A fine balance.

Although I feel as though I'm keeping up with the readings and assignments at school, my creative output has declined.

Maintaining a balance between academic responibilities and personal responsibilities is definitely an issue for students, particularly older students like myself. For me, writing is a personal responsibility, because it acts as an avenue of self-expression academic writing doesn't properly fulfill. I get irritable and abrasive if I don't write something or procrastinate on projects. So, the pieces I'm working on are clearly displayed on my desktop to remind me that they will not get finished and eventually published if I simply stare at them. Thoughts?


Notes towards a sociology of literature.

I've had this conversation before. The problem with my proposal is that it contains a two-part dilemma. First, there isn't much going on with literary discourse in sociology. Discourse analysis is prevalent, and it's a favourite topic of mine, but this type of analysis focuses on the utterance rather than the text; although, the analyst must rely on the textualized version of the utterance. Second, literary analysis and discourses on position and context can be self-referential, like the snake eating its own tail. The problem of presenting tautological arguments is subtle, yet real.

So, how does a text express the social processes one experiences in a society? Can a text reveal social inequalities in society? Although literary scholars are more than capable of addressing this question, the vocabulary available to scholars in this field is lacking, and it does not have the same texture and strength inherent in sociological discourse. However, sociology lacks the textual analysis critics take for granted, and has little to say in regards to literature.

Is literature a social process? Do writers, readers (or consumers), publishers and merchants participate in a social institution, a literary institution? Should we apply use-value and exchange-value to these processes?

Some texts are accepted into a canon (or the canon) and some are not. Hence, there are cultural "gate-keepers" at work, allowing some texts to be allowed entrance while other texts are neglected. I realize this is a very crude statement, but it's only the skeleton of a larger study. I was fortunate enough to hear a lecture on this topic at Simon Fraser University for an English grad student conference, meaning I'm not totally alone in this territory.


Thank you, Widgets.

Today, W.E.B. Dubois was born in 1868.

On the day I have to write a sociology exam.

I will wage war on gravity.

Don't you just hate it when you finally get a stubborn stain out of a shirt or a jacket, only to spill some food on it again? Yeah, I just did that. I was eating a vegetarian antipasto sandwich when an oily piece of eggplant slipped out of the baquette and tumbled down the front of my raincoat. Now I have to go the bathroom and scrub it down.

I hate gravity.


An introduction to political philosophy.

I was going to write a tirade about the Conservatives, but writing about politics is like writing about entertainment. If you're not marching in the parade, you'll only get to watch the last pathetic float limp down the avenue as the balloons and streamers peel off its pastel hide.

But keep this mind, friends and readers: when the public refuses to mind the little waves licking the shore, we cannot prepare ourselves when we eventually face the crushing tidal wave as it looms over our heads.

Watch the shores, my dears.


Take your grievances to the appropriate department, sir.

I finished work almost an hour ago, but my reserves were completely tapped. The idea of boarding a crowded, humid bus then being wedged into a corner by a mass of Goretex and backpacks was not altogether appealing. Go figure. After a bag of dill pickle chips, which tasted remarkably like stale cheese, and cruising around the internets like a ravenous shark, I feel up to the task of actually getting home. I've been feeling pretty low since Monday. I'm not used to getting up before noon.

There's an exam on Thursday, and a relatively important assignment for English. I'm thinking of doing an online presentation on Emily Dickinson and her metrical techniques.

Hm. I have to write a quiz in order to further qualify for my exchange. It's one of those common sense quizzes: what would you do if you are set on fire? Yeah, those kinds of questions. I chatted with my co-worker, who also applied to Slovenia, and she was surprised that the exchange office has these incredibly difficult hoops to jump through now. And will the University of Ljubljana actually accept my application? Thank you, UBC. Nothing like keeping bureaucracy the navigable waters it never was.

Oh, bad sentence.



I just received an email from the Go Global Program: my application to attend classes at the University of Ljubljana was accepted.

