Monday, December 27, 2010

Coconut's Christmas

Hope everyone has been having a fantastic Christmas! God's peace as you continue to meet each other in love and encounter Jesus in the humble and quiet places of your life.  <3

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Reading List

The Adolescent - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Ulysses - James Joyce
Nineteen Eighty Four -George Orwell

Either I wanted to be really depressed over Christmas break, or this is a sign that I need more Terry Prachett in my life.  But really, when is good literature anything else but melancholy-inducing?

What to do?

My room is organized.  Laundry's done.  The sidewalk's snow-free. No baking dishes left to wash.  No odd or end to tie up or put back in place.  No short story to edit.  Nothing to do, nothing to do, nothing to DO!

...I kind of like it.

If you're anything like me (or my mom for that matter), you always need something to focus your attention on. Maybe (like me) you like to do things, put things in order and be helpful, be somewhat of use.  Maybe (also like me) you enjoy doing things so that you can avoid thinking about other things. Like essays.  And life.

Sloth is a deadly sin, but what about busyness?  It can be just as distracting from focusing on God, as I'm sure we've all heard in abundance from our teachers, family, Churchworker friends.  How many times did Jesus take a time out and go off to spend some quality time with His Father?  And after a busy bout of mission work, Jesus invites His disciples to just chill out: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." (Mark 6:31b)  Burn out happens, no matter how self-sufficient we think ourselves. We do nothing from our own strength - it's all a gift from the One who made us and has epic plans for our lives.

Finding rest - my new quest!

In other news...
It's Bring-Your-Stuffed-Monkey-to-Work day! Can you find Coconut?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bienvenue a Winnipeg

This is Coconut.  He is a world traveler.
His next stop? Winnipeg, Manitoba!
Now, you may know Winnipeg as the winter capital of Canada, but it is home to some of the warmest hearts this side of Saskatchewan, including those of Grandma and Grandpa.
Coconut had a great time hanging out at Grandma and Grandapa's 
making new friends,

 going to church,
rocking out to old records,

staying warm,
playing hide and go seek,
taking time to relax,
and eating Grandma's homemade oreo cookies.

Where did the time go?

He is looking forward to all the Christmas adventures to come in the lovely city of Brandon!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday rant

Maybe it was the day, the fact that I was frustrated with other things, or that I had just finished reading Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution, but as I stood and sang as I had many other Sundays in many other churches, I began to notice something.

The church I attend is not what you'd call a mega-church, but the attendance is pretty substantial for a Lutheran congregation these days.  The sanctuary is filled with people of various backgrounds, ages, and familial statuses, and there is a balance of hymns and worship songs in the liturgy.  Pastor 's sermons are fiery and not too long, and Preschool and Sunday School both continue to run smoothly.  All in all, it's a comfortable and welcoming place.

Then I noticed the space - we have a fairly large building, two floors with a gymnasium and an attic study room where we usually hang for Young Adult events.  And my thoughts went on tangents.  Our church is located off a fairly seedy area of town, the kind of area people warn you against walking through at night: exemplifying this, during announcements, one of the congregation members informed us of vandalism to vehicles that had been happening during services.  He advised people to keep valuables out of sight, and that it was too bad it was happening, but that "it's just the society we live in".

That comment kind of threw me.  Images of a picnic in the parking lot filled with people from the community and cots set up in the sanctuary passed through my head. We are so blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with wealth in North America. We live in comfortable heated houses and comfortable double-doored churches.  We are in love with our own affluence.  How are we using the gifts God has given us to serve others?  That was my burning overwhelming question as I considered the space around me this past Sunday.

To be fair, our congregation is active in many things.  Members run schools, programs for inner city kids, Bible studies, soup kitchens and pancake breakfasts, world missions, outreach services to senior's homes, music ministry and many other God glorifying things.  In our congregation though, I also see people who are frustrated with the system, who are looking for somewhere to belong, who have difficult questions and pains.  People who see the Church as a place of closed doors and too-happy faces.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where Christianity was illegal, so that I could be part of a mobile family of believers meeting in houses,  on street corners, in the sewers of society, ready at any moment to die for what you believe.  Christianity like that is hard to find in our society.  But I am thankful of the community that I am part of, imperfect as it is and always will be.  We can't blame the Church for not doing or loving enough: we can only blame ourselves for not trying to change that.  We are the Church and by God's grace He will continue to work through us, in big ways and in small.

