Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:32 PM
But, like that kid who repeatedly gets his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole, I couldn't stay away. The issue that drew me back into the fray is a post on The Writers Union of Canada's press release about the civic strike here in Vancouver. First, someone made an ill-informed statement about TWUC's supposed lack of support for their striking brethren. George Murray pointed out that TWUC isn't a "real union" and I pointed out that there was no lack of support and that, in a press release, it's far more strategically sound not to explicitly take a side, so as to avoid polarising the issue and alienating people's sympathies. (Were I in their position, I would have done the same. Fortunately, I'm not, so I can alienate people's sympathies as much as I want...) So far, so good. But then Zsuzsi (presumably Gartner, but it makes no difference really) contributes a long, articulately emotional post about how the work stoppage has affected the city and her family. Which she then goes and stomps all over (see "sense of entitlement" and "petty, self-absorbed lot" above) by saying this:
And, let’s face it, the “sanitation workers,” for example, make more an hour than any of us writers could hope to. A starting wage for a garage collector is even more than I get an hour teaching part-time at UBC at the graduate level. I know it’s “not about the money” as they say — but, come on, it’s always about the money.
Clearly, for Zsuzsi, at any rate, it's about the money. Moreover, it's about resentment that someone in an "unskilled" trade is making more than she is for the valuable contribution she makes to society teaching people how to write fiction. Look at the phrasing here: "starting wage"; "even more"--like, can you believe it? Isn't that atrocious (cue the application of the back of the hand to the backtilted brow). Okay, I'm being a mite sarcastic, but I do sympathise with Zsuzsi's plight. I have a lot of friends who work as sessional instructors at universities, and altho many of them are exceptionally good teachers, they are used and abused and generally treated as a caste below the "real professors" who have tenure and do research and all that good stuff. The treatment of part-time staff in relation to tenured faculty is a serious issue. But in relation to garbage collectors??? Jesus. Zsuzsi, I'm sorry your job sucks, but that doesn't mean that people should simply be satisfied with what they've got and go back to work because you make a pittance at UBC. Boohoo. The ultimate test, to me, of this apples-and-oranges nonsense is this: would you trade places with the trash collector to get his wage instead of yours. If you wouldn't, then just maybe they deserve what they make. I'd love to have a train-engineer's salary (circa $120K/year) and I could have it, if I trained for the job (there's a massive shortage of qualified engineers in this country, which is only going to get worse as the aging corps starts retiring in droves). But I don't want that lifestyle. It's a tradeoff I'm not willing to make and as Nathan Whitlock points out in the Bookninja discussion "I feel very lucky to have the privilege to choose to make a terrible wage in the cultural sector, and am more than happy to have people doing shit work that I don’t want to do make more than me per hour. I call it a trade-off." So let 'em have it. Ditto lawyers, ditto doctors, ditto UBC professors. Ditto sanitation engineers (altho it's a career path I've contemplated in the past--cause, you know, the money's good...).
As much as the citizens of Vancouver are suffering as a result of this strike, the people who have lost the most are the workers on the line. And the people who have saved the most are the citizens of Vancouver, or at least their proxy, the City Council. Every day and week the strike goes on, the workers lose more and the city saves more. Which is why we've seen none of the strike-breaking legislation that has become the too-typical norm in our neo-liberal age.
So anyway, I told Zsuzsi I thought her concluding "argument" was sickening. Which pissed off someone pretty good:
Zsuzsi was merely stating basic undeniable facts ... very relevantly on a site that is frequented by writers, not too many of whom are likely also Heroic and Sweaty members of the Labouring-TrainWorkingclass such as yourself.
Very relevantly? Relevant to writers, I suppose, but scarcely relevant to the topic at hand, particularly considering that garbage collectors are but one group--albeit a prominent one, given the stink of rotting refuse in the streets and parks--in this dispute. Is the only way to make something politically relevant to writers to bring it back to their own wealth and welfare? This does seem to be a leitmotif on Bookninja, so maybe so. But it only underscores the gross, unfair generalisations I make above. Zsuzsi was making a good point and making it well--right up to the point at which she moaned about how good the garbage guys have it compared to her. Maybe, given a do-over, she'd have the sense and decency to revise her post and cut those two offensive final paragraphs. She's a good writer, so there's reason to believe this. We'll see if she has anything else to say.
