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

Categorical Index

New time for CR launch

Note that the time of the launch has been changed to 6:00 on Tuesday, December 4. I'll probably be there from 5:30 onward if you want to stop by and pick up your copy of Correction Road and get it inscribed. And afterwards (7:00 onwards), we'll likely be over in the Palamino enjoying some celebratory drinks. If you can't make it to the reading, feel free to join us for drinks, instead.


Selections from a Writing Playlist

I tend not to write as well when it's quiet. Ambient noise, as in a crowded coffee shop, is great. Failing that, I listen to music when I'm writing. As I prepare to start a new novel, I'm going through my collection and picking out music that will form a playlist as I write. As with Correction Road, this playlist isn't set in stone; some pieces will stay on the playlist for years, other ones I'll find less successful and will remove after a couple weeks. Here's a few highlights from the Correction Road writing playlist:

Ohio Air Show Plane Crash - Joe Henry:

Just before the crash, I was at the rail. I remember now somebody shouting, but I couldn't hear too well. And when he went into a dive we all came to our feet, and just like he meant to nose into the lake, he did so, perfectly.

Joe Henry has a narrative quality matched by few singer/songwriters. I put him up there in that highest echelon of storytellers with the likes of Tom Waits, Tom Russell, and Johnny Cash. Ohio Air Show is from one of his earlier albums, and while I like his later albums better, this song is flawless. The lyrics form a deeply personal and moving account of how we interpret the relationships in our life around specific, memorable and sometimes horrific events. At least, that's what I get out of it. And I love the way Henry sings that last phrase quoted above, with a pause on either side of 'so', so that it could be heard as I've punctuated it above, or as He did, so perfectly. I think I like that second, subtlely different reading.

Neverending Math Equation - Modest Mouse:

The universe works on a math equation that never even ever really even is ending, and Infinity spirals out creation. Were on the tip of its tongue, and it is saying, We aint sure where you stand. You aint machines and you aint land. And the plants and the animals, they are linked, and the plants and the animals eat each other.

With songs like Neverending Math Equation (or 3rd Planet, which has also spent time on my writing playlist), Modest Mouse has this wonderful voice that I've described as hillbillies talking about metaphysics. And obviously Modest Mouse aren't hill-billies. I was surprised to see them on a late-night talk-show earlier this week, styled as geek-rockers, very different look from the last time I saw them live; but anyone who listens to their lyrics can tell that they are far more intelligent than they often let on. Anyway, the characters in my story are not hill-billies either, but they definitely share with MM that way of talking about very big, important questions in simple terms, trying to apply these things to their lives in a search for meaning. I'm fascinated by string theory; not only the theory itself (which I don't pretend to understand on any sort of deep, meaningful level), but also the way that these abstract edges of math and sciences have startling similarities to systems of belief and faith.

Red, red, red - Fiona Apple:

I don't understand about complementary colors and what they say. Side by side they both get bright, together they both get gray. But he's been pretty much yellow, and I've been cryin' blue, but all I can see is red, red, red, red, red now. What am I to do? I don't understand about diamonds and why men buy them. What's so impressive about a diamond, except the mining? And it's dangerous work trying to get to you too. And I think if I didn't have to kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill myself doing it, maybe I might not glisten so much for you.

There's a lovely, accurate description of complementary colours, which one might not understand without some knowledge of colour theory. And then she ties all that in with the diamond industry. It's clever, and she's got a lovely, unusual voice. As with either of the songs above, she's really working hard to find the perfect metaphor; a plane crash, string theory, colour theory: these are the sorts of metaphors that hold deep and interesting meaning.

That's all I have time for now, but I've had probably about a hundred songs in this writing playlist at various times, and perhaps I'll do this again with a few more favorites.



The coulees on my parents' farm feed down into greater coulees and valleys, eventually joining the Kneehill Creek somewhere downstream from the town of Carbon and upstream from Horseshoe Canyon; from there, the stream flows downward into the middle Red Deer River, just upstream from the town of Drumheller and downstream from the Blariot Ferry, a site that plays an important role in Robert Kroetsch's Badlands novel. Despite my proximity to the valley and my childhood interest in paleontology, I never read or even heard of Badlands when I was young; but I would now list it, along with Kroetsch's other novels, particularly Studhorse Man and Words of My Roaring, as one of my strongest influences.Particularly appealing to me is the way that his books, though set on the prairie, tell stories that are not only very different from most prairie novels, but also use post-modern and occasionally magic-realist devices to achieve their effect; Louise Erdrich similarly combines the two traditions. In some ways, his work has common ground some of Howard O'Hagan's work, particularly Tay John (though Kroetsch's work is more refined and poetic), which I studied in English classes and wrote a paper on, looking at the similarities between Tay John and Heart of Darkness. All of these works are quest stories. I could probably make the argument that Correction Road is, on some level, a quest story, but it wouldn't be an obvious fit. I think that I tend to borrow a lot of elements from that form in my own work though; and certainly, other writers who use that sort of form are also extremely influential on me: Jose Saramago and Charles Portis, for example. Certainly the quest story is a natural fit with magic realism: the strange appearance of the horse in Studhorse Man, or the unusual circumstances throughout Saramago's Stone Raft, which tells the story of the Iberian Penninsula breaking off from Europe and drifting off into the Atlantic. With my previously-professed interest in the theme of continental drift, it's probably no wonder that I love the ideas in Stone Raft. Most interesting to me is that, unlike many magic-realist writers, Saramago does not keep his magic-realism separate from science; whenever the unexplained appears in Saramago's writing, government scientists appear, trying to understand it.

