The Dirty Dozen, with Julie Wilson

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Julie Wilson

Gal-about-town and indefatigable publishing maven Julie Wilson (also know as the Book Madam) is the author of Seen Reading (Freehand Books).

Seen Reading is a collection of microfictions inspired by Julie's blog of the same name, a project of literary voyeurism that saw Julie inspired by those she saw reading in public.

Today, Julie tackles the Dirty Dozen — our free-form author interview series — chatting with Open Book about MuchMusic, Jessica Lange and Johnny Cash.

Seen Reading will be available April 1 — be sure to check it out!

  1. Many days, I feel like Chance the Gardener from Being There (1979), a character whose pop cultural mumblings are mistaken for resonant metaphor. Other days, give me an hour and I’ll tell you a thing or two about how the first season of Survivor beautifully illustrates a tendency to dramatize, as essential to human nature, and explored further in David Mamet’s book Three Uses of the Knife.
  2. The way some car passengers have to narrate every street sign they pass, I’m inclined to impersonate most noises I hear.
  3. In high school, I was pulled from class to take an IQ test. I was confused because my test had all these math questions on it. I didn’t know most of the other students, but they seemed to be getting along fine. I went to the front of the room. “I need help,” I said. “Just take the test,” they said. I returned to my seat and flipped through the pages. Again, I went to the front. “I really think I’ve been given the wrong test. Do you have something more in the area of English or the Arts?” I asked. “Everyone gets the same test,” they responded. I returned to my seat once more. Raising a finger and leaning out of my chair, I mouthed to the teacher, “I need to pee.” No. So, I started filling in the dots in random fashion and left. Later, I went to the school office to retrieve my results and was told that if anyone ever saw my score I’d be put back to elementary school.
  4. I’ve made two short experimental films. One was featured in the issue of Take One with a still on the cover from Crash, the scene in which Holly Hunter rides James Spader in the front seat of his car. I was so shy to give it to my family knowing it would sit out on coffee tables, and yet my film was an exploration into the male gaze and how lesbians create sexual imagery of other women. Yes, sex.
  5. Under the pen name Becca Wilcott, I wrote a companion guide to True Blood and contributed episode recaps to The National Post. All of which prepared me for the day a Psi-vamp would approach me on the subway and I was able to ask kindly that he refrain from draining my energy without my expressed permission.
  6. I played Blanche DuBois in a high school production of Woody Allen’s God. To get Vivien Leigh’s accent down, I must have watched A Streetcar Named Desire a dozen times, yet my accent kept slipping. Then, one day it hit me. And so I instead impersonated Carol Kane as Simka Dahblitz-Gravas, Latka’s wife on Taxi.
  7. I once auditioned to be a MuchMusic VJ. Somewhere on VHS is the original cut of what would become a 20 minute docudrama that went something like this > artsy-fartsy opening using Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up as a backdrop > little singalong to Backstreet Boys > hard-hitting political statement about being openly gay > more singalong to Backstreet Boys > throw in some old school Steely Dan > more hard-hitting political statement about a need for more openly gay media personalities > go to a park and get stuck on a slide. All to say that Brad got the gig. Do you remember Brad? When he won, he welcomed Canada to his sweaty armpits? I loved that guy.
  8. I have what many affectionately refer to as my Uniform. While it’s completely clean, my fall/winter attire is almost exclusively black yoga jeans, a black denim shirt with snaps, and black Blundstones. Or as I like to call it: Johnny Cash.
  9. As a creature of habit, I recently learned to make poached eggs and now eat them at least three times a week, matching, but not surpassing, The Grilled Cheese Rut of 2010.
  10. I’m more than just a little in love with Jessica Lange’s whisper. There’s that scene in Tootsie where Michael babysits for Julie? Good god.
  11. It was a boy who taught me how to kiss girls and accept feedback. I credit him for the healthy work relationship I’ve had since with editors. (I’m currently accepting feedback.)
  12. I’ve thrown up on a dolphin.


Julie Wilson is The Book Madam, a self-professed “professional publishing fan” living and working in Toronto. She’s the past Online Marketing Manager for House of Anansi Press and recent Host of the CBC Book Club. She thinks reading looks good on you. Follow Julie on Twitter: @BookMadam and @SeenReading. Post your own reader sightings using the hashtag #seenreading. Visit Julie online at her website.

For more information about Seen Reading please visit the Freehand Books website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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