Taking their cue from The Novelist’s Lexicon: Writers on the Words That Define Their Work, The National Post asked Yann Martel and a cross-section of Canadian writers to choose a word that “opens a door to their work.”
Words selected include: almost, apocalypse, but, centaur, dbaajimoweonini, detergent, mirth, rationality, revolution, and tree. Here’s Peter Darbyshire, author of The Warhol Gang on his word, apocalypse:
Apocalypse is the narrative and social arc of all my work. The inevitable destruction of the characters, of their world, of our world. The end of meaning. But also a search for new meaning in the wreckage. The explosion of the novel itself as I try to find a new form for each work, a form that hasn’t already been done to genre death. The destruction of the writer, as I try to annihilate my past and reimagine myself with each work. But apocalypse also means revelations. I like to think of my books as MRI scans of the present, revealing the tumours hidden in our fantasies. Obituaries of the future. Also, my next book is called The Apocalypse Corpse.
For a much shorter entry there is Yann Martel’s word, up: “I [want] to let the meaning of Up be born in the reader’s mind.”