On Thursday October 15 at the Junior Common Room on Trail College, Sean Michaels came to Trent University to present at a Writers Reading. Sean Michaels is a Giller-Prize winner as well as “a musician, novelist, newspaper columnist and a founding member of an absurdist improv theatre group.”
Professor Lewis Macleod introduced Sean Michaels to the audience as “a man who can compose high quality literature while listening to music with lyrics.” To follow up on the Writers Reading, special guest and Trent alumni Nick Ferrio played with his band His Feelings at the Trend. As advertised for this event it was promised that “Nick will tell you what it’s like to get arrested by Swiss transit cops.”
At the beginning of the event Sean Michaels wanted to give thanks, “I want to thank everyone in Trent who helped bring me here, I want to thank my good friend Nick Ferrio.” Sean Michaels read passages from his book Us Conductors and then explained a deeper meaning to his book: “This book is about true love, untrue love and when an untrue love is the only thing keeping you alive.”
To make this Writers Reading very unique, Sean Michaels brought a Theremin with him to the event. The Theremin is a very unique musical instrument that has been commonly used in sci-fi movies for things like UFOs landing. Sean brought the instrument because there are many Theremins in his book, which helped give the audience a better visual and audio understanding.
Not only did Sean Michaels explain how to play the instrument, but gave a demonstration by playing “Happy Birthday” for one of the audience members. Sean Michaels gave some inside views of what it is like to write a book:
“If your going to write a book, it takes a lot of stuff … a lot of characters, individual moments, so many pages, so many chapters. You have to try to find a story that is rich enough and alive enough in your imagination to make a book.”
Sean even gave advice to student at Trent who are trying to write and get published,“Start things and finish them, the hardest part is always the finish. To get in the habit of finishing the things you start. Learn to live on very little money wise, the less it is to keep costs down the easier it is to keep writing.”
After the event, the band His Feelings was playing at the Trend with special guest, singer Nick Ferrio. Ferrio had the opportunity to tell his story about being arrested in Switzerland in 2010.
“I was on tour for another band called Burning Hell. We were on tour in Switzerland. They were speaking German the whole time and they took me in. I stayed over night. In the morning they took me to the bank, and made me take out some money … 400 Swiss francs which is about 450$ Canadian.” Nick continued to say that he was never given a reason for his arrest. However this arrest did not stop Nick from going on tours in Europe: “I pretty much go to Europe every year … I’m going to Germany this April.”
Nick and Sean are good friends and it was Nick who strongly encouraged Sean to make this appearance at Trent, “I tried talking him into coming with Trent. It took some time since he won his award to come here, so I’m glad he could find the time.”