Margaret Atwood in Maisonneuve

Oh, this made me laugh (and I’m still not one hundred percent certain it isn’t a parody). Matthew Fox interviews Margaret Atwood (whom I adore) for Maisonneuve. She’s a notoriously prickly interview subject — I once saw her practically eviscerate Evan Solomon with her hooded, dragon-lady eyes on TV — and Fox almost immediately lets it drop that he hasn’t read the full version of Moving Targets, the book they’re supposed to discuss. She momentarily bristles and then, once Fox tells her he’s got a collection of short stories coming out next year, she warms to him and begins, in a motherly way, to advise him on his book tour. There’s:

MA: Let me tell you how not to get a cold. Got a pencil?

MF: Yeah. I’m going to type it into my computer.

MA: At the first tickle, don’t wait any longer — at the first tickle. You need to travel with a product called Cold-fX.

MF: Cold-fX?

MA: fX. Stock up. It’s used by hockey players. It’s a Canadian product, it’s excellent. It’s very potent ginseng. At the first tickle, take three of those. At the same time, the Americans make a product called Zicam — Z-I-C-A-M — get some of those, take one of those. At the same time, there’s a French product called Corey-Zalium or Coldco. And Voiorn, V-O-I-O-R-N, Voiorn. Take that, too.

MF: All three of them at once?

MA: Also, get some of this stuff called Emergency; it comes in little packets. Have that, and then you travel with Fisherman’s Friend. These are for your readings. Before every one of your readings, have a Fisherman’s Friend.

MF: Love those.

MA: Your voice will wear out and then you’ll get a throat infection. The other thing you have to insist on is that they have a microphone. They will say, “Oh, we don’t need one,” but you do need one. They think of you only giving the reading once. But you’re doing it over and over.

MF: Of course. I’m typing all this down now.

MA: This regime has saved my life.

MF: Several times?

MA: Yes!

MF: I imagine that’s particularly true for travelling internationally, having to do readings internationally.

MA: It doesn’t matter. People in Saskatchewan have germs you don’t have.

MF: That’s true.


MA: If you have a funny story, read the funny story last.

MF: So people remember?

MA: So that people don’t get the idea that the whole thing is funny and then laugh at the unfunny parts.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.