I met David Granger a few years ago when we were both acting at the Saskatoon French Theatre La Troupe du Jour. This past September he directed me in the one-woman show Ma Irma. I have always admired David’s ability to call himself out on his own shit (which takes a good dose of humility and courage) and his desire to keep trying to understand the human condition. He works relentlessly while taking care of his two boys every second week. Every time I see David we end up brainstorming ideas and he always has A LOT of them. I wonder how he finds the time to nourish them all…
David and I order two pots of tea at a cute Saskatoon coffee shop. We sit down to talk about ideas and hibernating. He points to one of the tables and says: “I built that.” He explains that between theatre contracts he was hired to help with the coffee shop’s renovations. I ask him what hasn’t he done and call him a modern day renaissance man. He laughs. Indeed, David Granger is a writer, director, lighting designer, prop master, set designer, father of two, carpenter, bad poem writer, occasional good poem writer, and drama teacher at the University of Saskatoon. Renaissance man is right!
That’s a lot of titles, David.
It’s the only way I’ve managed to pay the rent so far.
Do all those things interest you?
No. If I could just write I would do just that. But working in all those different areas brought me to writing. Directing is pretty stimulating too.
Do you feel burdened by your ideas?
(David thinks for a moment.) Sometimes they frustrate me because I can’t allow them all to develop properly in my brain—not enough time for that. I feel that in the “good ol’ days,” authors would just write the thing in one shot. Novel! Boom! If anything, I want to allow my ideas more time to hibernate between my colon and my brain—that’s a large area where they can nestle and sleep and find their proper mode of expression.
Nice usage of the interview’s key words: “ideas” and “hibernate.”
What is stopping you from letting ideas hibernate?
It’s stupid and kind of embarrassing but probably most artists have that feeling of “fuck I haven’t written anything in a month, gotta piss something out NOW.” Even if the ideas aren’t ready. So I guess I still feel rushed sometimes. I do have several things—ideas—I’ve been brewing in my soul. I’m not pushing those out until they’re ready.
What will you write about next?
Loneliness probably. I am a bad broken country love song always writing about the same thing.
You should try writing a bad country love song musical!
Ha! My boys might never forgive me for that one.
With two little boys do you even have the time to hibernate?
I’ve done a few short residencies. For my last work I did three different stints in small town motels to write… because there’s nothing to do in small goddamn Saskatchewan motels except write. And I like the motel feel. I mean it does get complicated with kids but if I was a private eye or a secret service dude there would be compromises for my children too.
Did you just compare being an artist to being a private eye? I like it!
(Laughs) Well, yeah! Our work is important and sometimes everyone has to make sacrifices. Long periods of time away might be hurting people who are attached to you. You’re removing yourself to be with your art. I can see how a lot of partners would feel threatened by someone leaving. Going on a residency isn’t necessarily just an act that impacts you alone. There are further repercussions. I don’t want to be away from my boys for too long. I would feel bad taking too much time away from them so I stick to really short residencies. People should know I’m more on the more maternal spectrum.
What are the positives/negatives of being a writer and having children?
Kids are so receptive! It’s inspiring. They’ll see creativity everywhere. Everything, every moment has a spark and potential. There’s always a sense of play with them. We lose that as adults and it’s a shame. And kids don’t need to hibernate. They need other people who are going at their speed and level of creativity. They’ll also always let me know how I could be better. (Laughs) Their creativity is crazy wild! It’s easy for me to think “these little shits are far more creative than me.” But one should never be competitive with one’s own children… I’ve shown them pieces of my writing and they’re like “God, Dad!” and roll their eyes.
Is there anything scary about going away somewhere to hibernate and write?
It’s completely frightening! I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid that nothing will get accomplished and that I will feel really shitty. I’m afraid I might go down a nasty self-abusive path. Sanity is pushed during hibernation. It’s solitude versus loneliness. The differences are subtle. One could easily become the other.
So maybe you could do a residency with other artists.
Yeah that would be nice. I know I personally have a tendency to fall into the lonely boohoohoo category and sometimes I just need a hug. Hugging myself doesn’t help.
So a residency with hugs at the end of every day?
Yeah, some form of affection as positive reinforcement!
That does sound nice. Does hibernating seem especially appealing knowing that winter is coming?
I wouldn’t want to hibernate alone! Winter on the prairies is something fucked up! Public transport is non-existent. There’s a desolation that permeates everything. I looked up statistics on suicide rates and they increase exponentially during the winter. We don’t have the culture here like in Iceland and Norway where as soon as winter comes, you couple up and find someone to spend the winter with. I could see how that helps.
You could cozy up and watch a web series this winter! Do you watch any web series?
Sometimes. Only the She Said Films ones. (He smirks.) I’m still waiting for a She Said tea cup. She Said toothpaste…
(Laughs) They’re all coming! Will you watch our new webseries Running With Violet?
Well how do I find it?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel and you’ll get an email notification.
Okay I will.
No you won’t.
You’re right I won’t. That sounded complicated. (He laughs.)
Let’s do it now.
(David takes out his phone.)
Google “Running With Violet YouTube channel.” Then click “subscribe.”
Congrats to you She Said Films!
Thanks for the interview. Any parting words?
This interview filled my bladder with peppermint tea. No no, I come out of this interview sort of… enlightened and motivated to embark on something new. There were good questions! I like it. Marie-Claire, you always have questions—pertinent questions. You make me want to write. I want to cry. Good tears.
David leaves to use the washroom. To pee. Or cry. Or both. I don’t hug him though I kind of wish I did. For a split second I feel like setting up a residency where people take hugging breaks. I promise myself to hug the people I care about more often. Maybe there’s a good short story in all this hugging business… now I’ve got some ideas...!