"JS" goes on:
I could go on to jerk your ignorant speculation about the strike out of context and pretend you’re advocating for back-to-work legislation (wouldn’t your Working Brothers in Solidarity love to hear that?), kind of like your cheap distortion of Zsuzsi’s comments as “don’t tell me about how good they have it, okay?”/“that shit,” but that wouldn’t be diplomatic… or tactful.
Actually, no you couldn't JS, but no matter. The only distortion he does perpetrate is that I was sickened by all of what Zsuzsi said--when I made it clear it was only the end of her statement that stank. What she said was shit and there was a very strong implication (see, again, the emphases she places on "starting" and "even more") that she deserved more than they do. This is not a wacky reading of her statement, it's the only reading of it she allows.
In typical Bookninja fashion (referring here to the site's commenting readers, not its admin), some anonymous dipshit in the peanut gallery told me to "put my leash on." Harharhar. So many arguments have been derailed over there by this kind of passive-aggressive name-calling crap. What the hell is your argument exactly, "Anonymous Donor"? That I'm a dog? Good one, shithead. Sorry, just talkin' to ya on your level...
And now, once more, I'm taking Sieur de Montaigne's counsel and swearing off arguing with idiots.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Zsuzsi responded intelligently to me on Bookninja and conceded that her point about the garbage collectors wasn't quite on the money, as it were. I say not surprisingly because I've heard her on the radio, read her reviews and I know she appreciates a good argument. Unlike this JS character, who, like other shrill shrews on Bookninja, was reduced to even more petulant name-calling. Perhaps JS's most stunning coup-de-grace is this:
Anyway, thanks for your insightful and creative translation of those three sentences into “disgusting crabs-in-a-bucket cliché,” “a great deal of snobbery, ressentiment [what?] and self-entitlement,” “shit,” “tell[ing] me about how good they have it,” and “whatever garbagemen make, it should be less than me, on principle.”
The "[what?]" is his/her editorial insertion, implying I suppose that I made up this word, or misspelled it or something, a pretty cheap tactic to try and discredit an argument, even if it's accurate. It's not, in this case. All this proves is that s/he's not only ignorant of the term in question, but also doesn't know how to use google. Go home, JS, you suck at this game. Nahnahnahnah-nahnahnahnah-hey-hey-hey-goo-ood-bye.
Because Zsuzsi isn't an idiot--just a little naive about labour relations--I did respond to her. What I forgot to say in my response is that, just like there are lots of writers and teachers who think they should be earning more than garbage collectors, there are lots of blue-collar workers who think they should be making more than teachers. There are also lots of people who think that writers are self-important narcissists. So what? Nul point. Here's what I do know: with all the extra garbage--er, recycling?--being generated by CW programmes, we need good trash disposal more than ever.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:29 AM
Friday, September 28, 2007
I lost my rhyming dictionary;
I think I left it on the car-boat.
I need my rhyming dictionary
Like a muskox needs its fur-pelt.
Thanks to my ma for telling me about this!
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:21 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I've been pretty lucky in the grant lottery to-date. I've applied for five and received three. My last three, in fact, have been successful. But it's a crapshoot. I just hope that this jury likes weird poems about silverfish, starfish, moths, lobsters, cats, dogs, herons, lyrebirds, naked mole rats, colourblind painters and other critters, more or less human. And if they don't, well then my grant app for next year's already written!
Now, I've just got five books to read and review, an anthology to finish editing, a poetry ms. to edit and three more trips to Winnipeg before I get laid off and can get down to some serious work. Yeehaw.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:58 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 11:54 PM
But then, there is something most puzzling at the end: a lengthy letter to the editor from David Solway, complaining about the review of his "non-fiction" book The Big Lie. It should be noted that David Solway is an editor at BiC, so to have his book reviewed in its pages is ethically dubious; to complain publicly about the content of that review is harebrained. This isn't the first time that Solway's shot himself in the foot by complaining about content in BiC in BiC's own letters page; I'm beginning to suspect that he suffers from some sort of dissociative disorder. It should also be noted that the reviewer is a right-wing Zionist intellectual (probably hand-picked by Solway's right-wing Zionist co-editors because one might suppose such a figure to be sympathetic to Solway's cause), but Solway manages to rationalise away Clifford Orwin's objections to his book by saying that he, along with just about everyone who is not David Solway--with the probable exception of Mark Steyn--, "just doesn't get it." Um, Dave, maybe it's you, bud.
