radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
You can hear everything that crosses the roof of the Beautiful Shed, including squirrels, cats, rain, raccoons, and hail. My sleep was thin last night; I think I heard each in turn and in combination. I definitely heard the hail sometime in the small hours. Therefore, here is another bit of a story about the cold, since it is on my mind.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

No particular title )

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mostly I was wishing for the lyricism of a recent post of [personal profile] aldersprig's.


Audio version of this post here.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/4617.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.
radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
A bit of my writing will be published in an academic journal. My brief contribution is not a full-on peer-reviewed paper -- only a note. Still, this is a small pleasing thing.

I ought to be working right now, but I'm suffering from the worst brain fag. These last two weeks were a real test of... something. I'm not convinced that I passed.

If it was hard, it means I grew as a person, right? I feel more like I shrank.

Putting a class together -- not just listing readings and sorting slides and assigning assignments, but wrighting it, building something like a continous experience, trying to fit the you know Lego bricks of knowledge one into the other until they make -- whatever they make -- the steampunk Millenium Falcon of Knowledge -- there are so many things I think will fit and then they don't -- unexpected gaps where I needed a fiddly piece I didn't think of until afterwards.

Okay, so, what really happened was that today a student gave me some advice on how to organize the class he's in. This was the same advice another instructor had given me before the class started. I had chosen not to take this advice but to do something else instead. And they were both right -- I should have done it their way.

What is the name for that feeling? Dumb Decision Feeling. I like it not.


*Lego Steampunk Millenium Falcon is, of course, actually a thing. Everything is a thing.
radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
...remarkable that they exist at all, is what I'm saying. As opposed to remarkable in themselves. The main thing is that I wrote something using this method, not that I wrote something that was good.

Anyway. I'll just give you the highlights.

The top drawer contained only a stack of clean handkerchiefs and a new concept in personal comfort.

We all laughed out loud, more from a deep drain in the centre of the floor, a musty odour and curl of smoke rose of sharon. Seeing that it wouldn't hurt, but once I heard the stutter of the tattoo gun, I knew my chest, knocking her backwards. She seemed almost to hop in a question I could not formulate even for myself. "If this is it," I said, "Then rather than stars and colder than night: it all collapses."

This process works better with more than one person, clearly. Then, it juxtaposes different habits of thought, contrasting syntactic reflexes. Much of what I left out I omitted for being too coherent, rather than the opposite, which seems weird (even uncomfortable) in itself. Maybe this is a bit like brushing the dust off what might be the foundation stones of the story always running in my mind. Or maybe it's February.

radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
I've been struggling to write this winter. Eventually I broke down and started creating little apparatus* to generate writing independently of my shivering ego.

On the kitchen counter, I have a pile of yellow notepaper with the top folded over and cellotaped into an increasingly tight and sticky roll. In the morning (when I remember) I write a line on each of four sheets, finishing with the first word of the next line, which is always the same word, so that I have four more or less identical sheets. Then I scramble them and try (usually with success, I am faintly alarmed to admit) to forget what I wrote. The next day I take up with a line of something completely different, ending on a new word.

I had no conscious sense of creating continuity -- tried actively to disrupt the possibility of picking up the same story from line to line on the same sheet. Still, order manifests, or my preoccupations do.

I thought it might be time to open one. The tape gave me some trouble, but here is a vaguely gothic fragment from January:

The young man rolled his ghostly eyes and blew out an intricate latticework of smoke. Should I tremble feverishly as he opened the envelope -- so badly that the paper slipped from the government. I turned it over in my hands. I knew I should open it, but someow doing that I mean what I say -- or else what is left for me?" He struck himself violently in the chest bound in brass sitting in the middle of the floor. Its lock was shaped like a crescent moon. A sudden panic gripped the dog -- some sort of wordless existential horror. He barked, but rather than enough time to discover what you feel. What is your answer? My God, what is it you want?"

But he was silent.


