The Blog

A page for blog posts.

As our upcoming episode is about blogs, I’m going to write a blog post about them.

Trying to keep up with writing a blog can be frustrating – it’s like that junk drawer you know you have to clean out or the pile of laundry stacking up behind the door: you know you have to do it, and that you’ll feel much better after you’ve done it, but it’s hard and time-consuming and will it really make that much of a difference if you do it or not?

At various points in my life, I’ve attempted to write weekly posts for blogs about everything from literature to a collaborative novel project to inside jokes to theatre (one time I started a WordPress account and wrote blog letters to an imaginary friend in Russia). Although my enthusiasm at the start of these projects was high, it didn’t take long for my post count to go from once a week to once a month. This past year I’ve rarely blogged at all. And this makes me sad.

I have friends who blog more consistently than I do. One writes literary reviews. One reflects on her art projects and creative things her family does together. Another friend’s blog is dedicated entirely to food. And another’s blog supplements her photography website, posting photos and the stories behind them. I admire them! Not only for their dedication to the medium, but the obvious passion they have for their topic.

That’s something else about blogs. Not only are they a place to share and work out ideas, they’re a place to focus. Focus on putting those particular passions into words, to focus on that one thing in life that’s important enough to tell the whole world about.

And I suppose that by blogging here on Hardcover, I’ve found a bit of focus myself. Thanks, blog! You really know how to help a writer out.

There’s this new cafe on Pelisser, a delightful place that was recommended to us by a friend.

 

March 21 Bean N’ Leaf brews their amazing pour-over coffee in a house turned whimsical cafe, displaying chemistry set-styled beakers on the front counter, colourful knick-knacks, and encouraging messages on the walls. Their front sitting area is sunlit and open and there’s a quiet study area upstairs.

 

We enjoyed the outdoor seating as we planned our upcoming episode. From the green tea cookies and croissants to the iced coffee and tea, everything was fresh and flavourful. Henry Kim also offered us a sample of dutch coffee over ice, which takes 12 hours to brew as it is made with cold water.

 

A friendly and welcoming place. Definitely recommended!

 

march 21

 

 

Went to see Twelfth Night on the 20th. It was my first Shakespeare play. I know, I know what kind of animal am I [USE A COASTER, YOU ANIMAL] {SEE MORE SHAKESPEARE} (WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A CHESS SET) – But I digress. I’ve READ Shakespeare before, including Twelfth Night, but (Oh, right, digressing..)

 

It was awesome! It was set in the 1920s (Not 1920’s) – And it was also like, sudo set in Detroit/Windsor. Instead of being shipwrecked, it was falling through the ice in the Detroit River. The University Players put it on and it was in one of the theatres on campus.

Hey, look! We can float on those rum barrels! Those aren’t rum barrels?

 

All the language and the characters were the same but it was all decked out in Art Deco and the like. They changed some language to say Windsor, Detroit, things like that. There’s a part with a Temperance movement and it’s hilarious.

Most of the actors in the show were graduating this year and this was their last production. A fitting end! I enjoyed.

There’s a really cool discussion going on on Reddit right now:

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2ys9zq/its_womens_history_month_who_are_your_favorite/

 

I’ll let the thread speak for itself. Our women episode airs on Monday and we interview two women authors, but I feel like we can talk about women and writing so, so, so much more.

Growing up, I’d read maybe 4 or 5 books by women but it’s not until my 20s that I discovered the wonderful works of some female greats: Plath, Dickinson, Shelley, Atwood, Munro, these are all household names that I only really discovered like, 8 years ago.

Of the last 6 books I’ve read, 3 have been by women. (Those are: Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Year of the Flood, The Brothers Karamazov, Murder in Hum Harbour, and Maddaddam)

Brittni’s also written a novel, but it’s not done yet. Stay tuned for her’s: It’s called “Shuffle”

I’d be wont to say the most famous poem ever written is probably the most famous song ever written, which may or may not be “Imagine”.

But, strictly talking about written poems that aren’t songs, (We’ll get into poems that are songs soon, promise!) – I’d say the most famous poem is probably Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

How do I words?

How do I words?

 

BUT, I Googled it, and Google came up with this, (Which is also a fantastic poem):

A Dream Within A Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow–
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand–
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep–while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

 

Or, even “The Raven”, also by Poe.

 

What do you think?