This me-against-the-world shtick was mildly amusing--harmless, at least--when Solway was talking about poetry. In the realm of politics, it's much less funny. Solway should stick to what he's good at--writing mostly dull books of poetry in the voices of cleverly created personae (see my above suspicions of a dissociative disorder)--and leave political thought to those with political minds.
(Thanks to Lynda P. for the tip on the visuals!)
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 11:22 AM
Monday, September 24, 2007
(To the best of my knowledge this is the second time I've been quoted on a dust jacket, the other instance being on John Smith's latest book, Maps of Invariance. As some readers of CLM know, I have an intense distaste for the blurb qua literary sub-genre, but one can't prevent someone else quoting you. In the cases of Smith and Johnston, I was pleased to find out I'd been quoted, since I genuinely admire both poets' work and the excerpt was in tune with my overall opinion. But I've also been quoted in publisher publicity bumph, completely out of context, an ellipsis eliding the true substance of my commentary. Specifically, this review got boiled down to "a linguistic tour de force." This is dirty pool and it's the sort of thing that makes reviewers paranoiacally cautious about where and how they dispense praise, lest it come back on them in some kind of mutant form.)
I love the idea of the "Essentials" series that the Porcupine's Quill has inaugurated with this book. I've been arguing for a while that we need more of such slim, tight-focus looks at our best poets. Wilfrid Laurier UP has started a somewhat similar series, but theirs is more academic in orientation and thus far their choices of poets and/or poems have been underwhelmingly predictable or just plain strange (tho I'm glad to see that M. Travis Lane is being included).
Johnston was a consummate craftsman and a few of his poems are as fine as any other lyrics of the last century. Sincerity and irony, humour and seriousness in Johnston's work are perfectly balanced, and there's just the right synchronic tension between spontaneity of syntactical invention and intricacy of formal stanzaic and metrical structures, public speech and private feeling. I haven't re-read the selection in this book yet, but given that Robyn has made it, I reckon it'll be pretty damn good; there are few if any critics or poets better attuned to Johnston and his world than she is. I have read her introduction, which is eloquent and appropriately brief. Anyone interested in a longer treatment of Johnston's work by her would do well to check out her book Little Eurekas, in which is included a substantial essay on Johnston.
There's a quote from Johnston in the biographical afterword: "I am not so much a poet as a teacher and a family man who has been lucky enough to write some acceptable poems." The modesty is wholly credible from this particular poet--and typically deceptive, since "acceptable poem" means a lot more coming from someone of GJ's standards than it does from most. My aunt had the good fortune to take a class of Johnston's in Old English at Carleton U. She once told me the story of a student in that class asking GJ why he didn't teach Creative Writing, since he was such a good poet. "Why," he replied, "I do!" Lovely. In his introduction to Endeared by Dark, GJ inveighs against CW; it's hard to imagine there ever being a place in the workshop-driven industry for a poet of his skills, erudition and preoccupations. One can easily imagine his students complaining that they're being made to work--instead of having their formless emotings fiddled with and rubber-stamped as art. George Johnston did not follow trends, and his verse should endure all the better for it. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of this book or, should you want a more substantial serving, Endeared by Dark, if you can get a hold of it.
UPDATE: Hear me read George Johnston's Veterans
An essay by WJ Keith on Johnston's later poetry
A memorial essay by Stephen Morrissey
Amanda Jernigan on GJ's "Firefly Evening"
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:12 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2007
- People in tour groups disgust me.
- The train was late, but we saw an awesome hailstorm/double rainbow in Jasper because of it.
- I got The Essential George Johnston in the mail while I was gone. You should read it; I even say so on the back cover. That and his Endeared by Dark. (Amazon doesn't seem to have it so order from your local bookshop or used from Abebooks.)
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:12 PM
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Afterwards, we stopped by for a tour of Adam's house, met his dog and headed back downtown, where George and I had a pint at his hotel and shot the shit for a bit before retiring to our respective employer-paid accommodations. It was good to see George. He's largely responsible for instigating my ventures into public writing, having, through Bookninja, introduced my poems to Paul Vermeersch at Insomniac and my opinionations to Carmine Starnino. So if you're looking for someone to blame...
