Went to visit on the occasion, along with Merle and Michael and his wife, Gina (Michael is the Michael from grade 1, mentioned near the beginning of Names). Weve perhaps (finally) left the 19th century behind in terms of thinking about poetry. Sun on red-yellow trees outside the window, forecast for great weather. I've been up since , finishing off grading a set of assignments from one of my classes. Sunday evening will be a focal point for the next few months. All this is made more poignant by her passing, back in 2009... As well as the above, Barking Dogs and Blue Limbo thrive at Phoenix Pick, and is a gateway to the others -- indeed, to all books... For our Saturday Night at the Movies, Merle, Daniel and I watched a DVD of Slumdog Millionaire last night (picked it out of a Bargain Bin at Best Buy for .99). If you're old enough, you know what I'm talking about (advertised in the back of every comic book in our long-ago youth... A terrific book about a fascinating figure -- one who commingled fabulous material success and wealth, power and celebrity with multiple personal tragedies involving 5 of his 9 children (2 sons -- JFK, RFK -- assassinated; his eldest, Joe, shot down over the English channel during WW2 at age 29; a daughter -- Kathleen -- died in a plane crash in the late 40s; his eldest daughter -- Rosemary -- spending her adult life in care facilities for the mentally handicapped. Two World Wars, the Roaring Twenties, the Stock Market Crash, the Depression, then the 50s and 60s. We're big fans of the prequel (Taken), and can't be dissuaded. (Quite different from the film, which uses only its central idea). Unlike the short title novel, they never transcend their genre and seem contrived, occasionally clever, and rather empty ultimately. It's a fine piece of suspenseful vampire lore, from the writer who also penned the book from which the 1957 film The Incredible Shrinking Man evolved. Clearly, I've been offered the opportunity to teach 2 writing courses at The University of Western Ontario this coming Fall, and have accepted. The Toronto Public Library is sponsoring a Canada Council, Heritage Reading Series in April and May, focusing on Speculative Fiction.
Re-read a novel from long ago and it still holds up as a powerful, fascinating book. Stewart (1895-1980) originally published in 1949 (and never out of print). Not-so-good: I've got a small cataract in my left eye. In short, its readership is a unique demographic, which although focused on the academic community, has a broader, interesting reach. Two guys cruising the famous highway in a 1960 Corvette. Gone is the long-held Tower logo, and in its stead... This term's Fundamentals of Creative Writing class has 23 students. Burke's novel is his 30th book, I believe, and I've read (nearly) all of 'em. In the Book Biz, this is what's called a High Concept novel, and this is about as High Concept as you can get. I'd pretty much thought I was immune to these kinds of things, but surprised myself pleasantly with the kick I got out of Reading in front of the Western crowd, which included students and faculty. It was first published in the United States (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) in 1985, and since that time has been published in Italy and France (in translation), and twice more in Canada. The synchronicity lies in the fact that Blue Limbo is based on the central idea of the story Legacy -- the notion that in the near-future, a device is available that allows one to Revive a person's brain for up to 4 weeks after he/she has died... my father, if he were alive, would've been 107 last Friday, December 2. It's a quality production, run by knowledgable, talented, dedicated folk. So we've triply enjoyed any good summery weather that has managed to slip through the weird phenomenon. This kind of crossroad takes your measure, unflinchingly. Was contacted by York University in Toronto about the possibility of teaching a course called Prose: Argumentation and Style (starting this Fall), and after mulling it over, have decided it just isn't quite what I want to do at this point in my life. My courses at Western are creative writing workshops, and have a maximum enrolment of 26.
Stewart was a professor of English at UC Berkeley for over 30 years. It's the beginning of something that's going to have to be dealt with at some point down the line. I've been teaching Creative Writing in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western since 2005. If you're of my vintage, the number (66) may have another curious resonance. The theme song (by Nelson Riddle, of Batman theme fame) was a minor hit back in '62 as well. The 24th and 25th were civilized, enjoyable, amenable days... The one-word identity, they've decided, is how they want to be perceived, perhaps making the university sound less regional. Had our first workshop last week, so things are developing as they should. According to the reviewers, this one's supposed to be great. I'm also a believer in Connelly's ability to deliver top-of-the-line entertainment every time out. It's gotten very good reviews -- been much better received than most of King's previous work. The last one was in the Crime Writers of Canada anthology, Over the Edge, back in 2000. for personal communication, settling of estates, final goodbyes if the death was sudden and unexpected -- and for law enforcement, the solving of murders. They pay for the fiction they publish online, keep it on their web site for 2 years, then archive it with Library and Archives Canada. Been in the throes of summer -- and it's been a good one, albeit a strange one (especially the weather). Just returned from a 2-week vacation at 2 separate rented cottages in northern Ontario (near Bancroft, Ontario). This one, not even nominated, is a better film.)Family update: my brother Dennis is on his second round of chemotherapy (see May 11 and April 24 entries below). Everything's as positive as can be hoped for, given the circumstances. It's really apples and oranges when you compare them -- although the chance to catch on at York is indeed tempting. Family update: my brother Dennis has had his tracheotomy, has had a gastric tube inserted in his stomach, and begins his chemotherapy tomorrow (cf. I had a chance to visit him today, and he seems remarkably strong about it all.