*I wanted to put apparati, but apparently that is bad Latin and the plural of apparatus is apparatus, or apparatuses.
radfrac_archive_full: (john simm)
I read at the local open mic Friday, and then that night I dreamed an urban portal fantasy -- a gate between two worlds that weren't very different from one another, except that the new world had fewer people. Things took an uncomfortable turn when, as I sat in his lap, my friend's husband wanted to demonstrate to me how someone could be strangled, so I elected to return across the portal.

At intervals I become addicted to games on my iPod -- chasing the dopamine hit. Eventually I remove them, until another game captures me. I can proof myself against the previous game, but somehow I can never prevent the new hook. It's like falling in love without the meaningful connection (or fantasy thereof).

The game I've been hooked on for the last -- year or so? -- really hooked on, in that way where you quit and go back, quit and go back -- is the app version of the tabletop game Agricola. I've actually pretty much cracked how to beat the AI every time, which is unprecedented for me and any game. It works for me because it's turn-based, founded on hoarding, and has incredibly low stakes (you're a subsistence farmer and if you get a cow you are SO HAPPY.)

I have a lot of jouissance locked in this game, and I need to release it so that I can have it back in my life. I know I should come up with writing exercises that have elements of the strategy, iteration, and structure of the game -- as someone said in a podcast today, "What is a sonnet but a game you're trying to win?"

I am pants at sonnets, though, so I... am writing haiku. About the game. To keep from playing the game.

Do not play your phone
app. Write a haiku instead.
One for every* round.

Golden grain: so hard
to turn into food, yet with
oven: abundance.

Vegetables, you
are less nutritious, except
with expansion packs.

Market woman, your
generosity is huge
but late in the game.


*Or I guess that should be "ev'ry." I have a BC Interior accent, which tends to drop out whole syllables as a waste of breath. We definitely say "pome" rather than "po-ehm." I've let "vegetables" scan with four syllables, but I always say "vejt'bls."
radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
This won't fit in the word count of the essay I'm writing, which is about Star Trek, but I wanted to share it:

It was about this same time that I first saw Battle of the Planets. Planets was an imported anime series dubbed and re-edited for North American consumption. It concerned a group of teenagers tasked to protect the earth in a giant birdlike spaceship. Each team member had a helmet with a translucent visor in the shape of a different bird’s beak. As a child, I found this a brilliant aesthetic choice.

Well into my adult life I remembered Battle of the Planets as an excruciatingly poignant and beautiful story — right up until I saw an episode for the first time in thirty years and realized that it was rubbish.

radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
I have something here in my hand, she said.
What is it? Shouted the children, though we all knew.
It's a story, she said.
About a girl? Shouted one child. About a boy? Shouted another.
Yes, about a girl and a boy, she said.
Were they brother and sister?
Yes, and they were twins. They looked exactly alike. And they had a beautiful blue boat.
Did the boat sink?
It did, she affirmed.
Did they die? I cried out in an ecstasy of catastrophism. I had seen a picture of a shipwreck, bodies green and beautiful wrack upon the waves.
No, they didn't die, she said. They sank very deep down into the sea, and there they met a mermaid who taught them to breathe underwater. But I had stopped listening out of embarrassment, since I was the only one who had not known that for a story to be a story, it must go on.
radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
So I was thinking about why the last story felt kind of limp.

First I thought it was the length, but I think actually it's not a formal issue -- not the thing that's bothering me, anyway. It's the emotional content--it wants. I think probably a story shouldn't want anything (or shouldn't appear to.) It should present something, and leave you to feel how you feel. Hopefully really bad.

So maybe this, written over lunch, gets a little closer to what I wanted to do with the previous story. )

(901 words)
radfrac_archive_full: (dichotomy)
Not 1000 words, but by some antique measure the number of words that could be stored in 1k of memory (about 200).

Green and Red

From a red square (sandstone), you could move to any adjacent green square (lawn). From a green square, you could move either onto a red square or two green squares along any diagonal. The trick was that whatever you did had to be the opposite of your previous turn. We didn't strictly define "the opposite," though we quickly ruled out "opposite opposites." You also had to say "no bouncebacks" or else it was a fair move to zoom up and down the green diagonals, bouncing off the stone wall at the west end of the lawn, until you fell down breathless or somebody got hurt.

The stated goal was to reach the east side, which you had to do exactly -- you had to step off using a fair and opposite move. Half the time the goal was just to be standing smugly in the way of the other players' moves.

Towards the end we developed the rule that you could also use your red square turn to "freeze" another player, meaning that they could not take their next turn. One evening when just the two of us were left, I shouted "freeze" over and over again, drunk on your enraged immobility, my own ecstatic stillness, until it got too dark to see.
radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
So I'm considering starting up blogging again, but with more focus on just creative work, and on either Wordpress or Blogger. Thoughts?

radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
For some reason, I am watching Brent Spiner's video reel on his website. I followed the link from Twitter in an effort to discover whether it was Really Him.

This is the sort of thing I find myself doing, given the means and the age, after a thirteen-hour day kicking data up a hill.

Small-d data, not Data. I was always fond of Data. I am always fond of the stiffly rational outsider who apparently comes standard issue with any Star Trek posting since the original Mr. S was such a hit. Why ruin a good formula?

Good news about the reading.


Right. It doesn't seem to have been announced here yet*, but it's on June 25th in Vancouver, for those who are in that vicinity, as part of the Robson Reading Series. The good news bit is that there is an honorarium and a travel stipend.

That good news is really just for me. Your good news is, hey, free reading in Vancouver by mopey guys with no children.

This latest dividend will raise my total writing income to date to... $450, plus ferry fare. I'm really very impressed with myself.

Wait, no, about a decade-fifty ago in Prince George I won three coffee table books of art reproductions in successive years of a local writing contest. The first year I came fifth (?) and won two books of Robert Bateman. The next year I came first and won a single volume of somebody else. Then I retired from the field to let the youth have their share of the world's dwindling population of wild animal prints.

Oh, and I was once paid $50 to write a poem for someone's wedding, but I don't think they liked it very much.

Actually, I've made pots of money at this, if you count that essay on the history of currency commissioned by "Susan".

Right, that's the other thing -- first book review out on Sunday. Reading it next to the other reviews gave me some sense of things I ought to have done -- made it more concrete, begun with an interesting trivium, this kind of thing. I hope they give me another.


*Rendering that link moot

Book Launch

Sep. 5th, 2008 02:56 pm
radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
September 30th. Open Space Gallery (510 Fort St)

More information as it becomes available. I should be getting an e-invite soon (since it's already the 5th).

In other news:

Novel grows new tentacles before my eyes.

New course terrifying.

Haircut pending.

radfrac_archive_full: (Default)
"My aim is to go to the very essential elements of an emotion or sensation and its plastic display in the mind, and at the same time try to capture the energy of that emotion expressed in breath or movement through rhythm, and to create with both a small cosmos with its particular currents and possibilities and then let it flow."

--Coral Bracho
radfrac_archive_full: (robot love)
If you happened for some obscure reason to want to have a look at the cover of Nobody's Father, which indeed is that book those kind people are paying me money to be in:

Then here it is. Going to press in September, Dog willing.



Apr. 11th, 2008 04:52 pm
radfrac_archive_full: (Ben Butley)
I'm glad the library is open again. [livejournal.com profile] inlandsea, I'm not sure, but it seems like on fairly good terms for the employees?

I spent yesterday afternoon at Central to celebrate. I used the computers. I wandered the stacks. I picked up completely random books and smelled them. I did some writing upstairs in a carrel, with the light slanting in through the vertical blinds, shining on the laminate. Every so often I'd look up and see who was going into Smith's.

I can READ ANYTHING I WANT NOW. To celebrate, I brought home The History of Street Literature. Though I have The Indian Clerk in my bag.

radfrac_archive_full: (Harold Ross of the New Yorker)
As I was saying ruefully to [livejournal.com profile] inlandsea last night, I see that I'm going to have to be a grownup about this.

I like to tell stories. My life is usually quiet. I think I owe the storytelling urge more adventure than I give it. My stories end up mostly being about small seasonal changes and emotional near misses, because that's what my life seems to be composed of.