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 8:14 PM
Had possibly my busiest trip of the summer coming here. Certainly the most sales I've made in a trip. Some very nice folks on board. Sold a copy of Unsettled to a couple from Kamloops whose son writes. That's two trips in a row I've moved a book. I'm gonna have to start carrying more than one copy with me.
Tired out now, time for a long hard nap.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 11:29 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I'm off on the rails today, with a layover in Winnipeg on Thursday. Still trying to get caught up on editing work, but I might post a thing or two. Stay tuned!
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:29 AM
Monday, September 17, 2007
I'll be posting more about this down the line, closer to the book's release.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 12:14 PM
Gord Declerq, my former cargo colleague in Iqaluit and Resolute Bay (in the territory of Nunavut in Canada's Arctic, for anyone scratching their heads) has made a few short films about the place. Here's one about Resolute Bay, with the local sword-wielding weather dude playing a key role. The screaming monkey man is the guy who replaced me when I left. No one else applied.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:06 AM
This is good for a laugh.
Shine on, you crazy diamonds.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:21 AM
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Not a big crowd, but an interesting mix of people. Besides writers (myself, Rachel, Lynda Philippsen and the newly Vancouverised Sonnet L'Abbé), there was a songwriter/musician (Eden Fineday--lead singer of the band Vancougar--who lives across the street from us) and a comic actor (Trevor Campbell of Obscene but not Heard--whose show "Jihad Me at Hello" is playing at the Vancouver Fringefest--who came to the party as the guest of Rachel's friend Val), as well as two people not directly involved in the arts (the aforementioned Val and Eden's partner Devin). At one point the topic of reviews came up in general conversation. Sonnet, Lynda and I all do quite a bit of reviewing and we all favour a policy of honesty over niceness. Which often feels like a minority position in the writing world. What was interesting to me was what Trevor and Eden had to say. Trevor's received a full spectrum of reviews over his career, from "brilliant" to "you shouldn't be on stage," and said that the only ones he really doesn't like are the lukewarm reviews. Similarly, Eden said she loved reading really negative music reviews. Granted, these are only two people, but still I think it says something about the review culture in writing compared with other art forms; it didn't even seem like it was a controversial issue. Maybe it has something to do with non-practitioners doing more theatre and music reviews. Or maybe it just has to do with most writers being cry-babies...
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 3:14 PM
Fenton's one of the foremost living poetry critics and it's wonderful to see him turning his attention to poetry as performance and not just as text. I agree with most everything he says here, but it smacks of wishful thinking; I have to wonder where the impetus for these predicted changes is supposed to come from. In order to have better reading series we need to have better impresarios. And the job is a pretty thankless one and certainly not a remunerative one, which makes it unlikely that the best possible people might step up. As it is, most hosts are pretty indiscriminate, and many will host readers whose work they don't even like. In my 6 or so years of doing readings, I think I've only actually been turned down for a reading I've asked about/applied for twice. It would be nice to think that this success rate is a reflection of the quality of my work and/or my rep as a reader--but it would also be false. It's just really easy to get readings. Which has been of some benefit to me personally, but on the whole it's led to the poetry reading being a rather dubious form of entertainment. Most funded series are little better than open mics.
There are a few ambitious and highly selective hosts out there. David O'Meara is one. Dave's a very smart guy and one of the best poets in the country, so that's no big surprise. But I bet that part of it is that he's an employee of the Manx Pub, where he hosts his readings. This has to lead to a heightened sense of accountability, I would think.
