Thanks to the classes he teaches and the lecture series he hosts — Trampoline Hall — some of us folks at The Little Red Umbrella have already been lucky enough to benefit from the wisdom of Misha Glouberman. And since we've often felt the world would be a better place if his knowledge was shared with a greater audience, we were tickled when we heard of his plans to put his thoughts into book form, in collaboration with local author Sheila Heti. Glouberman will be at the Holy Oak Cafe, reading from their book, The Chairs Are Where The People Go, on Saturday September 24th at 7:00pm, and you should all really, really come. It'll make your brain a better place, we promise!
How would you describe The Chairs Are Where The People Go to someone who hasn’t read it yet?
My friend, the writer Sheila Heti, had the idea to write a book of everything I know. We made a list of topics, and I would talk while she typed.
Tell us a bit about what you’re reading right now.
I am getting ready to teach a class in negotiation and communication skills at Hart House at U of T via the Barnicke Gallery, so I'm reading a lot of books to get ready for that class. Right now, I am reading Women Don't Ask, which is about the challenges women face as negotiators. I am also reading Science is Culture, which is a series of conversations between scientists and other notable people.
What was the first book you ever bought? Have you re-read it lately?
I think I probably a book on detective skills, targeted to boys under the age of 10 who were just getting started in the detective business. I have not had the need to refer to it, since, unfortunately, my own detective business failed to thrive.
Is there a book that you’ve read that you would really like to go back in time and un-read? Why was it so bad?
I'd say about half, if not more, of everything I read when I was in school. I think it's a bad thing to do to kids, to make them read so many books they don't want to read. Any book is bad if you don't want to read it.
Did you have a favourite book or story to have read to you as a child? What made it so special?
My father read The Hobbit to me, which I really enjoyed a lot.
What makes or breaks a live reading for you?
I'm still not totally sure what live readings are supposed to be for. I feel like the whole point of books is that you can hear what someone has to say without having to be in the same room as them. Readings seem like they sort of undo the reason books were invented.
You can choose one author to go out drinking with. Who do you pick, and where do you take them?
I assume they don't have to be alive anymore? Kurt Vonnegut always seemed like he'd have been a really nice person to spend time with. I'd like to go to his house. I don't like drinking in bars a lot anymore.
Is there one big, famous book that you feel like you really should have read already, but still haven’t?
I've read very very few big famous books. I generally don't feel too much regret about that, except when answering a survey like this.
What word do you love the most?
Based on usage: I say "Um" a lot. I'm not sure that's really a good definition of love.
What word do you absolutely despise?
When people use "decimate" to mean "reduce to next to nothing", it bugs me. It bugs me when people use the word "exponentially" incorrectly. It bugs me a little bit that they use the words wrong, but it bugs me a lot more that I care.
Photo: Lee Towndrow
Misha Glouberman and Sheila Heti have been friends and collaborators for ten years. They invented the Trampoline Hall Lecture Series together then wrote this book. Misha is a facilitator and games instructor. Sheila is a book writer. They live down the street from each other in Toronto.
You'll find the rest of our Meet The Authors here.