One of my favourite points in Claiborne's book is his reoccurring theme of Jesus as a homeless person.  “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:19-21) What if we as Christians lived that way? After all, we are in this world only a short time.  What is God calling us to do with our lives and the blessings He has given all of us, whether they be gifts of wealth, compassion, prophecy, artistry, homes, cars, churches, intelligence, the knack of knowing when someone needs a shoulder, the awareness that something needs to change?

And what if we listened?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dramatic Monologue

I suppose the biggest recent event in my life was One Acts.

Now, I haven't been a drama minor long, and just as I was starting to warm up to this idea of being a "drama kid", three things happened: 

1. Some dear members of the GTC (Green Thespians' Club) came up to me and said "Brittni, we're not asking you, we're telling you that you must direct a play for One Acts". Okay...directing was something I never wanted to do again. Not after that time in high school where a play I wrote and directed (granted, probably the worst adaptation of the Robin Hood and King Arthur myths ever compiled this side of the middle ages) was cut before production. Oh, how guilty and incompetent I felt!  I got over it pretty quick though.  And since there were not that many people signed up to do shows this semester, I thought what the heck?  And that's how I came to direct three amazing actors in a ten minute piece I wrote called Walls.

2. I auditioned for a musical piece.  And surprisingly got a part.  Graeme and myself, as directed by Erica, performed "No Matter What" from the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast.  It was splendid fun, especially when the invention crashed onto the stage during our opening night. The audience loved it. Or pitied us and only laughed to make us feel less bad.

3. Carla and Laura asked me to stage manage their capstone!  I learned so much about the backstage process during a full-length show. Our director, Nathania, was super encouraging. Josiah taught me how to work the light board, we made it through the speaker glitches, and I managed to play a song instead of a gunshot sound effect during a very serious scene.  It's serious, don't laugh.  Our PAs were fantastic to work with, and I managed to put together a stage managing binder with cues and everything!

So, that was my holistic drama experience.  I learned (again) that drama pretty much eats your life, but is totally worth it in the end.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Henry James, you are a cool dude

12 336 words into my NaNoWriMo Novel.  This quote from Henry James' essay "The Art of Fiction" was very much welcome:

"This freedom [from conditions and rigid rules] is a splendid privilege, and the first lesson of the young novelist is to learn to be worthy of it. 'Enjoy it as it deserves (I should say to him): take possession of it, explore it to its utmost extent, publish it, rejoice in it. All life belongs to you, and do not listen to those who would shut you up into corners of it and tell you that it is only here and there that art inhabits, or to those who would persuade you that this heavenly messenger wings her way outside of life altogether, breathing a superfine air, and turning away her head from the truth of have only to remember that talents so dissimilar as those of Alexandre Dumas and Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Gustave Flaubert have worked in this field with equal glory.  Do not think too much about optimism and pessimism; try and catch the colour of life itself."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat

We live next door to this mansion, right, but even that didn't prepare us for the masses of children and teenagers who ended up on our doorstep.  Costumes are great; candy is great; but the thing I love most about Halloween is that it's one of the last strongholds of community that's left in our individualist culture.  The one time of year where neighbors interact, share words about the day, and share their wealth.

A few of our number went Trick or Treating (to four houses, just for larks), then handed out candy (and made a Save-on run when we ran out), read "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" aloud, watched "Nightmare Before Christmas", and went out to a friend's house for a game of Cranium.  I was on a joy-high all night, and it wasn't from all the sugar I consumed.

As an aside, I'm reading a book by Shane Claiborne called "The Irresistible Revolution" and it's been challenging me a lot on the topics of poverty, community, and living as Jesus did. I'm pretty sure I'll write on it once I've finished it.  Speaking of writing, NaNoWriMo started at midnight this morning, and my did I write some strange things.  More on that later as well.

Happy Halloween/ Reformation Day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo Approaches...

I can't wait to have an excuse to spend all my free time filling a blank screen with lovely, lovely words!

 Last year was my first attempt at the 50 000 word challenge - I made it to 10 000. This year, I want to at least double that output.  You writers out there will know how difficult it is to get so many words out while still keeping up a good plot going.  Or maybe it's just me.  I have a huge wall whenever I try to pull my guts out and smear them into sense.  So, the method I'm going to employ this go around is the age-old technique of word vomit, or stream-of-consciousness, whatever you will.  But, there will be semblance of order: every chapter will be based on a word of the day.  I need to expand my vocab most desperately.  And there will be characters! And a plot! I'm going to try not to be all post-moderny, but considering one of the characters is going to be a punk in an anarchist environment, I'm making no promises.