Failing the emergence of a guild of great hosts, poets themselves can do something about this. Being better prepared and more organized is something that anyone can do on their own. But how about replacing some of the multitude of poetry writing workshops out there with poetry reading workshops? I don't think I've ever seen such a thing. Maybe it's time for it.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 1:33 PM
Friday, September 14, 2007
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 1:25 AM
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
DS: As an artist, and someone who has achieved greatness in my field of writing, I have noticed that ‘greatness’ is something that simply seems to be a random thing. When people have tried to make available the sperm or eggs of Nobel winners or Mensans, the kids turn out to be rather average. This gibes with the fact that almost all great people, such as Picasso, Newton, Einstein, and most famously- Thomas Jefferson, have never had any forebears nor descendents come close to their achievements. And the few famed people who’ve had success run in their families- the Adamses, the Darwins, the Barrymores, have never really had greats in their clans, or- as in the Darwin case, Erasmus was not in a league with his grandson Charles. I call this fact the Infinity Spike, meaning that the idea that a Master Race could be engineered- at least intellectually, is folly. Perhaps physical characteristics, but the chances of two Mensans or Nobel Laureates producing another Michelangelo or Kurosawa are only negligibly greater than such a person coming from a plumber and a teacher. Perhaps a three or four out of fifty million chance versus a one and a half to two chance. In short, greatness spikes toward infinity out of nowhere- there is no predictable Bell Curve nor progression toward excellence. What are your thoughts on this posit? Also, what of false modesty? Just as I have stated I am a great writer/poet, and been ripped for it, you have taken massive attacks and distortions (such as that above) because you have stated similar things about yourself, and claimed philosophic descent from other well known thinkers. What’s wrong with people who claim to want honesty, but get ruffled over it if that honesty includes someone admitting their excellence at some task? Is this American Puritanism, or simple schizophrenia?
DD: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not shy about putting forward my ideas and the arguments for them, but I leave the value judgments about “great people” to others. Jerks can come up with really good ideas, and there are people I admire no end but have learned next to nothing from. This is not a fruitful topic of inquiry, I think.
How does this clown get these major figures to talk to him? I'm glad they do, anyway--great entertainment value.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 11:43 AM
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 12:27 AM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
We arrived in Winnipeg 4 hours late, thanks to mechanical problems with a freight train ahead of us, putting us in just before the westbound train arrived. Normally, this would mean that working back to Vancouver would be optional for me (this was source of my mini-conflict with management a while back), but due to my employer's unofficial policy of hiring insufficient staff, they had no one to replace the Vancouver-based crew, so we all worked back at time-and-a-half--better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but then, so's a poke in the eye with a blunt stick... Yesterday was my birthday, so I think I'll buy myself something nice with the extra dough. I was too tired and disgruntled to do my job with any energy on Sunday, but was back to my shmoozy self yesterday and had some good exchanges with passengers. Also found out that one of my co-workers--who I had a strange sense of having seen/known in a past life--was in residence at the U of King's College while I was there. We didn't know each other, but it being a small school knew a lot of the same people. He was working in journalism in Halifax, but got sick of it and moved to Vancouver, where he became a flight attendant for an airline that promptly folded after its CEO was "caught with crack and crack whores" on East Hastings. Then he switched to work on the train (my co-worker, not the CEO!).
It didn't affect me directly, but there was some high drama on the way home when a man, while taking a shower, suddenly started bleeding from an artery in his lower leg. Three of my colleagues administered first aid while the engineers called an ambulance and the Service Manager coordinated logistics. The guy lost a couple pints of blood (apparently it was just spurting out, as is typical of arterial bleeds), but the paramedics complimented the staff on their excellent work. On the odd occasion when I've been on shift for a medical or other sort of emergency, I've had this experience of the training just kicking in. You never want to have it tested, but it's nonetheless fortifying when you handle a tough situation well. Passengers who were aware of the incident were very impressed with how it was handled.
Arrived this morning completely exhausted and had a long nap this aft. Looking forward to getting some editorial work done over the next few days.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:18 PM
Friday, September 7, 2007
If there's a lesson to be learned from the Great Hunger, which was caused by economics as much as it was by blight, it's that reliance on--addiction to--a monoculture is FUCKING STUPID. Particularly when that monocultural product is low in nutritional value and hard on the soil, never mind more modern worries about pesticides killing fish and causing cancer and other diseases in humans. Potato farmers do massive damage to PEI, ploughing their fields too close to streams and cliff edges (contributing greatly to the rapid shrinking of the Island's total surface area) and too late in the year, leaving the potato-impoverished topsoil to blow off in a fine cinammon dust you can see garnishing snowbanks all around fields ploughed in the fall. (The argument for fall ploughing tends to boil down to "my father did it and his father before him and it didn't do no harm then"--which also tends to be the rationale for how many Islanders vote.) All in the name of keeping Bud the Spud rollin' down the highway smilin', dimwits like George Webster in office and the Cavendish Farms plant belching out those yummy-yummy french fry exhaust fumes.
