Andrew and his muse…
I wrote my first poem when I was three––NOT.
I was born and raised in Ottawa, the son of a lawyer/ politician and a homemaker. I had my privileged white kid adventures––skiied, skated, swam on the local swim team, played the violin and clarinet incredibly badly. Did I say I hated school? I struggled with being gay, when gay wasn’t the word we used for it––I did actually write my first poem for a guy I had a crush on at figure skating when I was seventeen, and found that words coming out of my pen and not my mouth, seemed much more effective.
I was not an avid reader. I marveled at those kids who took out a new pile of books every week from the bookmobile. I tried for a while but would return the pile unread the following week. But I loved Arthur C. Clarke and Arthur Hailey (I could, quite happily to this day, live in an airport) and C.S. Lewis. And I know at some point I read all of the Enid Blighton “Five” adventures. I did not read the heavy weight books like Dune or the Hobbit.
I was quietly rebellious––took a year off after high school to work for my father and figure skate, take ballet classes and learn to fly. Then, after my parents and I drove each other crazy I went away for two years to university, where I studied drama and pretended to study history and English. I secretly took ballet classes and helped organize an extravaganza for the university ballet club.
I left that oppressive small town university environment after two years to pursue my dream to become a ballet dancer. I fled to the RWB to train in Winnipeg for two years and then Montreal and Quebec City to work as a dancer. I landed in Toronto for a while where I had to abandon my ballet dreams and pursued theatre and musical theatre. I finally got into LAMDA’s classical performance program in London. I returned to Canada to act at Stratford, tour a one-man play on the fringe circuit and perform in independent theatres in Toronto.
Life changed, I dumped boyfriend number one, and moved to Vancouver to continue acting and complete a remaining credit and a half for my BA. I taught ESL at the same time. I moved to Japan once relationship number two ended, and upon returning, and after many attempts, got into the University of British Columbia’s Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. At UBC I worked as a TA and ghostwrote a screenplay for Keypics and worked as a reader for Howe Sounds Pictures. In 2007, after fifteen years on Canada’s west coast, I graduated UBC and returned to Ontario. I love being back in the heat, the snow and the tempests, and the drama of the next thunderstorm or blizzard.
I write. I submit. Sometimes I get an rejection and sometimes the other. My fiction, non-fiction and poetry has been published in various literary magazines: Prism international, Prairie Fire, Joylandmagazine.com, Galleon, Fugue, Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, Xtra and Xtra West, among others. I am a past honourable mention of the Writer’s Union of Canada’s short prose contest, and finalist in the Queen’s Alumni Review poetry contest, as well as This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. My poetry has also appeared in Quill’s ‘Lust’ issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology.In the summer of 2013 my personal essay, The Short Goodbye, was published in Prairie Fire, where the piece placed second in their non-fiction category. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in May 2009, by Nightwood Editions. My second novel, STRIP was published in October of 2013.
Right now, I write in the middle of nowhere, rural Ontario. Nature and my poodle and partner all keep me in extremely good company. I’ve also had several amazing gigs, and jobs, and now I have my own business as a wellness coach, a story coach, and after two years, I recently finished leading an ongoing writing workshop to raise funds for the library renovation.
“Show up for your writing and your writing will show up for you.” –– Andrew Binks
“A story, whether it be novel, short fiction, screenplay, play or poetry or any form of non-fiction, is like an ecosystem in which everything relates and feeds into the life of the story.” –– Andrew Binks
“Don’t get it right, get it written.” –– Maeve Binchy
I live on and am inspired by the ancestral territories of the Huron-Wendat, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples, upon which my home is located. We are also adjacent to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory on the Bay of Quinte. And while I am mentioning this, I strongly suggest you look into this free course that I think every Canadian and every student in secondary school should take advantage of. It is an eye opener. It really should be compulsory in the public and private school systems. Indigenous Canada
With thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support in my projects: