Nov. 10th, 2006 10:02 pm
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I've mostly bounced back from Tuesday's news. Things are returning to quasi-normal.

In a crisis, I explode. Then I put the pieces back together very quickly. I've mentally reorganized the next half-year, and quietly gone back to writing and working, which seems to be my life.

I've gotten ten pages written on the not-novel, and thinking about how I'll revise novel #1 when the second copy returns my way.

Tonight, I'm happy. I read A Midsummer Night's Dream -- Shakespeare's most fun comedy. And the anime we're watching would probably make anyone feel better about their own life.

I got a lot of writing done. I'm feeling appreciated at work. And -- and this will only make sense to 7 people on my friends-list -- I've learned a trick to dodging lightning. Sadly, this trick requires me to have my eyes open, which is more than I can manage tonight, so I shall have to save it for tomorrow. I can't seem to get past 60 bolts in my sonambulant state.

There shall be no game this weekend because [livejournal.com profile] montrealais will be at an NDP conference helping to hammer out the gay socialist agenda ^_^

If my erstwhile players are interested, I could go for another round of that game we played last time.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I've been at the office all weekend (I'm only halfway through my work-week). Trying to input attendance for a few thousand students on ancient '486 computers is an exercise in patience -- my computer sometimes freezes for ten minutes at a time while it does all the necessary calculations.

Writing on the thing-I-do-not-want-to-call-a-second-novel-at-this-early-stage is going well, but working on a second novel feels vaguely like cheating on a boyfriend.

Meanwhile, I've been reading Shakespeare. And the funny thing is that reading a Shakespeare play for the first time is that you keep stumbling against quotes you've heard dozens of times.

The funniest lines are the ones that sound completely different in context than in quotation. My favourite so far "If music be the food of love, play on." This is one of those sweet-sounding lines, fit for Hallmark cards, that you get in books of famous sayings, and quoted endlessly in old movies and bad newspaper articles.

The original context:

"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die."
In modern English: "If music is the food of love, keep playing -- that way, by forcefeeding me, I'll want to throw up and won't be in love anymore."

You won't find that on a greeting card.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
D&D group stuff for my players, cut for geekery )

for everyone else, I'm not avoiding commenting on people's journals. I'm just behind because of so much else to do. I did get 40 pages of editing done this morning, and have the final version of project due for this evening.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Sorry for the long silence. I've been quite busy.


Overhaul of the novel proceeds apace. I was having a serious Ondaatje problem -- I was writing great scenes, having trouble fitting them together in a coherent story. I think I've found the way to overcome that now. I edited and wrote fifty pages Wednesday, and 20 pages today.

I'd started it as a realistic novel with a touch of dark fantasy. It's now really a fantasy novel set in the present day :/

The only remaining problem is the denouement -- and my problem writing believable action scenes.


My first major presentation of the year went off without a hitch, remarkable since I couldn't get any solid information. It was on the School-Book Question of 1866, a major crisis of Canadian history that's been completely forgotten by Canadians. Wikipedia doesn't even have an article on it -- or a mention of the event in the biographies of its major players.

I couldn't even get a hold of the schoolbooks in question.

My next major project is on early-Canadian sonnets. Most of what I'd come across in the databases was really awful, until one of my teachers put me on to a book of truly brilliant sonnet-work. And almost every sonnet in there had been lost to history.

Canada needs a Renaissance. There's a lot of the past mouldering on shelves in used bookstores, on the verge of being forgotten. There's some on the federal government's database, but it's only 1% of what was published in the 19th century. A lot of the best stuff is missing.


work drama )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Well, I finally got to my course on early Canadian book culture yesterday, and wow -- it's a strange but fascinating class.

First of all, when I had the I-am-not-a-postmodernist talk with my professor (it's like coming out!), he informed me neither is he -- he finds postmodernism clashes with his Tory beliefs. No, not Stephen-Harper Conservatives -- real, old, the British-monarchy-will-never-die Tory. They really still exist!

Secondly, the class has four people, myself included. One of them left halfway through class. Another is considering quitting.

Thirdly, he's really big on original sources, rather than reprints. He loves old books. and isnce this is 18th- and 19th-century print culture and printing industry, he wants us to use the originals, many of which he has.

We spent much of the class fondling yellowed tomes. I was reading a newspaper from 1763 -- the original, from 1763! He wheeled a small bookshelf that keeps in his office of this stuff. On it were some of the only existing of books more than a century out of print! He's desperately rescuing these things that libraries are destroying, or which are rotting away in used bookstores.

He's very protective of his collection, so much of our research will be done in class.

