Friday, January 31, 2014


Hello All,

Let me tell you a story. This is a very personal story to me, so I hope you'll bend an ear.

On his deathbed, my great-great-uncle Cotton Horace Davidson pulled me close. He was a sugar miner, you see. He worked in the sugar mines of northern Ontario, harvesting sweet sweet nuggets of sugar from the unforgiving ore. He and his fellow sugar-miners were a tough lot. Burly, unshaven, smelling faintly of Pixie Stiks. When he came home from the sugar mines all the neighborhood children would dance and sing, because they knew that my great-great-uncle would toss his overalls to the child who danced best—and his overalls, of course, were crusted with sweet sweet sugar, and the winning child would get to dash off into the brambles and suck on the seat of those overalls (now you may find the notion of a grown man tossing his overalls to a group of dancing children strange, insofar as that would leave said man practically naked; you may also find the image of a child sucking on the tattered seat of some overalls in the brambles rather unsettling as well, but I must remind you that this was a different day and age, my friend!)

Anyhoo and alas, poor Cotton came down with a bad case of the sugar-lung. It happened to a lot of sugar miners back then. It was one of the dangers of such sweet work. On his death bed he pulled me close and hacked up a puff of fine powdered sugar from the pit of his lungs; it sparkled in the air above his bed like diamond dust, I tell you! And though I was crying, for I loved old Cotton so, I was happy also because he was rich, like all miners, and I stood to clear a few bucks when he kicked the bucket.

With his dying breath dear sweet Cotton pulled me close and whispered:

"Boy, if you do one thing in this life for me, make it that you win CBC's Bookie competition."

I never did forget those words—and now, miraculously, that chance is at hand!

So go forth, for Cotton's sake if not my own, and vote. Damn you, VOTE!


And I mean, listen, look at those other titles.

The Luminaries? Don't make me laugh! What's it ever won?

Caught? Can I just be honest and say that Newfoundlanders and their whole lah-dee-dah "have" province already "have" enough? They have the sea, the cod, the frolicking lobsters, the invigorating salt air! What, do they need that their authors win everything too? They have enough, I say! Let us hardscrabble Torontonians win something for once, why not?

The Orenda? Who has even heard of that book? Certainly not the entire Canadian reading public, I should think!

Clearly, the choice in clear. Do it for Cotton. Do it for the hardworking sugar miners. Do it for you.

All best,

UPDATE: Well, I didn't win. In fact, I finished dead stinkin' last. Great! Just GREAT! Now, as per our infernal agreement, my great-great uncle Cotton will haunt me and my family as a ghoulish undead revenant for the rest of my days, spreading disharmony and angst amongst those I love and treasure most in this world! Plus, he gets to eat my face! Just perfect! Why oh why did I make that deathbed deal?

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