Thursday, May 21, 2015


Hello All,

Well, I missed his last show. I knew it was coming, but missed it all the same. I'm old. I'm not up that late anymore. But man, I LOVED David Letterman. Spent today watching all the online clips and tributes and was kind of stunned by just how much nostalgia rushed back to me.

It's been years since I've watched the show religiously. I don't think that's because it's gotten any worse than it was when I WAS a huge watcher—or if so, only naturally so, because David and his staff are only human and, I think, once any of us have accomplished (or surpassed) our own expectations, it's tough to keep pushing yourself to those crazy lengths that got you those accolades in the first place. Dave's 68 years old in a culture that values the Freedom-55 mindset. He's been at it 30-plus years, every weeknight. That's a hell of an output. Sometimes you only notice how monumental something is when you reach the end. It seemed that way to me today.

Years ago, back in 1995 I'll say, me and some buddies went to NY to watch him. Took the Greyhound from Toronto, ended up in Port Authority. It was a miserable ride. We hadn't booked a hotel and we were poor, so a great deal of that morning was spent LOOKING at hotel rooms—like, as if they were apartments we were going to rent. Looking back, I'm stunned the hotel clerks actually indulged us by showing us rooms. You'd think it'd be: take it or F Off!

We found some place off Times Square. There were 4 of us. We didn't want to pay the extra charge for extra guests, so we pooled our $$$ and two of us paid for the room and the other two of us snuck up. Four of us for 2 double beds. We went down to the bodega and bought Zima. They still sold that then; maybe they do now, but I kinda hope not. Then we went down to Times Square and got intimidated by a crazy-eyed hobo who insisted on taking us on "a tour" for 10 bucks each. We gave him ten dollars just to leave us alone.

The next day we lined up for seats. It took forever. We got our assigned seats and wandered around until it was time to be called in for the show. THAT was magnificent. Worth the crummy bus trip, the hotel, the Zima, the fearsome hobo—all of it.

It went by so so quick. A time-warp. One minute we were taking our seats. The next, there was Dave. The next, commercial break. The next, we're all being herded outside for the outdoor Bon Jovi concert, which they'd shut the streets down to stage.

There was a real sense of desolation after it was over. Four poor Canadians stuck in NY. No money. Noplace to go. 4 hours to blow before a trip back to Toronto on the bus. All the prep work—sending away for the tickets, waiting for them to come, booking the bus tickets, waiting, waiting—all of that for what felt like a few fleeting seconds of wonderment.

Oh, it was worth it. Never for a second would I say otherwise.

Later, when I was living in Calgary, I sent a letter to the show asking how you get hired on as a writer. I had no experience. I'd written a few books. I felt myself a bit of a funny fellow.

A few weeks later I got a package from the head writers, the Stengel brothers—well, not FROM them but the boilerplate Xerox had their replicated signatures as I recall. It was an applicated pack, basically. I had to send them 3 Top 10 lists based on their suggested topics, plus various skit ideas.

I probably worked as hard on that application as I did on anything in my life. I seem to remember one of the Top 10s was  "The Top 10 Worst Race Horses in History" or something like that. I think I tried names like 3 Legs and a Broomstick, and Zombie Barbaro (Barbaro was a racehorse who'd died, pretty tragically, around that time. It was probably too soon). Another one was "Top 10 Worst Fast Food Franchises." I honestly forget what I did for that. I suppose I thought it was pretty hilarous, anyway. I tried to track that file down, but it's on an old computer that crashed years ago.

I slid the application into an envelope and mailed it off. There's something delicious about that process. The anticipation. You figure: the mail takes 7 days to arrive. It'd take a few weeks for them to consider it. So that meant I had, like, 3 weeks to fantasize about them saying yes. You're hired! I forecasted, foolishly, what my life might be like in New York. Oh man, that would be wonderful. I was pretty much broke at the time, working part-time at a library. I NEED this, baby!

Time went by. It dawned. I wasn't going to get that call.

Bummer. Ah, well. We've all had letdowns before. I still think what that would have been like. Working in a writer's room. I've always toiled alone as a writer. Passing Dave Letterman in the hall. I might have crashed and burnt. Probably I would have. But still, it would have been a hell of a fun crash and burn.

I'm older now. More settled. Those kind of adventurous forays—apply for the Letterman show! Move to NY and live in a bachelor apartment if I get it!—aren't in the cards anymore. Which again, that's fine. That's life. I wouldn't have wanted to work for anyone except Letterman, anyway, and when I discovered he was retiring a few years ago I put all thoughts of that out of my mind.

But I will always remember those days back in my undergrad years, heading to the Common Room in my dorm room and getting in arguments with the hippy-dippy artsy-fartsists who were watching some Marina Abromovic performance art documentary, hollering: "Turn it off! It's a video! You can watch it later—DAVE'S on soon!" Somedays I'd win and get to watch. Other days the Fartsists would win. But if I won, there I'd be, huddled in the glow of that TV watching my gaptoothed idol do his thing.

I miss those days. I'll miss David Letterman. He's a big part of that time in my life. Weirdly, I forgot how big a part until just today.

