About the Author

Glen Dresser is a novelist whose first book, Correction Road, was released in 2007 and shortlisted for the W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary book prize. He has also worked as a technical writer, information designer and web developer. He is currently focusing his efforts on his second novel and his first-born son, while assisting with UPPERCASE Magazine

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Photo credit: Janine VangoolI met this butterfly at the zoo today. 


Writing Update: Filling in some holes

kitchen counter
brown cow

They were in the midst of a game of hide and seek, but even were they not thus occupied, they would not acknowledge me. Those who were already out continued speaking when I came near. Thomas was telling the others about something he had seen in town. Even with no adults around we had to lean in close enough to hear him. Girls smoking. Boys too, but the boys were not so much news. We all nodded in satisfaction at the story, even though I caught only the last few words of it. I wanted add to the conversation what Greta had told me about Mrs Meuller, but it was a secret, and regardless of that, I wasn't convinced of its authenticity. So I let Thomas tell his story from the beginning again. The thought of Mrs Meuller smoking in the toilet in the church basement was unpleasant. But these girls were different.
"Why do people smoke?" I asked.
Everyone was silent for a bit.
"My dad says that people smoke instead of praying."
Ewa snorted, but I gave her a little punch in her shoulder and then waived my hand to Samuel like I wanted him to keep talking. "Why smoke instead of pray?"
"It gives you peace, he said. He said it's a false peace, but for a moment you feel like your problems just sort of float away."
Girls smoking instead of praying. Sinners. In my mind, they were all blondes, with crisp clothes and lips like strawberries, not like Claire - black hair with cobwebs and tangles and burs all down her skirt and her lips bruised blue like saskatoons. Claire, who drew close to us: she was it, and she had searched through all the usual spots where we hid. Jonas nodded toward the loading chute.

This is the first post of what I hope will be a regular feature in this space: an ongoing blog of my progress on my upcoming novel.

I've returned to the first part of the book to fill in any of the holes and get the narrative complete before moving on; a few missing details were preventing me from properly working on the second part of the book. Unfortunately, the reason that these passages were skipped on the first few passes over the section was because they're particularly tricky. So in returning to them, I'm finding the writing moves very slowly, but tonight I'm filling in a lot of those little holes, so it's a productive session.


What I've been working on: Prescience

I don't remember much about Laura Nagel prior to her car missing a corner and plunging 175 feet,  crumpling upon itself on the valley floor. I don't even remember that, as I didn't see it. But Jonas did. Though he didn't see it leave the road; he turned just to see the weight of the engine block pulling the white Valiant down to earth like the most poorly designed bird. 

I'm currently working hard on my second novel during breaks from parenting. I'm hoping to complete it sometime in 2010, and while progress is slow right now, I'm really excited by the ideas in it. When I was working on Correction Road, I gave it the working title Omniscience for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who's read the book. I gave my current project the working title Prescience, which reflects how it, like Correction Road, is very interested in problems of the mind. 

But at its heart, Prescience is about doubt and belief, and in particular how a centrist perspective of unbelief is treated by both believers and disbelievers. While the words have theological implications, I was actually thinking about how (particularly American) politics had become so polarized that advocating a moderate perspective was almost impossible. Like Correction Road, Prescience is set in a rural community, in this case a insular, religious immigrant community where one girl seems to have an unlikely gift. The story is told by her friend and eventual lover who struggles with his own reaction to her talents. 

I'll be posting my progress on the novel from time to time and share segments of my writing. 


Website Relaunch

I've been dragging my heels about doing much with my website, but Janine's work on redesigning the UPPERCASE site really inspired me to spend some time on mine. It uses fonts from the excellent Typekit service, and is done in Squarespace. I'm looking forward to using it more regularly... hopefully even on a daily basis to update the progress on my next book, as well as other projects. 


"Animal Shelters" for UPPERCASE Magazine

Musings on animals with shells - UPPERCASE Magazine Issue #6

I wrote this piece for UPPERCASE Magazine #6, about the appeal of animals that carry their own accommodation with them: snails, turtles, nautili, hermit crabs, and in particular, the amazing veined octopus, which fashions a portable fortress for itself out of two halves of a coconut shell. 

She looks like she belongs in a Monty Python skit rather than National Geographic, and footage of this creature is a popular selection on Youtube. She seems a little less majestic than those cephalopods who possess the confidence to swim unhindered through the blue, attacking steampunk-era submarines and washing up on shores to seduce fishermen's wives and be immortalized in early Japanese woodcuts. 

There might be times when we wish that we were more like the armadillo: that we had a thick hide and could roll ourselves into a near perfect sphere that would leave antagonists pawing in confusion. There are times when those logarithmic  spiral shells of the snail or nautilus look appealling: to coast along -- fast or slow -- with all the comforts and security of home, and look stylish doing so. And could we fashion our shells like a little reading room or a tiki lounge, then relax, dim the lights and watch luminescent jellyfish drift past.


This piece was gorgeously illustrated by Jing Wei, who's woodcut print is a little bit like what I would look like if I was a veined octopus.