by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Cocteau Twins - "Lorelei". [buy]

On Monday night my novel Us Conductors won the Giller Prize, Canada's biggest fiction award. I thanked all of you in the speech. I thanked this song in the speech. My life's a rock in a rock tumbler, getting shone. My life's a tetherball, in orbit 'round its post. My life's Elizabeth Fraser's torn and starry voice, all new edge and possibility. I don't know who I am any more, just that for a few moments I'm tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

I love this song and I never understood the words. What is she singing? Does she know what she is singing? Does she know what she is sending out into the world, atop coronated guitars? Or is she just trying to keep up with the pouring, pouring feelings in her heart - like a stick in the riverwater, like a caught kite.

Someone is putting crowns onto the heads of the guitars and Elizabeth Fraser is singing us down the river or up to the podium and and it'll never be yesterday again.

This is my love to all my distant friends (you): here, this is it, for you, here;

Posted by Sean at November 11, 2014 10:18 PM

Congrats. It was a great Giller broadcast this year. It felt... hopeful. Your win and your words were so fitting. Well done Sean.

Posted by Cori at November 11, 2014 11:11 PM

Hello -- longtime readers of the blog here. First off, congrats -- amazing book, amazing writing. However, we (we're a group of artists who share a workspace) were extremely disappointed to hear you chose to thank Carl Wilson in your speech just after he was outed by Leah McLaren as groping her while she was an intern under his supervision. After weeks of you championing women's voices in the recent discussion around such issues, your decision to laud someone who is exactly the epitome of what we've all been talking about was incredibly disappointing. Yes, we are aware he has apologized and has made the excuse of going through an alcoholic period, but that does not change what happened. That there has been zero outcry over his actions is emblematic of all that is wrong with the insular CanLit community -- much as was outlined in the piece by Emma Healey, which you purported to support. Just because someone is a great critic and/or a friend (we're aware he's been a supporter of yours -- as anyone should, as you are clearly talented) doesn't mean one shouldn't stand up for what is right. Or, in this case, to combat the wrong that was done (you think that was the first time he engaged in such behaviour? Or the last? If you lived in Toronto you'd be aware of how often he's seen with very young women -- power dynamics, anyone?). As fans of your work, we'd love to hear an explanation for your decision to single him out in your speech, and/or some sort of thoughts as to how this squares with your recent calls to action around the issues of women and how they're treated. While we respect your work and want to believe you meant well, we also feel you had a responsibility -- in your speech, you also made some comments regarding 'believing women' -- in deciding to shout out a known transgressor, you also made your other point totally moot. What a shame. We're looking forward to hearing some kind of clarification from you on this subject. All best.

Posted by Confused at November 12, 2014 5:22 AM

Congratulations Sean ! Well deserved!

Posted by Frank Opolko at November 12, 2014 7:10 AM

Hi to "confused". I don't think anonymous blog comments are the best place to talk about this. But you didn't leave any contact information.

I think you are referring to the events described in this article:

I hadn't seen the piece until you brought it to my attention. Obviously it breaks my heart. Carl has been a friend and mentor to me. And the behaviour described by Leah McLaren is just awful.

I didn't know about it when I cited him. I don't think it would have cancelled out what I said, but it would have mitigated it. The last thing I wanted was to send a mixed message.

At the same time, there needs to be a place in these conversations for reconciliation and dialogue. It's not my place to offer forgiveness or apologies, but we do need to leave room for the appropriate parties to do so. What I said in my speech is that we must believe people, and also that those who commit violence must reckon with what they've done. I hope Carl will. And I absolutely stand in support of Leah McLaren.

Posted by Sean at November 12, 2014 10:54 AM

Thanks -- your reply goes a ways towards explaining and also soothing. (We weren't looking to distress or annoy, hence no contact info.) It's brave and important that you've even bothered to discuss. Cheers.

Posted by Confused at November 12, 2014 12:48 PM

Huge congratulations, Sean! I saw the speech and had to hold back a few tears... I understand how much you deserve this and how wonderful it must be to be recognized in this manner.

I look forward to reading your book!:-)

Kind Regards!

Kenneth, Oslo, Norway

Posted by Kenneth T at November 12, 2014 1:23 PM

Congratulations Sean! I've got the book, now all I need is some quiet reading time... getting the book was easier.

Posted by Michiel at November 12, 2014 4:16 PM

Sean rules!

Posted by Chris at November 13, 2014 8:06 PM

Love this blog and your writing. You are extremely talented.

Posted by HomebredBacchus at November 14, 2014 6:14 AM

Huge! Congratulations Sean. I've greatly enjoyed your writing since Jordan introduced me to your blog almost a lifetime ago (around the time you won the Time magazine accolade). Thanks for the early X-mas present, I have my holiday reading all set.

Posted by Scott at November 16, 2014 9:01 AM

From a long time reader and admirer of this blog, I offer my congratulations to you on winning this prestigious award. Your acceptance speech was very moving and inspiring. Bravo.

Posted by David at November 16, 2014 11:30 AM

Lovely to hear of someone else being deeply affected by Elizabeth Fraser's voice. It's been a rock for me as well as a ritual where I go through the entire recorded works of Cocteau Twins at least once I year. Sometimes in order of release date and sometimes in a hodge podge of whatever I am feeling and which slight of the world needs healing. My well worn favourites are the four songs on Orange Appled and then Treasure. Congratulations on the Giller and know that reading about you name checking the Twins in your acceptance speech was a weird but great start to my day.

Posted by Orange Appled at November 27, 2014 7:29 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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