In a recent interview with Saturday Night, author W.P. Kinsella revealed information regarding a 1997 car accident which had not been mentioned in public until this month. In the interview, Kinsella spoke frankly about the accident and was cautiously optimistic about his future in fiction. While talking with the Carillon, W.P. was considerably less hopeful of the return of his creative forces.
CARILLON: What can you tell us about the car accident in 1997?
KINSELLA: Well, I was walking down the sidewalk and a fellow backed out of the driveway and hit me. A couple of steps forward and I would have been killed. Actually, he just brushed me and I went down on my tailbone and then on my head.
CARILLON: What effects are you suffering from it?
KINSELLA: I just lost my sense of concentration. A couple of times, Iıve been feeling very hopeful that I was going to get it back and Iıll do a day or two of editing, but I just canıt get back at it at all. You probably read the piece in Saturday Night. I was very hopeful when I did that interview. I had actually done a couple days of editing and was feeling quite good, but Iıve done virtually nothing since then. I donıt know - Iıve kind of gone from being a Type A to a Type B personality. Iıve always been on the edge - just go, go, go and now Iım not doing anything and I donıt care. (laughs)
CARILLON: One attribute of a Type A personality is a quick temper - one thing for which you have always been known. How has that changed?
KINSELLA: Iım not nearly as angry as I used to be, which is too bad because thatıs what drives you - or certainly what drove me. The thrill of saying ³I told you so² works very well. No, thatıs sort of gone by the boards also.
CARILLON: What is the difference between a typical Kinsella day before the accident and a typical day now?
KINSELLA: Well, I would get up about 7:30 in the morning and walk a mile or so to a restaurant, have breakfast and read the newspapers. Then I would come home and work for two or three or four hours. Now, I come home and answer the mail, have lunch and a nap, then get up and watch Law and Order. (laughs) And I donıt do much of anything else.
CARILLON: In Saturday night, you said you were writing book reviews. Is this simply to fill your time because you are not writing fiction?
KINSELLA: I do quite a few reviews, mainly for Publishers Weekly, something you donıt find in the bookstore. Itıs sort of the Bible of the book trade. Iıve done a few for Quill and Quire and I did one for the Globe and Mail a week or two ago. It gets me free books and I get to write a little book review and keep my name out in front of the public.
CARILLON: You worked at various jobs for a long time before starting university at thirty-four years of age and then becoming a professional author. Do you regret not having spent that time writing?
KINSELLA: Yeah, I would have like to have been writing then. I didnıt do anything in my twenties. I essentially wasted my twenties. I was working at evil jobs. I had a young family and had to keep food on the table. I would really like to have those ten productive years back.
CARILLON: Another result of the accident was a loss of your senses of smell and taste. Have these returned at all?
KINSELLA:Yeah, I lost my taste and smell which is really unpleasant. They say if it doesnıt come back in six months, it isnıt going to. It hasnıt at all. What we consider taste is 97% smell. The only thing you get from taste is sweet, salty, sour and bitter, so I get a sort of generic sweet taste. I donıt eat fruit anymore because oranges or apples are just a sickening, sickening sweet. Nothing else. Salty is not much different than it was before and I get a little bit of bitter and sour, but not much. I can sit and chomp a dill pickle, something I would never have dreamed of doing before. I would take a little slice of dill pickle on roast beef or something, but I can sit and eat one out of the jar now and get just a little bit of sour taste. Otherwise I donıt get anything. You learn to eat by texture. I get cravings for something, like Mexican food and Iıll get a nice plate of it and it all tastes like newspaper.
CARILLON: On your last book tour, you said nothing about the accident or how it affected your writing. Why did you choose to keep quiet and what changed your mind?
KINSELLA: Well we were waiting to see what was going to happen - whether we were going to take legal action or anything, so I didnıt say much about it at all until we decided that we would take legal action against the driver.
CARILLON: Can you tell us anything regarding the current status of the lawsuit filed in conjunction with the accident?
KINSELLA: (hesitates) We did a little bit of discovery and theyıre trying to paper us to death also. I donıt know whatıs going to happen. My guess would be that weıll eventually settle it without going to court but I donıt really know.
CARILLON: In a previous interview with the Carillon, you said ³life is hard and then you die² and youıve already said that again today. Has this pessimism arisen just since the accident?
KINSELLA: Thatıs always been my theory of life