If you like writing, you may want to consider taking up this challenge yourself - it's definitely motivated me to write more honestly and it's a lot of fun seeing what comes out of a month full of writing! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...


This day has been the best.  Snow under my new boots, snowflakes winding to the ground on every side, the cutting cold finding the holes in my green knitted scarf.

People have varying opinions on this silently glorious precipitation. Some love it, some hate it, and some, especially in Canada, treat it as someone who was in class with you a couple years ago but who's name you can't remember. A friend and I have ongoing dialogue about the nature of snow: I think it's a beautiful part of God's creation; he thinks it is of the devil.  At least Albertan snow is.

I love snow. Let it be known.  Though Fall has its fragrant mementos, and Summer its warm concrete, Winter has snow, and for that it wins my heart.  Let there be no Narnian undertones - snow's in the Bible, I don't care what else you try to translate it as (unless it's true).

Monday, October 4, 2010

This is me after multiple 2ams and coffee

I'll say straight up that I'm avoiding writing a paper right now.

I'll also say I had little sleep this weekend, which is no one's fault but my own; though I do blame my inability to sleep if I have things to do for part of the fatigue experience.

This began on Friday, after a crazy two hours in the Blue & White office checking over articles and laughing at Kyle and Sean's antics.  A friend from years past was visiting, so a bunch of us gathered at President's house, played some games, ate some soup.  Then, being very intelligent, I watched Sweeney Todd with some of the girls, and stayed up until one.

The next morning, I almost got up to go shopping with one of my roommates, but I ended up staying home; however, since I was already awake at 8:30 and couldn't sleep any longer, I got up and did some work on my paper, though it sounds at the moment like I was trying to write on two different thesises.  My friend came over for the afternoon.  Then I went laser tagging and pizza eating and movie watching with some friends, staying up until 2am.

Sunday I had to be at Church early for praise band practice.  Sunday school, then a movie in the afternoon with some friends. I did have a nap before Intramurals, which were super fun and lasted until nigh 11.  Walked back home.  Tried to do some homework.  Stayed up on Facebook until 2.

Class this morning.  Coffee before science class so I wouldn't crash and sully the name of art student in a scientific enviroment.  And now, I'm kind of tired.

I'm trying to re-teach myself that sleep isn't that important, but I like being able to function without having to focus on getting past the wall of fatigue that threatens to fall on me when I'm not paying attention.

And needless to say, it was a very fun weekend; but not to be had more than once or twice a semester.  I may go take a nap now...

By the way, this is a picture of some of our Intramural team members: Long Live the Tangerine!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ahhhhh! (aka University)

"Ahhh!" is what I felt like these first two weeks back at school.  It's so beautifully chaotic and random without being purposeless!  After a relatively quiet summer, being back amongst the diverse attendants of a liberal arts college is almost too much: philosophy? criticism? drama? where were all these things hiding, and why do they bring me so much joy now?

I've moved into a house with six other wonderful people, mostly ex-dormies who I got to know last year.  There have been baking parties.  We organized a tea party.  I made borscht for the first time ever because I bought too many beets.  Jam sessions.  Walks. Epic plans being made along with bread that didn't rise - twice.

As for classes, ee weesh tha eh-ver-ei-oo-neh spah-ke een meed-leh ehn-gleesh - my prof does the accent fantastically.  I tried to read aloud in class today and ended up a bit red in the face.  Literary criticism is most interesting and surprisingly not dry.  Drama history is definitely not dry: our teacher, a true actor, got us to read the part of a Greek chorus over some epic battle music.  Old Testament Lit is a bit of a slow start so far, but, I am most excited to learn about the historical and cultural context of the books that have so much to say about God and His love for His creation.  And Earth Science.  Oh, earth science, the first time I've opened a science textbook since high school.  Our first lab was on rocks.  That was fun though - I made a new friend!

These past two days especially have been lovely: I've gotten to jam, meet some new people, hang out with old friends, have random conversations while sitting in my spinny office chair (I have an office! It's crazy! Who would give me keys, I mean come on!).  God is good, and I'm trying to praise Him even when things aren't exploding everywhere, which is harder than I would have thought!

