canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

TDR Interview: Catherine Kidd

Catherine Kidd is the author of Everything I know about Love I learned from Taxidermy (Conundrum Press), a collection of performance pieces about the body and memory, with accompanying soundscape. Her performances have been featured in festivals such as "Scream in High Park" and 'TongueTied/Langue Liťe, while recorded work has been aired on CBC's ArtTalks and appears on the CD 'Wired on Words: Millennium Cabaret'. Her fiction has been published in Banff's Meltwater Anthology, Poetry Nation, Matrix and This Magazine. Her first novel, Bestial Rooms is currently at large.

Catherine was part of the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal (April 2005). The Danforth Review was there.


TDR: How did you enjoy this year's Blue Metropolis?

CK: How? Let me count the ways...In terms of life metaphors, it is true that you canít do everything, and there will always be way more things you didnít to see than the things you did see. So you try to thoroughly enjoy the latter, and be happy. I got to hear David Suzuki speak, and he is one of my heroes. I used to go around telling people he had six fingers on one hand, until it was confirmed that this was not true. Then I realized that I had dreamt him with six fingers, in a dream where species were evolving instantaneously. There was also a bivalve with two feet.

TDR: I see.

CK: I also got to teach a bunch of workshops to kids from various high schools outside Montreal, get them to write stories and read them. Fifteen and sixteen year olds, mostly. It was amazing how they were like half-kid and half-grown up, which is more than I can say.

TDR: Is the event getting more business than previous years?

CK: It seems to be. I donít know the numbers, but there seems to be an increasing degree of hive-activity, many people and high energy.

TDR: Beyond appearing there, what draws you to the event?

CK: I like to hang out in the hospitality suite with my writerly friends, and make new friends, and feel writerly, and drink some red wine with them.

TDR: Can you tell the folks at home about the origins of Catherine Kidd the writer, performer, spoken word artist.

CK: Basically, I started out as an acting student, found acting too vapid and switched to philosophy, which I found too ponderous. So I gave up for a while and went to India, where i lived two years as a scruffy foreigner who wrote in journals a lot. I decided to write more and moved to Montreal, where I knew nobody. I was serious and solitary and lonely, so I started repo-ing acting experience and performing stories. My roommate Andy Brown and I made a book/cassette called Everything I know about Love I learned from Taxidermy which is basically about not knowing anything about love. I got a book contract as a result of this, and spent the next several years writing a novel. It is not out yet. I feel like eight years pregnant. 

At some point I had to pick up performing again, so I would not become a pregnant hermit. Conundrum Press publisher Andy Brown, and Wired On Words poet Ian Ferrier, DJ Jack Beets and I made a cd/book called Sea Peach, which is about actually learning something about love. I become happier and less cynical, and wondered if this would affect my writing career, which it has. Basically, that's it. Plus or minus a few relationships, some depressions, and some exultations.

TDR: What have you been working on lately?

CK: Lately Iíve been having to do the very tedious things which are necessary preparation for the very exciting ones. Administration things to get ready for summer touring. Touring is way fun. I have already done some shows at the Oh Solo Mio Festival in London Ontario, and at the World Stage Festival at the Harbourfront. Later, I will be going to Yellowknife, and to Erlangen Germany. It finally feels like things are rolling on their own steam more than in previous years, so I sleep better than I used to.

TDR: Now about China this summerÖ

CK: China! Can you believe it? Iím quite thrilled. I will be performing Sea Peach in Shanghai and Beijing, and also will be hosting a documentary about Canadian artists in China. The documentary is the brainchild of film-maker Jesse Hunter, who will be looking into the phenomena of the cultural blooming happening in cities such as Shanghai. He is interesting how Canadian foreigners are doing in their artistic pursuits, given that getting about in China, both socially and professionally, has largely depended on connections -- introducing yourself to the right people in the right way.







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