Tag Archives: literature

The Stone Angel

TravelManitoba

I remember being asked to read The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence back in high school. It was one of the many wonderful books that our English teacher used to try to infuse some humanity into our young minds. I don’t remember the story much, but I do remember the parallels between the old character in the book and the ultimate fate of Margaret Laurence. It’s like she literally became one of the characters she wrote about. I really should look into the Manawaka series again.

Speaking of Manawaka, my works will be displayed in the town it was based on, Neepawa, Manitoba.  When I used to go camping and hiking with my best friend, I remember visiting there once. Here in Asia, when people think of Canada, the first places that come out of people’s mouths are Toronto and Vancouver. But when they describe Canada, they would often imagine a place much closer to towns like Neepawa.

I love big cities like Vancouver and Ottawa, and even smaller ones like Winnipeg, but it is smaller rural towns cradling close to liberated Canadian wilderness that most people here in Asia often imagine. It is in many ways romantic. I guess like me, that image is mostly from the desire to escape from convoluted concrete jungles like Seoul.

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Could be Tomorrow

Lungs

I’m off to Vietnam this week. I don’t know much about the country and its beautiful people, so I’ll talk about The Handmaid’s Tale instead. What a wonderful, wonderful adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s work (a Canadian treasure)! Good job, Hulu! What’s really interesting about the book and the show itself is that if there’s ever a more apt book to adapt for the times, it’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Being a work of “speculative fiction,” much like books like The Road or Blindness, it doesn’t need much fantasy in order for something to become our reality. In the case of The Handmaid’s Tale, religion and military dictatorship just needs to marry together, something which humanity has experimented with several times before.

And it’s not like we’re that far off from Ms. Atwood’s fiction. The world is becoming more and more militaristic. Many countries’ police officers are starting to look more like military forces. There’s a loud growing movement of conservatism with their adherence to religious dogma and a distrust of science and news media. And more and more, dictatorial rule seems to be coming back into fashion with many people blindly supporting strong men. Even my father pines for the days of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law and praises the likes of Duterte. The show did a great job of incorporating current trends and technology and making it part of the narrative. It almost screams at the viewers, “this could be you! You’d better do something about it” It’s not enough that we trust our collective goodness as a society. Our hubris, our confidence that several others will do good despite of our inaction, will lead to our eventual downfall. I’d like to believe more Americans are sensible, and yet Donald Trump and his ilk run the country. I was impressed at how friendly, welcoming, and seemingly sensible everyone was the last time I visited the Philippines, but they’re the same people who would deny their neighbors are being killed for their vices, even if it happens almost every day. My workplace is surrounded by people who yearn for the days of dictatorial rule in Korea.

It is scary. It really wouldn’t take much.

 

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The longest death (is not so bad)

Triumph

Sometimes nothing happens except for me making art. And that’s what I consider a fairly good week.

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Lightning Alley

beer

Writing poetry…

The bead curtain rattles, Sally’s skirt sways.
She does a jig on the porch like I was hallucinating
As the CD player plays.
Bob Dylan rambles about the depressed,
He sounds like he’s singing about me, and I only want Sally.
Don’t send me back to my apartment,
I don’t want to watch Frasier re-runs tonight.
Don’t go inside as well,
You know exactly why I came here.
I know you’re terrified and know
That you’re almost forty
But you should believe in this drug that I’m on.
You’re not that pretty but you would do,
And that’s okay for the time being.
You can cower in your blankie
And cross-examine whatever’s making you ill
And you can make ornaments out of your exes,
Throw daisies when it’s pouring out,
Wasting your holiday break praying
For some decent fellow to come out of the neighborhood
I’m not that guy, everyone knows
All I could offer is my mediocre body
Underneath this sweat-stained hoodie
With the small likelihood that we could live to retirement
But what else is there?
Just open the window wide open
And let the Saskatchewan air mess up your hair.
Tonight is full of possibilities
And the road in front of your house goes both ways
We only have one chance in our lives
So ditch everything and get inside my Dodge Stratus.
Can we hold hands? I could drive one-handed.
We’re going to the land of Abraham
Via Lightning Alley
It’s right there, like John Wayne Gacy at large.
The clock says 2:00 am but we should book it.
Via Lightning Alley. Let’s go.
Via Lightning Alley.

Of course this is all a goof. I submitted this to a poetry Webzine, wondering whether they’d catch it or not. But now I don’t know… maybe they like Bruce Springsteen too.

 

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Ideas Cages Fired by Former Beatle

Bird_cage

I dreamt Sir Paul McCartney fired me for failing to properly proofread a book. That book being the encyclopedia, specifically the book under M. Granted, I assume I must’ve learned quite about from topics under A to M, but I woke up quite the sting, being fired by a knight and former Beatle.

2014 so far: I lost one of my clients because his company will no longer pay for my services. He admits that my services are far too costly to be coming out of his pocket so that was it. Just like that, I’m $400 a month poorer. Doctors also found that my right thyroid is a bit enlarged, so I’m being observed for hyperthyroidism or malignant cysts. So far, the bloodwork says everything is normal, but my cholesterol is a bit high. Ugh, not a great year. Though I’m not really at my most optimistic since I update my Website on Mondays.

IDEA: If this has been done before, let me know. Viewer/player/reader receives an envelope containing three articles: a newspaper article, an initial autopsy, and an interview from a witness. Five questions about the information follows. Getting four questions right leads to another envelope with more information (maybe another report from a different precinct, a detective agency, etc.). This leads to five more questions, etc. where the difficulty is raised and the person is not just asked to repeat facts but to piece together information. Getting questions wrong and not getting the next envelope leads to the wrong person getting arrested and the perpetrator getting away. The last question is who did it and what happened.

I’m thinking of cases similar to the Elisa Lam case, where a Canadian student was found drowned in a hotel water tank with no evidence of foul play and with footage of her talking to an invisible stranger in the hotel elevator.

So far, the idea sounds like a fun thing to do in a classroom. Students get together in groups, gets to discuss the facts, then answer the questions. They get them right, then they move on, etc. I’m wondering if there’s a way that would make the chore of answering questions a little more fun so that the viewer/player/reader doesn’t have to be confined in a classroom. The Letters of John and Abigail Adams (http://www.amazon.com/The-Letters-John-Abigail-Adams/dp/0142437115) sounds like a good template… perhaps mixed with a bit of Choose Your Own Adventure, but I don’t know how that would all work.

Just trying to find a way to write creatively and perhaps turn that idea into a product.

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