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a theatre junkie. Before moving to Windsor, I got caught up in the drama scene at my University, eventually expanding my involvement to community theatre, co-founding a drama collective and working as a stage manager at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. All this to say: for three years of my life, I ate, breathed, and dreamed stage life and saw myself making a go of it career-wise. Hasn’t quite worked out that way, but I’ve still got a soft spot for all things dramatic.

Chekhov is a rad dude. Seriously, if you haven’t read the guy’s short stories, check him out. Chekhov is known for his wonderful characters and the realistic and complicated ways in which they interact with each other and the world around them. His keen observation and sense of humour contribute to the delightful and, at times, emotionally devastating effect of his writing. Something very beautiful and true and sad happens when you read a Chekhov short story or see a Chekhov play (done well).

I went to see To Moscow at the University of Windsor last week not really knowing what to expect. I have seen some very good plays there, but also some lackluster ones. Chekhov is tricky: his plays can be tedious and speeches can drag if placed in the wrong hands. Would a play about his life a work be equally difficult to pull off? With the skill of director Liza Balkan working with an absolutely amazing script by Karen Sunde, not to mention the vibrant performances from the cast, this play engaged my attention and heart from the moment I entered the theatre.

A couple of wonderful things: actors warming up and chatting onstage before the show began, inviting us to be a part of this backstage camaraderie usually hidden from the audience; the comedic use of character “tics” that made us notice characters as both being acted and as being real people; blocking, costumes, the set and the use of the spinning door, all fantastically done; how unforced the scripted commentary on acting and theatre felt; and the engaging vivacity of every single character that “made us love them”, as Konstantin tells Chekhov near the end of the play. I felt leaving the theatre that I had truly seen theatre for perhaps the first time in my life.

Tennessee Williams said that the words making up a script are only a blueprint. It’s up to the actors, director, backstage crew, designers, and managers to build a house. Not only did the UPlayers build these words up, they have truly brought them to life. Bravo!

Some days, as I’m crossing the city by foot, I see or hear something that sparks a line of poetry or the chorus of a song. You know how it is. Words are everywhere, and our brains are good at making connections between art and real life. That’s one of the ways we determine if art is good or bad: it’s good to us if it resonates with our personal experience.

One of my favourite books (’cause how can you narrow down all books to only one favourite?) got its special place on my bookshelf because the main character was dealing with family shit and metaphysical quandries that I’ve struggled with in my own life. Real life and art are connected, and influence each other: reading that book changed the way I approached theology and family, as one example. And that’s what good writing should do: it should turn up in the most unexpected and relevant places and help us to see our world and ourselves (so familiar to us) from a different angle, with a renewed perspective.

So anyway, I was walking down the street after Windsor‘s already legendary snow day of February 2nd, and I was nearly thwarted by this:

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Which reminded me of Robert Frost‘s road less traveled (though, this was a sidewalk on one of Windsor’s major roads, so it’s not entirely applicable. When the road most traveled by looks like the road less traveled by, how do we choose???)

And this wonderful poem by Shel Silverstein:
sidewalk

So besides the obvious political message of this post (clear your sidewalks, Windsor. Pedestrians are people too!), I also took something literary from the experience: words that are written in one context can change and grow through the mind and experience of the reader. That’s something else we can thank Moderism for: an intertextual understanding of how we are influenced by the words of our past, how we interact with them in the present, so we can see them in a new context, the context of our own experience.

If I was an inventor and had a sizable grant from a government to develop whatever I wanted, perhaps I would work on edible books.

Read a book for lunch. Consume words with both your eyes and your mouth! Tastes like a real clockwork orange! Or try our grapes of wrath flavour: novels that set your teeth on edge!

There’s a market for that, right? I mean, who these days wants to clutter their rooms with dog-eared paperbacks and ratty hardcovers? It’s a multi-purpose purchase, and we all know how popular those are. DIY culture’s all over that: the mason jars you can use as a candle holder or a coin collector, the perforated plastic bin you can store ribbon in and use as a dispenser. Edible books are green friendly too! No more discarded copies of Twilight lying around to be stumbled upon by poor unsuspectings.

Edible Books. Ed-Books, they could be called.

Useful! Nutritional! Brain food!

…oh. I did a Google search, and my idea’s not as original as I thought. There’s already an edible book festival. It’s not quite the same thing, though. I mean, anyone can make a cake shaped like a book, but who actually wants to eat paper copies? I would, absolutely. It’s like a more holistic way of reading literature. Digest the material more thoroughly.

Unless it tasted like green eggs and ham. I do not like green eggs and ham.