UPDATE: This just in from my ma:
You didn't mention this directly, but we had two huge fish kills this summer, wiping out the Dunk and the Wilmot Rivers - all the breeding population of trout and salmon gone, and of course most of the other organisms that constitute riparian ecology. The biologists surveying the dead fish said they didn't even know there were fish that big in the system. One of the farmers charged - the brother (and business partner) of our George Webster. You're a bit wrong though on the nutritional value of potatoes - they are pretty good food (grown organically of course) - with protein, vitamin C and minerals.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:42 AM
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Bukowski gets typed as the poet of callow young men, and his books are often shoplifted by them. But it was my good friend Ananda who first introduced me to his poetry and I've met a few women with sense and smarts enough not to dismiss the writing because of the "misogynistic" persona of many poems and stories. That said, a lot--a helluva lot--of the writing deserves to be dismissed. He was damn near indiscriminate (tho the flow of voluminous posthumous works suggests that he held back more than we might have imagined) and missed much more often than he hit. Reading Bukowski, like reading Irving Layton, can be a bit like panning for gold in a muddy creek. But the paydirt makes it worth the trouble. Also, the "Beat" label isn't really apposite. He may have been writing at the same time as the Beats, and been "beat" in his lifestyle, but I don't see much to link his writing to Kerouac or Ginsberg. He's really, as he's jokingly observed himself, more in tune with the spirit of Villon than with Walt Whitman or William Blake.
What's really needed now that the stream of potshumous crap has apparently run dry is a very well-edited selected of about 200 pages--an unassailable canon of Bukowski. A big job for the jack or jill who'd undertake it.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:22 PM
When I got back, I had to deal with the dual stomach-knotting frustrations of internet tech support and the interpretation of ambiguous Ikea graphic assembly instructions. Finally, got the internet working and the furniture (for Rachel's office) assembled. Water damage aside, the place is really looking sharp now. I love my office. I've had workspace in broom closets before, so this 100 sq. ft. room with big window and French doors feels downright decadent. Looking forward to a winter of diligent quasi-literary pursuits.
And tonight, Rachel got a job. She's going to be teaching a night course to ESL students, which will allow her to substitute teach during the days. She's still waiting to hear back on her applications to local school boards.
I'm off on the rails again tomorrow, a non-layover trip. I've heard that traffic is up in September. It was busy in May, too. Ironically, the "shoulder" seasons, with their lower rates, have been busier on the rails than the putative peak. Why they don't just lower their peak rates is beyond me. Too busy trying to pretend they're a real business, I guess. I wish we could just agree that this is a service worth subsidizing and have done with it. Maybe charge different rates for Canuck taxpayers than for foreigners? Why not? It's such an awesome way to see the country, it's a pity that, at the best time of the year, it's prohibitively expensive for most people to travel in the most comfortable way.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:30 PM
Just learned that one of the most overrated bores in Canadian poetry, the Black Mountain disciple George Bowering, will be the Canuck member of the Griffin Prize jury, continuing the prize's trend of making past nominees future judges. Not much hope for a good Canadian shortlist next year. They really need to let a barbarian or two in on this process (maybe even, following their own past practice, invite Christian Bok to play)--but I guess with $100K at stake, the trustees don't want to gamble... Which is too bad, because it could make things interesting, instead of either head-scratchingly dumb or perfectly predictable. The picks couldn't, for the most part, get a whole lot worse.
Well, I've got to return a van now. Toodles.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:54 AM
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:39 PM
At any rate, I've got to get my hands on Pinker's new book (did I mention that my birthday's coming up?). I've read three of his books now and he's greatly informed and clarified my thinking on a number of topics. Anyone who writes should read The Language Instinct at the very least. The Blank Slate is probably my favourite of his books overall.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 8:27 PM
Sunday, September 2, 2007
We spent today cleaning up the house and garden at Trinity St. for the new housesitters. In the process, I got stung on the face by a very aggressive wasp. They seem to be nesting inside the deck roof and this one must have been bothered by my presence on the deck. After stinging me, she dive-bombed me several times more. Maybe she's a Lynn Crosbie fan...
Looking forward to getting my internet hooked up. Stealing a signal from somewhere nearby right now. Not quite nearby enough, however. [It took several tries to post this.]
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:38 AM