We will be drinking wine this evening.

This is for the comic book people.

I have two items for your approval. First, for those who love all things Whedon (Joss, that is) then check out his verbal duel, if you can call it that, with none other than Warren Ellis. Read on.

Second, relating back to Ellis, an excellent example of what's to come in comics. This is a part of Ganges #1 from Kevin Huizenga, a title on Fantagraphic's Ignatz line. Manipulating the actual panel is not entirely new, but folding and overlapping it to suggest changes in time is really something to behold.

I got this from Ellis' article on The Pulse, which is very insightful, but there are messy segments in the prose. Click the link and look for The Ministry.

Pay attention.

Jesse = Jess. Yes.


Making goals.

I now have some goals for the rest of the year. I've been revising these items for quite some time, which is good, but I would much rather have a solid schedule than something fluid or ambiguous. When Lisa asked me yesterday what I want to be when I grow up (although I feel I've already lived three lifetimes) I simply said "writer." And then, teach at a university or college to make ends meet. If you want a picture of my future, then that's it. So, here's some short-term goals for me.

1. Return to the Ubyssey. I know, it doesn't pay, but if I'm going to be a full-time student and a no-time writer I might as well be producing something. I'll be emailing the editor today.
2. Finish the first drafts for the three short stories I've been working on. Getting one story published is great, now let's see if I can keep up the momentum.
3. The play. Or plays. Yeah, there's another draft in the works. I'm going to admit defeat, but these projects will have to go on the backburner for awhile. Blah.

I suppose the last one isn't a goal.

How was everyone's Valentine's Day? If you despise the holiday with all your heart then you might as well move onto the next website. Yesterday was a quiet day for us. We slept in, I did some reading, then we went out to our favourite cafe and ate sandwiches and studied. Later, we went over to Jesse's for cake and wine, and we watched season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I hate to cut this short but I gotta get to work.


I may have misused the word "encroaches," but Reading Week is kind of damaging.

As Reading Week encroaches upon me, I know I have write up a schedule so I can maximize the time made available to me. I'll be reading Frank Norris' McTeague, plus some Durkheim and Wordsworth.

Some good news: one of my students, who I was tutoring in preparation for the Language Proficiency Index (or, the LPI) this semester, passed the test recently. Most students have to write the test in order to qualify for upper-level English classes. So, if you're working out of the Engineering or Science Department, you need six English credits, and one can imagine the horrified look in a chemistry student's eyes when faced with Anne of Green Gables.


I'm a sucker.

Why did I start a MySpace account?

More poetry / prose games.

Consider this an experiment. Write a nursery rhyme, a fairy tale or a common, everyday event you experience (like brushing your teeth or shopping for groceries) in the style and tone of your favourite author. So, for instance, how would James Joyce write Jack and Jill? Try writing either poetry or prose.

Chris, the mastermind behind the The G33k, has an excellent example here.

The exercise is a great way to sharpen your skills and to understand how an author's voice is crucial in writing literature.

Feel free to email your submission to me (my email address is on my profile page) and I will post it later, with your permission. You know you want to.


A while back someone posted some poetry links in the comments. Because I was receiving a huge influx of spam, I thoughtlessly deleted the comment like I was cursed with a nervous tic. I'm very sorry mystery poster!

Submit a poetry-related story! See below!


What was your first favourite poem? Why?


Seth Fisher, RIP.

I just discovered Seth Fisher this year, through his work on Batman and Fantastic Four. Today the official statement was released: he fell off the seven-story roof of a club in Osaka, Japan. Man. His artwork was fresh and vibrant, and he put superhero comics back into the realm of the fantastic. Reading his books reminded me of the wonder and mystery that enthralled me when I first started reading comics over twenty years ago.

Damn it.


The lesson.

My computer? The logic board had an aneurysm. The estimate? Over a grand. The result? Andrew talked them down to $100. The lesson? Computers don't run the world. People do.