But, of course, there are things that are unresolved: for example, I need to drop one of my majors and adjust my minors.  Drama keeps sneaking in, though I want you to note that I did not try out for the play.  Ugh, that was harder than it should have been.  Editing for the school paper is a constant effort, but it's been good so far!  Next issue out on Wednesday, God willing.  Oh, and should I get rid of Facebook/ my cell phone? (after Chelsea gets back from Australia if so I'm thinking).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Week of Birdy-Bot

My sister has been at home the past couple weeks, which has been a delightful oddity: it's been a while since we've lived in the same space for more than a couple days.  So far we haven't killed each other.  Hopefully this will not happen in the last few days before I leave for school.

Have you ever noticed how much you take people for granted? Even though my little sis was as far as a city away, there was comfort in knowing I could meet her downtown in Edmonton, or text her whenever I needed that Chelsea punch.  Now it's her turn for a travelling adventure, and I can hardly believe I'm not going to see her for a whole year!

We've been making good use of our limited time together though.  Traversed the gelato and bookish streets of downtown Victoria; sat through construction on the way to Drumheller; made casts of fossils at the museum with a group of ten year olds; prepared "fake" Christmas with all our family's traditional fixin's; spurts of packing up boxes; battled over Bananagrams...

How did it come to be that all of a sudden she was all grown up and calling me Birdy?  I thought Alice would be a good nickname for her - she's pretty much falling through to the other side of the world, a Wonderland full of new sights and tastes and animals (koalas!) - but it hasn't stuck.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When transit gets you down...

This is the sad tale of a young girl taking a bus to go to a slow pitch game.

It shouldn't have been that hard: GoogleMaps was pretty clear on which route she was to take.  First was the LRT.  Who could have known the recorded voice announcing each platform was one stop off?  Not paying attention, the girl got off the train one stop too late and had to wait for the returning train to return her.  Once at the correct stop, she deliberated, undecided, which side of the road, and which #19 stop, she should wait at.  The all-knowledgable Internet had told her to head west.  Checking to see if she could still distinguish her right from her left, the girl waited on the far side.

Before long the bus arrived.  She was glad to feel the unyielding back of the seat as she settled in for at least a half hour ride to her destination.  Looking up from her book at one point, she realized the driver had been trying to communicate something to her with elaborate hand gestures in the giant rearview mirror.  "This is the end of the line!" he told her when she walked over to him to make sure he wasn't having a heart attack.  Kicked off into unfamiliar University territory, she searched the bus stop signs for the number 19, but was disappointed.  She sighed, uncertain if she should try to find the train station and try the whole trip again, or just give up.

There was a fence blocking off construction, and as she began to head towards the LRT, a sign caught her eye: "9, 19, and 199 wait on other side of construction".  Joy filled her heart: the 19 did stop there, she could still make it.  But, what did it mean, "the other side"? The other side of the building?  The other side of the fence?  She was caught in her wondering by the voices of the child and mother sitting behind herb on the concrete edge around some shrubbery.  "What bus are we waiting for?" the boy's voice asked; "The 19," she replied.  The girl settled across from them against part of the fence feeling just peachy.

Then it started to rain.  Many busses passed.  Sometimes the girl would up from the splattered pages of her book and make sure the mom and kid were still there, that she hadn't totally missed the bus stopping and driving away.  A bus was driving up...the 9...119.  The girl sat back down disappointed, when the young boy spoke up again, "But that's the 119."  "We can take either the 19 or the 119."  And they climbed into the bus.  The girl was on her feet again and she could see past the people crowding the bus a pamphlet stuck next to the driver with the heading "19/119".  They were the same route!  The girl climbed on, grabbed a map, and sat, familiarizing herself with the lay of the land.

Then it started to hail into the bus through the open windows.  The girl was worried: what if she showed up and the game was cancelled?  At least she could say she had been there. She checked the time on her phone: twenty minutes til commencement.  Paying diligent attention to her direction, the girl waited for 13th Avenue.  Unfortunately, the bus was going through a residential zone and the streets weren't numbered.  When she hit 8th Ave out of the blue, she panicked and kicked herself off the bus.

