Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Newfoundland Space

Ecology versus Development in Witless Bay (The Telegram).

I've often thought that traditional outport Newfoundland ideas of space are at odds with legal and commercial definitions of property that originate elsewhere. In Newfoundland, how space can be used and who can use it doesn't follow the atomistic individualism of post-World War II North America. That said, the "old way" also holds that a man can build a house wherever he wants, if the land's unclaimed and not in use. 'Zoning' a space to protect it from development is just as alien an idea as the modern suburban housing development.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

glass floor

I apologize for the lack of posts. Blogger was in read-only.

I'm fond of the CN Tower, but it's strange. It's a retro-futurist artefact. It's what people forty years ago thought the future would be like. It emits mind control rays.

I've been a student in Toronto for some time and haven't visited. I went up on a family trip when I was seven. I vaguely remember the view, the mist from Niagara Falls in the distance. I'd like to go again and stand on the glass floor. I think I'd be fine, but I won't be sure until I do it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The universe observing itself

Since I was old enough to understand how the human body works, I've been amazed by it. The transmission of nervous signals from brain to muscle, telling a hand how to play a piano, translating the player's cognition into physical movement, her or his understanding of the notes that need to be played and how the hand can go about playing them. A feedback loop of alterations in the physical universe and thought directing and responding to those changes.

People who say science robs the universe of mystery and wonder are wrong. The more I learn, the more awe I feel.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sympathy is the dangerous necessity

"That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps ours frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well-wadded with stupidity." - George Eliot

This quote both renews my sensitivity and forgives my lack of it.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Garbage, a band lead by self-proclaimed supervixen Shirley Manson, was key to the development of my sexuality as a teen. I'm wondering how similar slinky/damaged/dark sexualities might exist in today's popular music.

Pop has always been about sex, but much of it in the 90's represented a coy, normative sexuality. Now, much of pop's sexuality is quite explicit and raw, striking an alternative pose.

Conversely, I can think of no music more blandly asexual than the mainstream rock of the previous five years. Where would a song like this come from, today? Could it come from anywhere?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

to read oneself

A story has returned from an unsuccessful sally into the world. For months, it only existed, for me, in memory. Physically, the story went somewhere and is now returned. Intellectually, the opposite has occurred.

It's not to be a stranger reading the story fresh. I recognize the words as my own. I've been thinking about the story and these characters for months.

I find a section that's thin, though I remember it as richly drawn. I realize I didn't take the story where it needed to go. I chickened out in the hardest scene. I imposed an ending. These truths come clear.

Friday, May 6, 2011

yet another dichotomy

Guess culture versus Ask culture seems to have originated from an Ask Metafilter comment, but it has since received the blessing of the mainstream media, so I suppose it's a 'real thing.' I think it's an interesting way of thinking about the assumptions that underlie our daily interactions.

I immediately identified myself primarily as a 'Guesser,' and I wanted to make some small intelligent comment about it. But all my brain can does is find silly ways to valorize 'Guess culture.' Like: "it makes a person a better literary scholar, because you're looking for nuance and paying attention to underlying assumptions."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What one once knew how to do

When I was 18 I did my 9th grade in piano from the Royal Conservatory. I didn't go for Grade 10 but I learned some pieces for it. I was as good at piano as I wanted to be.

10 years later, my fingers feel slow and stupid. I can plow through Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, but I do it by force, not finesse.

It'd come back if I practised. I don't have time. I sit at the piano occasionally like I've woken from a wonderful dream and am trying to fall back asleep, hoping it'll continue, knowing it won't.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

thoughts in preparation for a story

A married woman with several children goes alone to South America with a Christian group. She stays there for years and sends postcards home. The group is fundamentalist. Her family doesn't share those beliefs. The postcards are ridiculous but she is probably not aware of it.

Why did she join this group? What made her leave? Did she try to convert her husband or children before leaving? I imagine she slipped away without letting them know. I imagine her son's faith being killed entirely. Her mother dumped him for Jesus: that could make a person hate Jesus with unswerving fidelity.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The eve of something

I was 18 when it happened. Almost a dozen of us crowded into a residence room. We saw the towers falling live on this cheap TV set.

That night the residence's atmosphere was strange. Charged. Some took a ghoulish relish (we were so young). Not in the deaths that'd happened, but in the soon-to-comes. "It's world war three!" Eyes shining.

And now tonight I see people crow about a blood vendetta fulfilled.

bin Laden wasn't the Borg Queen. The things that create terrorists (poverty, oppression, etc) are still at large in the world. We have a head on a pike.