Shameless: Stacey May Fowles

By Tammy Thorne
Photo by Rebecca Baran

Originally published in dandyhorse Volume 3, Issue 2, September 2010. Subscribe to dandyhorse today and get free online access to the September 2010 issue plus the rest of our back catalog.

Stacey May Fowles, novelist, public brat, former publisher of Shameless magazine, director of circulation and marketing at The Walrus.

How do you keep so many projects on the go? Does cycling help you stay on time and stay energized?

I always think of cycling as “accidental exercise.” I’m not a big fan of gym classes or Booty Camps, so I like the fact that I can trick myself into staying fit by just getting to work. Also, having the forced alone non-work time on a bike keeps me sane when there’s way too many meetings and the deadlines pile up. Cycling gives me the time to organize my brain, or even better, think about absolutely nothing.

What are you working on now?

I’m in the process of finishing my third novel, which hopefully will be done by the fall. After my collaborative book project with artist Marlena Zuber, it’s interesting and challenging to be working on my own again. Writing a novel is always an exercise in trusting myself. You’d think a writer gets to a point where they say, “Yeah, I know how to do this,” but every time I write anything I feel like I’m starting over, learning everything again. Writing a novel with a full-time day job [at The Walrus] is pretty new to me – with other books I was freelancing or working part-time. While being able to eat food and pay rent is really nice, I miss the freedom of writing when the mood strikes me. You get used to it, learn to schedule things better, but I do have some irrational moments where I want to gamble it all just to write 24/7. Truth is, I think doing something other than writing some of the time can be healthy. Like any relationship, you need time apart.

How was working with long-time dandyhorse contributor Marlena Zuber?

Marlena is the most awesome person I’ve ever worked with. Working on Fear of Fighting with her was me being a neurotic writer and her being extremely accommodating and flexible. In the end, that book is what it is because she made it look fantastic.

Tell us about Shameless.

Shameless is a true labour of love for everyone involved. We all really believe there needs to be a viable alternative to the mainstream for teen girls, and they volunteer their time, skills and resources to make sure it happens. Now more than ever girls need a fresh, honest, non-patronizing alternative to the media that bombards them with negative messages all day long; something that makes them feel good about themselves and their abilities. I’m proud to have been a part of that alternative
for the last four years.

Do you think there should be congestion fees for motorists driving into the downtown core of Toronto (like they have in London, England)?

I really, perhaps naively, believe that as soon as we make healthier transportation options convenient and accessible to people
who live outside the city, drivers will get on board.

What street would you like to see a separated Montreal-style bike lane on in Toronto?

A bike lane on Queen would change my life. But I think rather than a bike lane, I’d want bike-only streets in more residential parts of the city. I know it’s a pipe dream, but a bike-only route to work would be fantastic.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done on a bike?

Nothing I can share here. I’m trying to become a more responsible, less reckless cyclist every day – and a responsible, non-reckless adult in general. Baby steps.

Have you ever ridden in heels?

I wish I was that kind of lady, but I can barely even walk in heels. It’s pretty common to find flip-flops in my purse.

Toronto would be a better place if...

Small, independent bookstores could thrive and we had a better mayoral candidate.

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