Also, the minimum number of pages for the final essay is 2. That's right -- not 25, not 18. Two. There are two projects, but they total abvout 6 pages together. Most of the class is research.

Revised 25 pages of my novel. Must do more before I sleepzzzzz....
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Today I woke up at 5:19 am, after less than 4 hours sleep. I crawled into Concordia's Hall Building before dawn, and put my 19-page-(over-the-page-limit) essay in the overnight drop box.

I watched sunrise and sunset over the snow-covered Mount Royal today from the 22nd floor of a downtown office building.

In fact, this was "the Borg Cube" I ranted about some months ago which took 24 hours last time to issue us visitors' keycards to leave the security area so we could use the bathroom.

This time, they decided we were too much of a security risk to issue keycards at all. >_<

So, how were we to get into the security area? We were to wait by the door, trying to sneak in before it closed. Or tell some person opening the door our story, and hope they believed us and let us in, even though we have no proof of who we are, or even any proof our school exists. We were to do this every time we left to use the washroom or grab a coffee.

People I encountered at the door fit into exactly two categories: those who were so used to security's stupidity they let us without question (and if we had been thieves, we could easily have gotten access to personal bank accounts since half the office was empty) or people who interrogated us and still slammed the door in our faces (thus locking out invited guests).

In other words, there is no real security because the sane people on that floor have to ignore the security rules to keep the place functioning. If they'd let us go to security with notice from our contact in Quebec City, with ID, and with verification from our company, they could keep track of our movements and their employees could enforce the security rules without a problem.


In other news, I've written so much background for one character of my novel, I'm worried it'll turn into a novella of its own. My novel is already more than 250 pages.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)

There are some moments so beautiful, they make all the crap in life worth living. Jean Talon Market, before the stores are open, when the streets are empty, and there's a heavy snowfall, is exactly one of those things.

'Tis still annoying not to be able to grab a coffee before work, tho.

I've reached 14 pages of my 14-18 page essay this morning, and now I'm mostly worried about not having enough space. I'm more than 31 pages into the revision of my novel, as well.

I'm also having good conversations with an old friend by email. Someone I've missed a lot :)


The other day, Thierry St-Cyr -- Bloc candidate in [livejournal.com profile] montrealais's riding -- said that their opponent Liza Frulla had nothing to contribute to the debate "a spaghetti sauce." Presumably it's intended as a very strange ethnic slur, since Frulla is of Italian descent. Certainly the local Italian community is taking it that way, according to Metro.

Leaving aside this really bizarre insult, I have to say that, to my knowledge, Liza Frulla has no added a spaghetti sauce to the debate, or at least not a good one. A good spaghetti sauce has consistency, and nothing Minister Frulla has added to the debate fits that description.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Not sure if I see a pattern in all this, but it is interesting. It's supposed to be the first sentence from the first entry every month, though in a few cases I tossed in extra sentences because one sentence alone did not make sense. It's been a good year:

January: Good day. It's been a great 24 hours, so I'm in a good mood.

February: Well, I went out to a club for the first time since October -- Cabaret Mado.

March: You know, I can take homophobia from 12th-Century Latin-scribbling clerics.

April: Well, the pope is dead (probably -- they've already misannounced this once), and now starts a flood of glurge so heavy, we'll have to build arcs.

May: Well, my graphic novel course is starting, soon (Wednesday).

June:[livejournal.com profile] jenjoou was right. Kyou Kara Maou develops a plot sometime around the 26th episode.

July: Canada turns 138 today. Doesn't look a day over 86. Must be using Botox.

August: Happy Lughnassadh, to everyone who celebrates it :)

September: The Borg cube has finally issued us security passes, so I don`t have to wait in the feeding bay for the hour gap between English placement exams.

October: Well, I now have a single ticket for the Rufus Wainwright concert in November, bought off a grad-school classmate who had an extra one.

November: So Green Grass, Running Water was great, though a little confusing for the obscure references.

December: It's been a lovely day, under the stressful circumstances.

Otherwise, I'm nearly ten pages through my 14-18 page essay, now due Monday. Éric has gone out to a job interview. And I've been doing tons of research for my novel. Life is good ^_^
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I just received this email from my professor:

Hi Hamish. The new due date for the final essay is Monday Dec. 12 before

I just got an un-asked-for 4-day extension for my essay. Which is great because I spent all day today working on my novel and did nothing for the esay at all, except looked up a couple of useful sources.

Spent the day working on the notebooks with all the information for my novel, and did 14 pages of the first revision. I also spent a good four hours researching Canadian history, especially queer history, as part of the background research. If I'm going to write one of the much older characters' backgrounds believably, I need to brush up on my knowledge of Montreal in the 1940s.