So this story is happening to me right now, and I want to tell it

The part we're at right now is: I have to get a brain and spine MRI, and they're rushing it. One of those good news/bad news things.

I've always wanted to be one of those people who is stoic and brave and you only find out years later that they suffered terribly.

However, as [livejournal.com profile] lemon_pickle says: play to your strengths. The truth is, as soon as I can make a story out of something, I want to tell it. The more I tell the story, refine it, solidify it, the better I feel.

Other people, though. They're busy. They're deep in their own stories.

The two things I mean by being a grownup are: If I want someone to listen to me, I have to ask them to. And I have to accept it when they can't.

For example, I was resenting this friend of mine. He's the one who pointed out that I should see a doctor in the first place. I took his frankness as interest, and I was hurt that he hasn't called me or asked me how I am.

Never mind that he's desperately trying to pull together funding for his PhD, find steady work, deal with his own health and his own life. Clearly, upon hearing that I had to see a neurologist, he ought to have driven directly to my house, given me a big hug, and declared (he's a declarer): Everything's going to be fine.

Yet he seems unaware of this sensible course of action.

I'm exactly the same way. I don't know my part in the script of his pain any more than he knows his in mine. I can't always give someone what they want, or even tell them clearly that I can't give it. I'm afraid to ask about hard things. I'm afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. Or I'm tired. Or I'm lazy.

So. It occurs to me that this LiveJournal is just about right.

I might be boring, but I don't have to worry that I'm boring. No one is being held captive by politeness or guilt. I don't have to know that they'd really rather be watching Torchwood (as indeed would I). If you'd rather watch Torchwood, you can. Your attention can drift off mid-sentence and you won't hurt my feelings. You can skip the dull bits, or ignore the entire narrative. I'll never know the difference. I'll get to tell the story. That will make me feel better.


So me, I want miles and miles of attention and adoration and comfort and praise. And presents. And giraffes.

In lieu of that, I admit I would not mind the occasional hug.

radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
I need a title for the anthology article.

I think it is now okay to tell you that it is a personal essay about being a man who has decided not to have children.

There is some soul-searching, but more of the easter egg hunt variety. I was going for a sort of David Sedaris tone. I talk about marriage and compare it to a TARDIS (bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.)

Do any clever puns present themselves? Soul-searching innuendos? Ironic references to obscure social theories? Rhymes?

I also need to write a bio, so if you have any ideas for what should go in it -- complete unfamiliarity with my CV should be no barrier.

radfrac_archive_full: (hunnybear)
that I'm going to be in the anthology.

radfrac_archive_full: (writing)
The other kind.

Fiction piece accepted for This Side of West, the university writing students' magazine. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] geniusoutlaws for the submission info. Have to send .doc and .bio.

I did submit to the Geist postcard story contest. (And thanks [livejournal.com profile] argus_in_tights.) I did so at the last possible moment. It's likely that the postmark won't even get me in under. I got it all wrong I'm sure. Terrible in every respect. The reward here is in having made myself do the thing at all.

Anyway I'll get a subscription to Geist out of it. Assuming they cash late cheques.

And I was terribly proactive and made an inquiry about the anthology I submitted to. The editor is an excellent sort who I think won't mind an informal email inquiry after +/- five months.

radfrac_archive_full: (And you wonder...)
It's that time of year when my archive looks much more impressive than it is, because I appear to have been writing here for six years (2003-2008), even though I started in late December 2003, and this is early days 2008, which means it's only about four.

Still, I have been doing it for four years. At least three and usually more like twelve times a month I write something and make it public. I've had a kind of continuous writing practise for more than four years. That's something.

You know, though, I don't think it's the something I want.

I've been thinking. I don't think that keeping a Livejournal is making me a better writer. )



*Who's been reading Foucault? Isn't he cute? Dragging that word around like a kitten with a toilet-paper roll.

**Currently adorned with a rain-bleary pen-and-ink drawing of a shirtless man leaning on an inexplicable railing.


radfrac_archive_full: (Default)

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