I'm wandering from the things that I intended to write about, specifically to show some of my influences and how they may have manifested themselves in my work. One of my most difficult decisions was how I'd deal with one inexplicable, magic-realist event that shapes the entire narration of the story. (It's a difficult thing to describe because I don't want to give away certain surprises.) In the end, the approach I went with was a bit like Saramago's. Science exists, and is, in fact, a major element of the book; there are things that are beyond what even the most scientific and knowledgeable characters can explain. Physics and metaphysics exist in the same space and do not contradict one another.



Correction Road Launch!!

 New Time!!

Join Glen Dresser on at 6:00 on December 4 for the release of Correction Road, at McNally Robinson booksellers in downtown Calgary. Published by Oberon Press of Ottawa, Correction Road tells the story of three individuals living in a small community along the Alberta Saskatchewan border. The launch will take place in the Prairie Ink restaurant on the upper level.

About Correction Road

A correction road is a line along which the vast grid of prairie roads is reset and the distortion caused by the curvature of the earth is corrected. It is a point of disharmony between layers; a modern era ill-fit upon the natural world beneath it. An officer with the Alberta Rat Patrol, Hugh is familiar with correction roads. He spends the autumn of 1979 patrolling a county along the Saskatchewan border in search of a particularly elusive rat. In a small town along the border, Walt closes down his museum for the winter and allows his drinking to pull him back into his memories of a past love. Joan tries to craft a future with Hugh, but is drawn increasingly toward the enigmatic curator who visits her liquor store. Though connected by an intimate and omniscient narrative, each wages a quiet and personal struggle against the traps of their lives: relationships, small towns, obligations and old memories. Correction Road is a novel about the borders: the natural borders we erode, our own borders we create, and the tendency of the latter to diminish while the former persists.  

About Glen Dresser

Glen Dresser was born in 1977 and grew up on a farm near the small prairie town of Carbon, Alberta. A childhood love of writing led him to pursue an education first in journalism and later in technical writing, both at Mount Royal College. He currently works as a technical writer in Calgary, where he lives with his wife and their cardigan corgi. With his wife, he co-founded a gallery and bookstore highlighting the world of illustration and design; there, he has written everything from greeting cards to books on exhibitions. Correction Road is his first novel. For more information, see www.glendresser.ca.

About Oberon Press

Oberon Press is an independent Canadian literary publisher founded more than 40 years ago to help give Canadians books of their own. It is operated and owned by Canadians and publishes only books by Canadian writers. Among the authors that they have published are W.P Kinsella, David Adams Richards, and Rohinton Mistry. For more information, see www.oberonpress.ca.



November 1st Flywheel

On November 1st, I`ll be doing my first public reading from Correction Road, as part of the excellent Flywheel reading series.  



filling Station magazine presents:

November flywheel – Day of the Dead

Readings from:
Glen Dresser
Doug Ferguson
Ian Kinney
Andre Rodrigues

Hosts: Emily Elder, Bronwyn Haslam, and Natalie Zina Walschots

Thursday, November 1 – 7:00 pm
Prairie Ink Restaurant
McNally Robinson Bookstore – 120 8th Ave SW

Do you find that Halloween doesn't satisfy your need for creativity? A proud participant in the Olympic Plaza Cultural District's First Thursday initiative, this instalment of the flywheel reading series promises an evening of literary and experimental madness at McNally Robinson.  On November 1, you will find a creatively satiating line-up of Calgary writerly gentlemen who will titillate, provoke, and challenge daily conventions.

Join Glen Dresser and Doug Ferguson to celebrate their recently released novels!  Experience the pleasing insanity of Andre Rodrigues' linguistic gymnastics!  Finally, discover the newcomer Ian Kinney, editor of cutting edge publication NōD magazine!

PLUS:  Don't forget the flywheel prize draw, and the flywheel limited edition posters!  Not only will attendees get to hear top-notch literature, but they'll also have the chance to win swag from filling Station magazine and McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Every month since November 2003, filling Station magazine's flywheel reading series has brought poetry, prose, music, lectures and performance to the heart of downtown Calgary.  It's a place for first-time readers to share the stage with professional authors, for Calgary audiences to see their favourite writers alongside the next generation of literary superstars.

Emily Elder  403.383.1356
Bronwyn Haslam   403.209.1010

Next flywheel: December 6, 2007  – Multi-Lingual Edition of flywheel