25th Trillium Award

The Dirty Dozen, with Andrew Forbes

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Andrew Forbes

The latest edition of the unparalleled Found Press Quarterly is now available. FPQ7 includes singles by Andrew Forbes, Daniel Karasik, Kayt Burgess and Chad Pelley.

Today Andrew Forbes, author of "Fat Albert", takes on the Open Book Dirty Dozen, which gives authors the chance to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves. Read on to find out the details about Andrew's 15 minutes of fame, his ideal dinner guests and the best meal of his life.

Andrew Forbes's Dirty Dozen

1. I did not like The Great Gatsby when I first read it in high school. I can?t recall now what bothered me about it, except perhaps the fact that we were being taught that symbolism was the key to the book?s importance, not its wistfulness, its lyricism. Of course, once freed from educational constraints, I re-read the book and realized my mistake. On that, and several subsequent readings, it broke my heart, and so I reasoned that I must be in love with it. Now I can?t imagine life without it.

2. Once, while wearing an Ichiro Suzuki jersey on my way into the ballpark for a Jays-Mariners game, I was interviewed for Japanese TV. A man with an enormous pompadour shouted questions at me in Japanese and waved a long microphone in front of my face, while a nice woman with a clipboard interpreted the questions for me. It was bewildering. I suspect it constitutes my allotted 15 minutes, but since it involves baseball, and specifically Ichiro, I?m okay with that.

3. Best meal of my life: fish tacos, from a truck in the parking lot of a shuttered strip club in Imperial Beach, California, sitting at a picnic table beneath a Tecate beer-branded umbrella, with a can of Coke.

4. My daughter shares a name with a large Australian city, though I have never been to Australia, and neither has her mother. Our daughter is not named for the city. But once, in a toddlers? gymnastics class at the YMCA, my daughter made friends with a girl whose mother insisted on calling her Sydney — the wrong city. She could not remember the correct one. As a small retaliatory gesture I called her daughter ?Hobart.?

5. The first story I ever wrote was called ?The Story of Andrew and Chris the Boots,? about a pair of rainboots who enjoyed splashing around in puddles. I was six, and Chris happened to be the name of my best friend at the time. It?s clear to me now that the piece was in fact thinly veiled autobiography.

6. I am slowly compiling a playlist for my funeral. John Coltrane and Neko Case figure prominently.

7. I hate writing. The act of it. It makes me nervous and irritable, and physically uneasy. I would rather read, listen to music, watch a ballgame, or cook (or sometimes a combination of several of these things) than write. But when something is finished, I feel wonderful. It?s one of the best feelings I know, in fact.

8. I once met Richard Ford during a signing, after a reading, and I mumbled and stumbled like a fool. I felt like a child. It was a small thing, but in the moment I had a strange feeling, as though I had just come face to face with myself and found that I was not the person I thought I was. Ford, however, was kind, gracious and warm as he chatted and signed my battered old copy of Rock Springs. That, I said to myself afterward, is how I would hope to present myself to the world.

9. The Wire, Arrested Development, WKRP in Cincinnati, Law & Order and Cheers. That?s my top five. Put them in any order you like.

10. Ideal dinner party guests, living or dead: Cary Grant, Patti Smith, Vin Scully, Nina Simone.

11. I will tell you without shame that I love jazz, and spent several years as a co-host on a jazz/improvised music radio show on community radio in Ottawa. I got to quasi-publicly geek out over life-changing records, I interviewed artists and I had a valid excuse to spend vast sums of money on music. It was beautiful. It also led to the opportunity to write a couple of sets of liner notes for a wonderful saxophonist from Montreal named Francois Carrier.

12. I am a slow reader.

Andrew Forbes is the author of liner notes, short fiction and countless music essays, and he was a co-founder of the literary sportswriting website The Barnstormer. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Feathertale Review, Found Press Quarterly, PRISM International, The New Quarterly and The Journey Prize Stories 25. He lives in Peterborough. Follow Andrew on Twitter @ForbesAG.

For more information about "Fat Albert" and to download your copy, please visit the FPQ website.

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