Novels and other Prose Writing
I like my prose like I like my poems and plays –
l y r i c
in the jugular
with laughter pouring out
I’ve written lots of plays and poems, but with prose I’ve been much more sporadic. I have a handful of short stories and three unpublished novels:
1. Red Fog
2. Getting Out Alive
3. The Freakazoid Anti-corruption Manifesto of Love
Short Stories (1978-1984)
I only ever published two of my short stories, though I’ve written many more. They’re on a shelf somewhere.
But I have this idea for a short story – if I ever write another - about a guy who moves into an apartment above a laundromat and witnesses a murder. He lies 'cause he doesn’t want to get involved. But that just gets him more involved. I haven’t figured out the laundromat angle yet. What do you think of Detergent Vice as a title?
Click to hear Robin playing the washer and dryer on his guitar.
Red Fog (1982)
My first shot at a novel was Red Fog. I took a year off from teaching and went to Paris and various places and wrote what turned out to be a derivative thriller. So much for high art. But it got my writer chops chopping.
I’ve just been back to Paris recently, and it brought back fond memories of living in a cold art studio at night, and walking the streets by day – the Bastille, the Seine, the cafes, the language, the sirens...
Click to hear Robin reading the moody opening paragraph of Red Fog.
Getting Out Alive (1992)
This adaptation of my play Steel Kiss deals with the issue of gay bashing. The original tragedy that inspired this work was the murder of Ken Zellar in High Park, Toronto, 1985. ( Steel Kiss in the play section has more background information.)
Getting Out Alive was more bold and meaningful than Red Fog, both in terms of theme and style. It is a bit of a rock-and-roll book as the main dude is a heavy rocker who gets caught up in the murder. Getting Out Alive got close to publication, but ultimately the publishing company wanted something a little tamer.
Click here to hear Robin read a pulsating passage from Getting Out Alive.
The Freakazoid Anti-Corruption Manifesto of Love (2009)
My present novel is called The Freakazoid Anti-Corruption Manifesto of Love (Freakazoid for short). I’m just finishing it up and will put it up on the site in the new year, in installments just like in the good old days.
Freakazoid started out ten years ago as a long narrative poem in which a university dropout finds out about love and unlove one Thanksgiving weekend during a blackout. It just started out of the blue.
I would work a week or so on it, get frustrated, think it was shit, throw it across the room, and forget about it for another year. But it gradually took a shape that included verse with graphics - doodles from the main character. Then I dropped the verse format to make it flow better in regular prose. That meant putting in all the punctuation, which I had shunned up until that point.
In 2008, I started working hard to complete the novel. I came up with the bulk of the book, including the graphics, by the summer of 2009.
The story is funny and chaotic, has a strong smash of the absurd and the poetic. It walks that line of ‘what is love when you don’t know anything about it.’Video of Robin reading a sexy scene from Freakazoid.
Overheards and I AMs (2007-09, in progress)
Overheards are short pieces, almost like dialogues from plays, that are inspired from overheard bits of conversation. I just walk around the world, hear shit, and then turn on the art machine. I riff on the short quote, making up my own character and circumstance.
I AMs are also short, but are monologues, often from the point of view of an animal - like the iguana who spoke to me on the beach in Cuba, or even an object - like the eyelash that got stuck in my eye. Text combines with graphics.
Click here to see one of my fetching I AMs.