To suggest Lee Thompson is a busy man would be an understatement and yet he finds time to answer a few questions for us. Much of his days are consumed by his current role as Executive Director of the Writers Federation of New Brunswick. He is an active writer whose work has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Gaspereau Review, and Victory Meat: New Fiction of Atlantic Canada and The New Quarterly to name a few. His first novel S., a novel in [xxx] dreams was published in 2008. He has recently released a CD of wonderful music under the name of Pipher, all songs written and composed by himself. Phew!
LT: The approach – to tell a story through the narrator's dreams – came about through distillation. I'd attempted to write a conventional novel about the dissolution of a relationship, with the idea of working in these persistent dreams, and then the novel itself began to dissolve and only the dreams remained. This seemed a challenge and a curiosity: what could come of this? How would this work? The goal was to invade the reader's psychical space as intimately as possible and to convey the experience as faithfully as possible. I think it worked but dreams are unreliable messengers.
LT: Honestly, my childhood memories are fudgy or fuzzy and feel like dreams. I try to remember something and the first thing I see is a wire-mesh tunnel with wasps buzzing at the far end. Lots of forests and rivers, too, and once hitting a baseball farther than anyone thought I could. I remember a drunken man passed out on a lawn and being told not to go near him. Favourite memories involve sitting along in the woods behind the house. I was probably an odd kid.
My mind has never worked in anecdote.
LT: The Federation's goals are to improve services to our writers, to reach every writer in the province, and to continue to raise the profile of writing (and writers) in the province. I think we're getting better and better at that. We have specific goals, such as a mentorship program and a biannual provincial book awards and have been taking steady steps toward their realisation. We've done lots with limited resources and increasing our resources is not only a goal, but a necessity. My position as E.D. is a year-to-year contract but I enjoy the position and working with and for writers is ideal. Beyond that, who can say?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Lee. We look forward to reading and hearing more from you in the days ahead. Good luck with your endeavors.
Join me at the end of next month where the 4Q interview will host Gabriel Malenfant, one third of the popular Acadian Hip Hop band Radio Radio.