The wandering walk afterwards would be too tedious to convey in detail here.  The only thing to know is that the girl went in circles for quite a bit looking for the athletic centre and experienced something quite significant before walking onto the slowpitch field with an "I'm sorry I'm late" demeanour.

After threeish innings, the game was rained out anyways.  Last game of the season.

And that's the story of the transitly-challenged slow pitch player.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What do your insides look like?

Today I witnessed the Body Worlds Exhibit at the Calgary Science Centre featuring the human art of Dr. Gunther von Hagens; he developed Plastination, a method of replacing all the liquid in tissues with plastic material, allowing for the permenant positioning and preservation of a human body.  Some were playing sports; others posing in everyday ways.  It was horrific and incredible at the same time.  I felt like I was a person back in the 1900s watching Tesla demonstrate his electrical marvels at a fair, filled with the same sense of fearful amazement.

To see people cut up and flayed positioned in glass display cases, knowing that they had once been alive, was rather depressing, though, I must say, I learned quite a bit.  The Bio 30 and Psych 104 files in my memory had the dust blown off them, that's for sure: it's been a while since I've heard the word "synapse" or "electrochemical reactions".  I learned damage to the brain starts after 10 seconds without oxygen; that the liver takes up much of the right side of my abdomen; that the brain is a plastic organ, able to change and learn and adapt, even after 60 through the efforts of glial cells; too much coal dust can cause your lungs to actually look like lumps of coal; babys have hearts at week four of embryonic development; "Tesla" is not spelt "Tulsa".

The interesting thing was, that although this was a physical exhibit exploring the human body and the brain, there was an awful lot of inspiring soul quotes posted everywhere.  At the end was a banner with a statement from Dr. Hagens: he said that the exhibit, which is focused so much on what is seen, also addresses the unseen and unfathomable, the soul, which is made known by its conspicuous abscene.  For me, I did feel somewhat searching: maybe its because the plastinates were like pieces of art to me, and I was looking for an artist's hand and vision in the way they were placed.

I agree it's a good way to teach and enlighten about things in the human body - but, I don't know, at the same time it seems almost ironically inhuman to display dead corpses, well-preserved corpses mind you, for anyone to come in and gawk at.

Friday, June 18, 2010

How To Get To Priddis?

The Priddis day trip is legend now.  It was that kind of day: not a cloud in the sky, hot, Billy Joel on the radio and a couple of girls off to an arts fair.  But as usually is the case, the map gets twisted and the protagonists end up in a land far removed from their destination.  I was that bumbling navigator, trusting the authority of Google instead of using my head, leading us furthur down through the twists and turns of Highway 22X.  We laughed when we found ourselves in Longview.

After an hour of backtraking we pulled into the full parking lot at the Priddis community hall.  There were vendors of all kinds lining the inner wall of the community centre and the outer line of the yard: antiques, jewelry, pastel-painted furniture with crystal handles, handcrafted decorations made of recycled materials and black and white photos.  Walking past a two-tiered silver serving dish, my Mom was distracted by the round pink and black nuggets poured into colourful cupcake shells.  "What, are they magnets?" she asked.  Turned out they were liquorice samples.  You never knew what you were going to run across there.

With pincushion flowers in arm, we stopped in Bragg Creek for a bite and a run through of some shops, before hitting the road, homebound this time.  Luckily, we had a better idea of how to get there. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Highlands Art Festival

Despite freezing winds and driving rain, the Friends Making Art collective arrived at the Highlands Art Festival last Saturday with high hopes.  The night before had been spent in celebration and last minute detailing, and though they were fatigued, coffee soon burgeoned thier spirits for the long vigil ahead. 

Bagpipes echoed through the tents crowding the grey parking lot as vendors set up their wares.  Under a protective awning the FMA members organized their art: a suitcase of Shakespeare-inspired paintings, a box of record bowls, key pendants and domino magnets and ATCs.  As the morning wore on, prospects became grim as the storm continued to cry over thier sad little stand.  Uninspired by the lack of customer traffic, some members wandered through the vendors, sometimes pausing to appreciate the works of the artists walking back and forth to keep warm.  One FMA member was pleasantly surprised to find out that Sandra McDougall was also showing her art at the festival (which can be viewed at

At about 11 'o clock am, the FMA collective paked up: choosing not to test their immune systems any longer, they left that parking lot, never to return again.


