearly finished with my short homage to Waiting for Godot, but I just don't think it would work at Toronto Cold Reads.  I think I will wait and submit it to the December SFYS, since I can't make the November one.  What I might do in the meantime is send off the opening scene of Straying South, which is in pretty good shape.  I also sort of "owe" the writing group a much tightened version of Dharma Donuts, but I just haven't had any time to really think about it lately.  After I do that, I can decide whether to work more on Final Exam or The Study Group.  I think it would be useful to see if they thought there was enough dramatic tension going on or the stakes are simply too low for too long (I guess I kind of already know the answer if I am asking the question...).  Anyway, plenty of things to work on when I can find the time.