I think most of us are in this same boat, sailing blindly into the future. (Same thing happened the time I tried James Patterson. Three older John Clarkson novels: much better summer fare. Best book recently, though: The Singer's Gun, by Emily St. (You might recall her name from my Dec 22, 2015 posting.) Complex, well written, engaging, morally ambiguous. Two years ago, in an earlier post (April 20, 2014, below Check it out) I made my case for not wanting Change in my life. The latest: Western University has changed the system of its mail completely. The anxiety has been rising, and Ive been dealing with it. The technology wont sit still, so I gritted my teeth migrated along with the other captive immigrants. Sold in a couple of days for virtually what I paid for it 16 years ago. I think I managed to keep it in one of those time warps Ive come to appreciate. Merle, Daniel and I watched DVDs of Collateral and Bull Durham -- both under-rated movies -- and Merle and I are re-watching Breaking Bad the same way (up to Season 4). The Reading at The Round Venue 2 nights ago was, frankly, a funky blast. Merle, Daniel, Conor, Jenn and Emily Perkins (Emily is my nephew Patricks daughter, which make her my grand-niece I think) and her man Mike were there. And Xmas is coming at us headlong (great word, headlong... And did I mention that I made the University Students' Council Teaching Honour Roll for the academic year 2012-2013? As I've said (below, Dec 4/11), just when I figure I'm beyond caring about stuff like this, I surprise myself by realizing that I'm gratified by any sort of recognition. What I couldn't get my head around was the amount of dismemberment and disfigurement that accompanies it all. I think we're just talking about simple bad taste here. In fact, I think I'll give any others in the series a pass. Hoping the thaw continues at a moderate pace so there's no flooding. I realize it's not anywhere near state-of-the-art, but that's fine by me.
And while Im at it, The Danforth Review (TDR) also published a previous piece of my autobiographical fiction" back in 2008, which I dont believe Ive ever linked up on this site. Couldnt stay interested in the story, no distinctive voice). And finally, Ive resorted to Elmore Leonards novels (once more) to get me through my summertime leisure. Long past time I should have checked in and updated. Wrapped up my classes at Western back in the early part of April. And my colleague from Western, Kathryn Mockler, showed up a wonderful surprise. The Leafs traded Kessel and the Jays whomped the Red Sox 11-2. Most of the sites I visit have evolved during that span from curious, interesting personal spaces to pretty dazzling, slick entities, maintained by professional web-hosters (precision menus, search engines...).
Its been published in the September, 2016 issue of the online literary journal The Danforth Review. I pore over my grade school teachers and the times (the 1950s), trying to make sense of it all. Toronto traffic aint what it used to be, and my eyes arent what they used to be either (cataracts, which will need attention in the near future). I wrote a small (800 word) piece I titled simply Names, which is a kind of slip back in time to the 1950s and some of my grade school memories. The Danforth Review (see Feb 19 entry below too) picked it up and will publish it online in September. Only 3 (of 27) in the Writing Department were singled out (my first time). Students considering this course should take Writing 2218F first in order to ensure thay are adequately prepared." Reading Mark Greaney's Dead Eye right now. And a conscious decision to stress positive stuff in this entry, in the Xmas spirit. Gollancz, primarily a genre publisher now, has venerable roots (Sir Victor Gollancz founded it in 1927), and published George Orwell, A. The plan: I'll leave Toronto in the afternoon for Western, and leave London in the afternoon the next day to return home to Toronto. I know it's the right thing for him to do, but he's been a part of the household for such a long time that he'll be missed on a daily basis. He's only 10 minutes away, and we're expecting him back for dinner weekly (right now, we've agreed on Tuesdays). We'll view them on successive weekends in the near future. These older films work well with kids because they're the right degree of "scary" without going over the top like the graphic and adult modern versions. The protagonist is supposed to be a somewhat darkly charming sociopathic killer, who only kills "those who deserve it." It's written in a black-humour, tongue-in-cheek style that's meant to take you to strange places in a bizarre fashion. Think I'll scout up the 1953 DVD of Invaders From Mars next. I saw it at the Imperial 6 in downtown Toronto with my oldest son Conor when he was 3 years old and we loved it. Nearly record snowfall this year for Toronto, but of late you can feel spring hovering. We didn't really go anywhere (with the exception of a one-night-stay at the Delta Chelsea downtown and a dinner at Red Lobster...