Not to say the event was a disappointment: I mean, it built character and to speak truth, I had a good time, even though my socks were wet.  It may be because I got to visit Catfish Coffee, hang out with awesome people, be part of something creative, and it appealed to my love of things anti-climactic.  I also was hyper on coffee, which may have helped.  Thanks to everyone who braved the weather to attend the festival!

This is a picture of some of Dawn's jewelery and art that she made for the Highlands Art Festival.

This painting came about as a direct result of the Festival: the Shakespeare paintings we displayed were made by mixing colours on canvas with credit cards.  Dawn's sister asked if we could make some more paintings that were similar for a silent auction supporting Animal Rescue.  This is one I made called The Watch.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Unofficial Summer Writing Adventure

It's the "The" you've been waiting for.

Unofficial, because there's no set criteria and only consists of a group page on Facebook.

Summer, because it's too busy in November to write a blasted 50 000 word NaNoWriMo novel.

Writing, because I've come to realize that writers are EVERYWHERE and often struggle with finding the motivation and time to finish a writing project.

Adventure, because who knows what will come out of these blank pages?

My good friend Elisabeth and I have decided that June is a good month to write.  And what shall be written? It's totally up to you: from the ambitious novel, to the laid back act of daily diary entries- whatever goal you set for yourself!  I'm going to take another crack at a novel, hopefully one with a plot this time.  So far, there are eight people signed up for this word ride and more are welcome. 

The USWA, tell your friends.

PS: Watched my first episode of Glee guest starring Neil Patrick Harris.  Love that Horrible man.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

These Pancakes Are Crazy, Man!

I made pancakes! While gathering the neccessary ingredients, I decided to use a banana instead of adding proccessed sugar and, surprisingly, it worked!  This is a great recipe: simple and delicious.  I also learned recently that when missing an egg, a mix of water, oil, and baking soda can be used as a substitute - baking chemistry, it's like the Magic School Bus all over again!

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar OR 1 peeled banana
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Break eggs into bowl and stir until bubbly.
2. Mix in milk and oil.
3. Add remainder of ingredients. Stir until mixed through.  Cook scoops of pancake mix in a oiled frying pan.
4. Eat them!

* adapted from Company's Coming: Kids Cook!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cover Letter (aka: selling oneself to the employment machine)

To whom it may concern:

My name is Brittni and I am a university student looking for summer employment.

I came across your advertisement on the Internet and was interested in applying for [insert postion here].  I would be a good [insert worker title here] for many reasons: I have experience in the [insert job field here] and I am an attentive learner.  I am a good listener and approach tasks with a positive and creative attitude.  My past employers would agree that I am a dedicated worker who is always looking for more tasks to do; however, I am attentive to the needs of others.  I am well-versed in Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, and the Bible.  I often dress in clashing patterns and/or colours, and I want to get a mohawk, but not til I'm sixty, so no need to worry over me wrecking your pristine [insert company name here] image.  When I grow up I want to be a musician or a writer, meaning I'll probably be poor; so I'd really appreciate it if you hired me so I could prepare for that as far in advance as possible.

Thank you for your time and your consideration of my application.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Once Upon A Time-Space Contineum

I never used to pay much attention to the sci-fi scene.  I didn't get Star Trek and, though I liked C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy and L'Enge's Wrinkle in Time series, most novels I tried to read in that genre were either too crude or too far over my head.  So I stuck to the classics, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Tolkien, the like.

And then 1984 happened.

And even stranger than that, I began volunteering with a science-fiction publisher.  Well, technically, sciene-fiction and fantasy, but the science-fiction factor is what I find the most random part of this entry.

EDGE Publishing is the only organization that exclusively prints works of science-fiction/ fantasy in North America.  They've printed novels, anthologies, translated works of fiction, vampire stories, and even a book of science-fiction poetry called "i-ROBOT" by Jason Christie.  I contacted them a while ago to inquire about summer employment; but since they are a relatively small publisher and the market for printed materials is slow at the moment (thanks to E-books and Amazon), nothing was available except -

They call it the slush pile: the stacks of manuscripts, maybe twenty new ones added daily, needing evaluation before they pass on to higher circles of editing.  And that's where I come in: I get to read through some of these suckers and suggest they either move up, or move out.  Checking the "reject" box is not easy - people put so much time and effort into their submissions, I wish I could just fix all their grammar and tell them that Harry Potter's been done already, think up something else!; but that's not my job unfortunately.  There are good ones though, sometimes amazing ones!  I can't wait to get the next batch of envelopes: honestly, I would not mind working a 9-5 gig if I could be doing something like this.