All best,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fear Itself

Hello All,

Here's a little piece about conjuring fear in a reader that I wrote for Quill and Quire. Thanks to Steve Beattie for giving me some space to pontificate.


All best, Craig . . . Nick?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Hello All,

I don't know if I ever posted this. If not, shame on me. Last summer I had the great pleasure and honor of interviewing David Adams Richards, one of my favorite writers, when he passed through town touring his book, Crimes Against My Brother (which is typically awesome). So I sat down in the publisher's office with him and we kibbitzed for some time. It was a thrill for me.


All best, Craig.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Hello All,

It's me, Nick!

Yeah, that's me in the Garfield suit, dreaming of schnapps-stuffed lasagna or whatever. So what? Big deal! Wanna fight about it?

Okay, rage-storm passed. Serenity now. If you'd like to read a few things I've either written or spoke about lately, read on.

First off, here's an interview in the Calgary Herald with the always great Eric Volmers, who has been really fabulous about getting in contact with each new book and letting me blither-blather away and then somehow, through magical means, managing to turn that blathering into a really good interview where I don't come off as a total bananahead. He earns every penny of what that paper's paying him, let me tell you.


Also, here's a piece I wrote for Publisher's Weekly about my Top Ten Horror Books You May Not Have Read. Of course, lists like this are fodder for argument/discussion—more and more I feel like that's their sole purpose, other than to hopefully shine a little light on the books mentioned—but I had a good time writing it and, for casual horror readers, there may be a few books on the list you'd like to take a gander at.



Monday, January 19, 2015


Hello All,

In what is now becoming a yearly tradition, I have, for the second straight year, been farted (on? at?)—in any case, I've been victimized by the wanton farts of a devious old man aboard an airplane.

Longtime blog readers will recall that last year, on my 2-week pilgrimage to Birmingham to work on my English PhD, that I was farted at/on by a foul old septugenarian on the incoming flight. It was an assault. An olfactory assault. He may as well have been tossing warm wet garbage at me. I chalked it up to a general loosening of the body's muscles, a natural product of the aging process. But I hung around my grandfather and other old men in my youth and, to the best of my recollection, I fail to recall being ceaselessly peppered with foul old toots coughed up from their randomly-cannonading nether orifices. No, they kept that stuff on lockdown. Not so with that old salt on the plane. It was just . . . a debacle. A hellish living nightmare of sorts, if you will allow me indulge in a small bit of hyperbole.

Well, one hopes that would be the end of it. But then tonight I took my seat beside an old man with a certain mischevious glimmer in his eye and I knew—oh yes, friends, so surely did I know—that I might be in for it again. And indeed, history repeated. It was a merciless bombardment. I was under fire. They came hot and heavy, quite literally. Could I wave the white flag? Would my enemy recognize my plea for clemency, or would he simply reload and re-commit to his war crimes? I tried to hold out against the reckless insults he heaped on me—Lord in Heaven, what had I ever done to deserve such treatment?—but he was a cunning and wily foe, his features fixed into an expression of extreme serenity as he drilled me with his terrible, horrible, soul-destroying stench-lobs. Did nobody else SMELL them? What could I say? I was paralyzed into inaction. I simply froze and absorbed many a foul blow. I may have passed out at one point, I can't fully recall. The inner lining of my nostrils will have to be surgically bleached, I'm pretty sure.

Hateful, awful, vexing old farters! Why do I keep running afoul of them? I swear, next time I'm going to say something. I'm going to grab them by their scrawny wattled old turkey neck and say, "Stop FARTING you fearsome old shipwreck, you! Cease and desist or I'm going to stick a carrot up your caboose and plug you up for good and all!"

I can only hope that these experiences do not sour me on aging entirely. Perhaps I will become a cynical old farter myself, ripping grundlers at my unsuspecting seatmates under the assumption that it is now my right as an oldster. Having seen something of hell, I wish only to wreak some of it on others as it was wrought upon me. Well, let's hope my better instincts prevail.

All best,

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Hello All,

Check it out if you're so inclined. My thanks to Mark Medley and J.R. McConvey for taking the time, and to Fred for taking the photos.


All best,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

THE DEEP is out!

Hello All,

Nick Cutter cutting in here—hah! That's not really funny, but whatever. Wordplay!

The Deep, the second Cutter book, "dropped" on January 13th. It should be available at all fine book emporiums, brick-and-mortar or online. I've done a few interviews lately, so I'll post links here if you want to give a listen. And any other book-related matters, of course I will let you know about!

Check out my website — the Nick Cutter side will have ordering links for the new book, if'n you don't want to schlep out to a store and get it, or if you are a fan of them newfangled e-readers.


AM I WRITE? PODCAST: Three standup comics and one dweeb (me) discuss writing and other related matters, such as killer whales with vendettas and fighting Margaret Atwood. Anyway, I think so. I was drunk (no, not really).

RADIO Q INTERVIEW: CBC interview with the great Damian Abraham from the band "Fucked Up." We talk writing, pen names, beards, and the sources of our fears, and possibly wizards and carpentry. Again, it's fuzzy. Again, I was drunk at 10 o'clock in the morning in a radio station. So sue me!