This collection of writings bears the title Anecdotes, not very inspired perhaps but I wanted, as described below, make it as clear as possible that these weren’t stories in the sense of fiction.

One of these stories (
A Birthday Dream) was included in the Canadian arts journal Descant. Here’s the intro that their editor wrote:

The following text is a short excerpt from a novella-length autobiographical manuscript detailing four uncanny experiences.
In part 1, “Deliverance, a meandering tale,” the narrator contemplates the death sentence he received from his doctor when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, more than twenty years ago. He meditates on memory, particularly on his childhood, experiences a sense of joy at the thought of death, and finally fixes on a murder that he never committed. This section was originally conceived as a memoir for Zuckerbrot’s two children.
Part 2, “Patanjali’s Circus,” describes in detail Zuckerbrot’s silent yet consuming battle with perceived twists, jerks, levitations and other physical misconfigurations during a trip to Moscow.
Part 3, “Projection of the Double,” mostly takes place in Toronto General Hospital where Zuckerbrot had heart surgery in 1993. In the days proceeding the surgery Zuckerbrot tried to train his brain to have an out-of-body experience during the surgery, so that he could witness the whole procedure. The text focuses on those days and the aftermath of the surgery when he struggled with his identity and asked whether he was himself, or his friend Ed, who was in a different hospital at the time.
Part 4, “A Birthday Dream,” presented here, examines parallel worlds, the synchronicity and overlap of multiple dreams and events.


I would only add that in an early discussion with one of the editors there the term magical realism was used to describe these writings. Besides the evidence of an excess of analysis what struck me, as a more serious problem was the misconception that these were fictional tales. I assure you these are the obverse of magical realism, since they are nothing more (or less) than an attempt to rigoursly describe my personal registers during some peculiar moments of daily life.


Here’s a letter that I sent with the original manuscript to my friend Patrick Watson, I think it serves as an adequate intro.

Hello Patrick:

Here’s a couple of things that I hope you will find interesting, at least in respect to their content—if not their form. I haven’t circulated these writings very much and you will see why if you look through them. It’s not just that I don’t think the writing will pass muster—they are both goofy and klutzy. It’s also that I don’t need a bunch of people wondering about my sanity. I guess for both those reasons no one but Donna and the kids have read all of these tales, until now.

I know that you are not too fond of Borges but I will quote him anyway. It will let me setup what this is not about, as well as supplying some missing literary veneer. That old blind librarian
says: “…There is no satisfaction in telling a story as it actually happened. We have to change things, even if we think them insignificant; if we don’t, we should think of ourselves not as artist but perhaps as mere journalists or historians…”

So let me be very clear, what follows then are not, as Borges would have it, stories. These are merely a few anecdotes that, I believe, hold a certain; lets call it, psychological interest. Perhaps I should title them something like: “notes toward a psychopathology of everyday life”.

These anecdotes are in chronological order (with one exception that I’ll explain when we get there). They all involve some distortion of perception, or drastic change in perspective. In the first example the change is evidently spatial.

If these were literary works I’d edit them to make them more straightforward and less pretentious. But it is not a work of fiction and so…