Which brings up something else that's been on my mind.  I got my marks back from last semester.

Now, if I thought I was good at something, and loved it, but my marks didn't reflect this, and something else which I'm not sure if I'm good at but love anyways got a better grade, is this suggesting that I should perhaps consider what I want to do after University? Or maybe switch around some minor aspects of my degree?  English is staying for sure, but aside from that, I really have no set aspirations.

Anyways, if you aspiring fantasy/ science-fiction writers out there are looking for a publisher, EDGE is a great place to submit - Brian Hades, the publisher, is super awesome and values new writers as well as seasoned literary giants.  Though, I promise that if I'm given your manuscript to edit, I will not evaluate it - that way when it gets published, people can't accuse anybody of crazy robot conspiricies. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baking Attempt #2

Being at home like this in the middle of a blustery May day, snow tapping at the windows, winds wandering through the air vents - makes me want to make something.

I've been dragged along by a chain of creative events the past week: the short story I finished for a literary scholarship, the painting currently drying in the corner, the stack of handmade "business" cards.  I had a pause today between cleaning house and cancelling a dental appointment, and thought "Now what?"  The recipe to cure my boredom was just that - in the giant blue cookbook, instructions for a most delicious looking pie.

I have never made pie on my own before; other occassions I had Harriet or my sister to tell me what to do.  The pie's in the oven right now, a cinnamon shell housing a plethora* of fruit: apple, pear, strawberry - pretty much whatever was in the fridge.  Regardless of how it turns out, I will eat it!

My craving for creative activity filled, I can now move, conscience-free, to the living room, curl up against the cold, watch Lost in Translation...

And if anyone was interested, Baking Attempt #1 was a batch of oatmeal cookies: half were overdone, but tasted good anyways (:

(* Plethora - word of the day, thanks to Chelsea)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Home Thoughts

I should really post something.

I've been back from university a few days now, and apart from my room exploding along a growing sense of the approach of death, I have no excuse for neglecting this little corner of my life.

I should explain. The car was so packed on the way home from dorm, I resolved to downsize on a grand scale. This resulted in a mass pouring out and pulling up the bits and pieces that had accumulated in my drawers and on my tabletops the past few years.  My room was a jungle, and since it has no door, my Mom had to look at it every time she wanted to get something from downstairs.  After many hours of toil I can see bits of the floor emerging in a rose cleanliness, and it feels fulfilling.  The explosion has been dealt with.

On the other hand, this sense of death - I had a dream the other night where a man told me that as long as I had lived, that was one year over half of the life I had been given.  I'm pretty sure I dreamed this because I've been thinking about life and death lately.  And I've had fearful moments of listening to the void that says my life has no purpose.  I don't know how atheists do it: I mean, if I didn't believe in God, my life would have no meaning and I would live in constant fear.  Death is real.  It's going to happen.  Maybe I shouldn't be thinking this at my age, but how could I not?  My comfort is that I have a Saviour who conquered Death with a capital 'D': eternity is in Him, and there is Life in Him.  That's all I need.

Home. It's a relief to have time to write again.  I'm working on a short story for a scholarship and started a song yesterday about my one track mind.  Research for my capstone next year on Dostoevsky is starting with Crime and Punishment.  I'm signed up for a slo-pitch league and still have no job.  Not worried though, I know something'll work out.  "Somehow it always does".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I have a problem.

You see, whenever I go to a library, or a bookstore, even a thrift shop, I find myself forgetting something very important.  Well, actually two things: one, time. And two, I'm a poor student.

What is it that causes this lapse in reality?  The written word.  Bound in many different shapes and colours, spines straight and prim or curved with age, names stamped on the cover and the top of each page.  I want to meet these characters, get to know them inside and out, part good friends.  Most times I find myself overwhelmed by a stack of ten or more books before I've made it through one aisle.

Like I said, I forget time.  That I won't have time to read all these, that I should be studying for the exam the next morning, that I have a stack of books at home already waiting to be read.  And that I'm a student with a tight bugdet often doesn't click in until I'm getting ready to go through the checkout.  Sometimes I manage to part with some, knowing I'll meet them in other places at other times.  But I rarely escape without at least one book in my arm.

