Archive for December, 2016

birrell

 

Growing up, I believed in
the power
of the think-through.

If I could think it through, to the worst, and still
face it, the thing that plagued me, it would recede
and wither, wisp its way into fantasy,
an oft-banished foe.

But Donald Trump is President and Leonard Cohen is dead.

Yesterday I saw a kid’s glove mushed into the golden
leaves and muck of the sidewalk. Fuzzy, striped pink – magic
minis; they grow from tiny to ginormous
like the Grinch’s too-small heart – expanding
to host legions.

So I think it through.

She was playing, or being dragged by a harried
mother. It slipped from her grasp, tumbled
from her pocket. Forgotten. There will be a scramble
next time they leave the house, a patting down of
pockets, an inventory of jacket sleeves and dark corners
behind bins.

But Donald Trump is President and Leonard Cohen is dead.

So I think it through.

The glove is grimy. A flattened cigarette butt
rests next to its ring finger. The word sordid
comes to mind. So: the child was snatched
by a Stranger or a Known Someone, is unsafe,
sobbing, her glove cast off in the struggle.

Lost, lost, lost.

Tell me, where’s the crack that lets the light in?

Because somewhere a little girl is twirling
like a cat after her own tail, spin-searching
for a gone glove.

 

Heather Birrell’s  most recent story collection, Mad Hope, was one of the Globe and Mail’s top 23 Canadian fiction titles of 2012. The Toronto Review of Books called the collection ‘completely enthralling, and profoundly grounded in an empathy for the traumas and moments of relief of simply being human.’ Winner of the Journey Prize for short fiction and the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction, her work has appeared in many North American journals and anthologies. She makes her home in Toronto with her family. www.heatherbirrell.com

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Thanks to the writers and readers who know good trash when they see it.

And thank you all for supporting literacy.

If the donating mood takes you, don’t fight it—the literacy elves at Frontier College will be ever so grateful for any crumbs you can spare. See direct link above. Or here.

 

Happy Hols!

 

The Litter I See Project will return in the new year.

 

 

 

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102

Posted: December 6, 2016 in tim wynne-jones
Tags: , , , ,

wynne-jones

So it comes down to this:

  • CIVE 327 Hydrology and Open Channel Flow

or

  • ENGL 102 Isolation and Alienation

 

I mean I’m going to be a civil engineer, right? Like my father. I just have to live with that. They’re paying my way – the whole ticket — “because a degree ought to lead to real employment in the real world and the real world will always need civil engineers.” Got it, Dad. Really.

Then again, I do need that Arts credit which I’ve been avoiding, because… Well, I don’t know. Because:

  • The Arts building is all the way across campus
  • There are all those books you have to read
  • The kids in the class will totally know — will smell — that I’m not one of them

Is that why?

And it’s not like I couldn’t just “bird” it out and take the Harry Potter course, like a lot of my classmates. I read those books already and you can buy term papers real cheap. Get it out of the way. Get on with my real life.

Okay, decision time. Let’s approach this rationally the way a good engineer would. Let’s be practical because, after all, the world is a hands-on place where everyone acts reasonably towards the common good and what’s useful and sensible and no-nonsense is the rule and will ultimately win the day and make the world a saner and more productive place.

So, what’s on offer?

Choice (1.): “Introduction to the water cycle, flood frequency analysis, design storms. Analysis of hydrographs and rainfall-runoff response mechanisms in urban and natural systems. Mass continuity and water budgets at the watershed scale. Impact of land use change on hydrologic response. Quantification of open channel flow; subcritical and supercritical flow regimes. Dynamic forces on submerged structures and low/scour beneath bridges.”

Or

Choice (2.): “The study of a variety of works centering on the theme of individuals in crisis, the stress being on people at variance with their inner selves, other persons, or their world. The course will discuss the process in which wisdom and maturity are gained as the ultimate products of suffering.”

I’m just going to write down the date, right here. Commit it to memory. Take a deep, shaky breath and face the music. This may be where it all begins to come undone.

 

Tim Wynne-Jones  has written thirty-four books for young and old. He has won two Governor General’s Awards and been short listed six times, most recently for The Emperor of Any Place. He’s won two Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, two Arthur Ellis Awards, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada, as well as an “Edgar” from the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into a dozen languages. Tim was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012.

 

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birrell“…Donald Trump is President and Leonard Cohen is dead.”