Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lisa Pasold : A typical writing day…

Every day/any day. Everywhere/anywhere. Café tables, bars, kitchen counters. Bus terminals, metros, trains. Paused while standing at my bicycle. Cars, gas stations, airports. I never write on airplanes. I am too busy putting psychic energy into helping to fly the plane while drinking heavily.

I’ve been writing a poem of some kind every day for the past decade, so that’s part of any typical day. All my poetry and much of my prose come from this daily writing. Overheard remarks, passing observations, an interesting turn of phrase in a conversation, street signs, misunderstood foreign words—all of that gets written down in daily notebooks and then recrafted at the desk.

My new book, The Riparian, was mostly written on the terraces of three different cafés: Who Dat in New Orleans, Dionis in Paris, and the Good & Cheap in Hoi An, Vietnam. Here is a photo of the chicken there:

A typical writing day starts with a coffee in a café, accompanied by my very shaggy dog. Often all I do is read. Sometimes I write. Then we walk home, the dog lies on the rug, and I go to my desk, where I spend the rest of the day. I drink a lot of green tea. I work at home—wherever home is at the time. The desk is for writing, journalism, editing— everything, really.

This August photo from Paris is pretty typical of my work area, mid-project (I was writing about literary Paris.) My husband, Bremner Duthie, made me this desk over twenty years ago in Vancouver—every few months, I clear it off and start a new project and marvel at the fact that this desk is still with me, after so many different addresses.

Lisa Pasold’s third book of poetry, Any Bright Horse (Frontenac House, Calgary) was shortlisted for the 2012 Governor General’s Award. She has been thrown off a train in Belarus, eaten the world’s best pigeon pie in Marrakech, and been cheated in the Venetian gambling halls of Ca’Vendramin Calergi. Frontenac House is bringing out her new book, The Riparian, this month.


  1. Lisa Pasold's literary tour(s) of Paris remain the highlight of the two weeks I spent there several years ago. I am a raving fan of her poetry, her prose, her novels, and the woman herself. Brem is no slouch, either!
    Darlyn Finch Kuhn

  2. Everyday, everywhere...success!