This is my burden as an English student.  What about you? You're in your favorite kind of store: what is something you couldn't leave without?  Leave a comment!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Copper Opera. 

What is it?  An enigma. A rip-off from Brecht's Three Penny deal.  A police officer singing soprano.

Actually, it's this:

I painted it for a silent auction at my school.  It was based off a sketch I made one day in math class when I was in one of my less attentive frames of mind: it is a woman singing in the midst of bleak reality, not too far off from how I was feeling, regarding the whitewashed class room and the pale hum and flicker of the projecter.  I liked the idea of painting something grayscale, and I feel it did the mood of the painting justice.  My roommate, who now owns the painting, says it is could be the visual manifestation of Canadian literature.  Not too sure about that.

But I liked the way its name worked phonetically: cOpper OperA - so much that it is now the name of this blog and the script I'm writing for ScriptFrenzy.  I'm just starting on page ten, by the way.  And the quote in the current heading of this blog is a line the Poet character opens the play with:  "Your golden buttons are painted brass, and your most prized possession may be a copper crucifix."  Surfaces are worthless: it's what lives at the core that moves us, changes us, shapes us.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On The Edge of the Frenzy

Only eighty minutes left...
and then, I will willingly sacrifice all my free time to its appetite
one word morsel at a time; but I have no plot.

Writer's block is like losing
a staring contest to a gargoyle
I saw one today, behind glass, guarding
someone's second-story patio

Only seventy-four minutes left...
'til I plunge into a non-existant screen reality-
pieces of my mind; but I have no plot.

Pennies fall in this Copper Opera,
scatter as a false Mack grips the handle
of his inky quill, prepared to kill
time between inspirations with tic-tac-toe

Only seventy-one minutes left...
and then begins Script Frenzy
"30 days. 100 pages. April"
I'm in, I guess...but I still have no plot!

Check it out, aspiring playwrights/ graphic novelists:

Prayers for sanity through this writing madness would be much appreciated (: Peace kids! Oh, and happy Holy Week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Can Tell, This Is Going To Be a Terrible Procrastination Tool

I would like to vent, if I may?

Today began well: people were presenting character monolouges, and it was amazing how unique each one was!  There was an Anonymous internet user addicted to the letter 'a', Moses, Superman, a child who did not want to have a bath, a child telling her teddy bear about her new home, the director who won an Oscar this year, a teenage bride in Afghanistan...Though the stage lighting I chose for mine was too top heavy, I portrayed my one armed character almost exactly as I had practiced, though with more pocketed hand.  It'll be great to see the presentations on Wednesday! PS: For those wondering, I am not a drama kid.  I love Drama, and I'd like to be involved in theatre for the rest of my life, but I'm not a drama kid!

The shadow over my day was my unfinished Shakespeare essay.  I meant to work on it last night, but I fell asleep in the study lounge beside my computer and didn't wake up until 7:00.  I ended up skipping a class to work on it.  Shame shame.

I also misplaced a book, which had my student ID in it, and usually I'd be okay with that; but today for some reason it just really grated on me.  It did turn up, as I trusted it would, but the clouds I endured during its absence put a damper on all my creative energy.

Luckily, there was a meeting with my group for our final project in drama tonight, and that cheered me much; we're planning on doing a piece about the growing secular influence in the Church, and there's going to be music!  I've been playing so much piano this year and in front of people, it's crazy! Thanks Mom for all those lessons when I was a kid!

Anyhow, I've had ice cream, music practice time, a trip to the library, a visit to Facebook, and a couple chapters of Middlemarch - I should be good to finish my essay now, right?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Beginning of the Blog

Little did I know that today I would be making a blog page of my very own.

I've seen them around: artists, writers, social activists- they all seem to have these blogs. I am only two of these things, though I have been called a Socialist at times by certain people who love Big Brother. I'm also not a proficient speller, so I'm glad this thing has a spell check.  Truely, though, I hope through this page to be able to improve my writing, as well entertain and inform anyone who chances upon it.

Dawn of ART of Humungous Proportions helped me in this page's construction and taught me what widgets are and how to post pictures and all that jazz - we discovered how glitchy this program, or perhaps my computer, can be.

In closing of this introductory post I wish to draw your attention to the picture to your right: and draw your own conclusions about what it means.

Well, thanks for stopping by!