Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of seven collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films, the editor of an anthology, and a renowned performer, Coyote's first love is live storytelling, and over the last eighteen years they have become an audience favourite at music, poetry, spoken word and writer's festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam. The Globe and Mail called Coyote "a natural-born storyteller" and Ottawa X Press said "Coyote is to CanLit what k.d. lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture." Their column, Loose End has appeared monthly in Xtra West magazine for eleven years. Coyote's first novel, Bow Grip, was awarded the Relit award for best fiction and named by the American Library Association as a Stonewall honor book in literature, and is in development to be made into a feature length film. Their new collection of short stories, Missed Her, was released in September, 2010. Coyote also recently co-edited Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme with Zena Sharman. Coyote’s latest short story collection, One In Every Crowd, a young adult collection of stories compiled for queer high school kids, was released in April 2012.
RUSTY TALK WITH IVAN COYOTE
Sara Jane Strickland: What is your first memory of being creative?
Ivan Coyote: I am not sure if I have a memory of this or not, or if I feel like I remember it because there is an old old photo of me doing this, but I have a memory of setting up pots and pans like a drum kit on the front deck of my parent's first house and playing the drums on them. I would have been about two or three.
SJS: How would you describe your writing process?
IC: Deadline driven. I set or get goals and dates, and I try to follow them. I have thousand word days. I make myself write a thousand words, good or bad, not perfect words, just out there. Out of my head and onto the page. Also I make lists of scenes or chapters or stories or ideas and then I just try to write them and cross them off.
SJS: What are you working on right now?
IC: A novel and a survival guide for tomboys. Also two live shows, both collaborations with musicians.
SJS: What is the revision process like for you?
IC: I just grin and bear it.
SJS: What influences your writing the most?
IC: Life. Other books. Other writers. The sky. The weather. How much I have been to the gym lately. Music. Dance. Painting. Movies. Things I overhear on the bus. Kids I meet. People I meet. Loved ones. Loved ones dying. New ones being born. Life.
SJS: How did you deal with rejection when you first started out?
IC: The first book I was a part of writing, we got asked by the publisher for a manuscript, so I have an unusual story. I didn't have to deal with a lot of rejection right out of the gate.
SJS: What keeps you going as a writer or why do you write?
IC: I write because I love it more than anything else in my life. I write because I don't know or remember how to be anything else anymore. I write to pay the bills. I write to change the world. I write because I have a deadline. I write because not writing is no longer an option for me. I write because it is the only way to navigate this life, for me.
SJS: What is the best thing about being a writer and the worst thing?
IC: The best thing? Working alone from home with no pants on. The worst thing? Working alone from home with no pants on.
IVAN COYOTE'S LATEST SHORT FICTION COLLECTION
Missed Her, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010
Description from Arsenal Pulp Press:
Ivan E. Coyote is a master storyteller and performer; their beautiful, funny stories about growing up queer in the Canadian north and living out loud on Canada's west coast have attracted big audiences, whether gay, straight, trans, or otherwise. In their passionate and humorous new collection, Ivan takes readers on an intimate journey, both literal and figurative, through the experiences of their life: from their year spent in eastern Canada, to their return to the west coast, to travels in between. Whether discussing the politics of being butch with a pet lapdog, befriending an effeminate young man at a gay camp, or revisiting a forty-year-old heartbreak around her grandmother's kitchen table, Ivan traverses love, gender, and identity with a wistful, perceptive eye and a warmth that's as embracing and powerful as Ivan themself.
What happens when a woman with "dykey clothes" confronts a man with a bushy beard about the lesbian book he's reading? Is life easier for a butch or a lipstick lesbian? Is it better to be queer in Whitehorse, where you're subjected to direct questions, or in Vancouver, where PC politeness masks embarrassed confusion? Missed Her, a collection by Vancouver writer and performer Ivan E. Coyote, conveys these lifestyle collisions with thoughtful humour ... Thematically, Coyote's writing has grown in complexity and depth.
These vignettes read as though they've been freshly torn from a wanderer's notebook, where they were immediately jotted down so as not to lose the vibrancy of the experience. The result is refreshing and tearfully real--Coyote has a gift for blending the tragic and comic in a way that renders a reader gobsmacked ...The writing in Missed Her is direct yet lyrical, poetic yet unadorned, reaching simultaneously for the heart and the gut with brevity and power.
--Quill & Quire (STARRED REVIEW)
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