Along the way, I stumbled onto this book, and now I'm dying to make it an early Yule gift to myself. Yes, I know -- I'm a geek ^_^
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
In Memorium

Today is the 16th anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre here in Montréal. Sixteen years ago, Marc Lépine, who blamed feminists for his not getting into engineering school, charged into a classroom with a gun, and killed 14 women before turning the gun on himself.

I went to the school itself to do an unrelated story for The Link some years ago, and I was surprised to find that there was no on-site memorial of any kind. There's a memorial park some distance away, but nothing at the school itself. I found this strange in a city that'll erect a statue, build a monument, or put up a plaque for any event, happy or sad.

It seemed strange that the site of the massacre wasn't marked in any way, in a city so devoted to memory.

EDIT: [livejournal.com profile] montrealais has informed me that a plaque does exist. He's seen it. I was surprised. I looked all over the school the two days I was covering a conference.


I wrote about two-thirds of my notes for my novel, and penned a poem yesterday. Where does one send a poem to be published these days?

I'm also 6 pages into the 14-18 page essay due on Thursday. I think I'm going to have to miss the Jack Layton rally tonight.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Today -- a month-and-a-half and 225 pages later -- I have finished the first draft of my novel. And I have a plan to keep it from getting out of hand during the revisions, like with my last one.

I also have a notebook to keep track of things, and organize my thoughts -- with details of every character's life that I'm never going to use, but which is good to know. I was inspired in this by hearing so much of J.K. Rowling's system of notebooks. Of course, she has even more information to keep track of than I do.

I think I'll be able to finish this before my self-set deadline of next November.

I've also written a page and a half on my 14-18 page Findley/Atwood/Jung essay. I've scarcely begun research, and I think I already have enough material.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)

It's been a lovely day, under the stressful circumstances. [livejournal.com profile] foi_nefaste seems to have opened her home to students and politicians too busy to cook, and [livejournal.com profile] montrealais and myself have had two wonderful meals there in the last 24 hours.

I've gotten a lot of good research done, mostly towards my essay. And I'm nearly done my taxes, which will be nice to finish ^_^

I'm also nearing the end of the first draft of my novel. At this point it's less than 250 pages, but I expect it to grow a little in the latter stages.


Those of you on [livejournal.com profile] montrealais's journal know that he did wonderfully on the interview this morning, coast-to-coast CTV. He's at another interview at the CBC. Canadian Heritage Minister Liza Frulla (also known as the forgotten Sailor Scout) babbled somewhat, the Conservative was terrified, and the Blocquiste didn't bother to show up.

This seems to be the pattern for this election. Martin and Harper keep coming across as idiots, and even Gilles Duceppe isn't at his best. Layton, however, is. If we keep this up, we might be able to take a lot more seats on January 23.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
A quiet day. Had a wonderful conversation with [livejournal.com profile] archdiva, and actually got 7-and-a-half pages on my novel written. One of these days, I'm going to break my record of 11 pages of fiction in a single day. I don't count essays as fiction no matter how much bullshit is in them :)

I've been working on overall plan for the novel -- a plan to put on paper and stick to, which may help me avoid the complete re-writes that caused so many problems with my unsuccessful first novel. My first draft will establish the plot as a skeleton -- and I intend to keep writing no matter how many non-plot problems crop up. I'm between one-third and one-half finished this phase.

anatomy of a novel, cut for length )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
One of my courses was erased due to lack of interest (it was a course on Irish-Canadian literature without either of Canada's two best-known Irish-Canadian writers, which I thought was awfully strange). I had to replace it with (*shudder*) "New Approachs in Canadian Literature."

Which means, decoded, "The Same, Tired, Old Postmodern Bullshit Applied to Canadian Literature Because We Didn't Feel It Was Boring Enough Already."

Even poor Laura Groening, one of the last humanists left in our literature program, is throwing in Linda Hutcheon. Hutcheon is one of the better postmodernists out there, but it's still fairly dry and extremely limited.

Oh well. Three Margaret Atwoods, one of which I've read, and two Timothy Findleys, and a Mordecai Richler -- Groening's course can't too bad. Also, I notice Heart of Darkness is on the list, as an "intertext" for Findley's Headhunter. Since I've studied that thoroughly in three university courses, and pretty much have it memorized, I don't think I'll even bother to read it again this year.

As for the Postmodernism class, I know it's going to be fun in at least one way. Turns out there's going to be a component on gay literature in Canada -- and since I seem to be the only openly queer person in grad studies (forget what you've heard about the stereotypes), that'll mean three months of pointing out how all the clueless heterosexuals who write about "the queer experience" have put together something that in no way resembles my life.


felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)

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