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Archive for June, 2008

Final Verdict: I got my scholarship to Humber

Posted by E on June 23, 2008

I’m starting to realize that to be a writer, you can’t write in a vacuum. Even if you have a moral and financial objection to being pitted against other writers in subjective contests that cost an arm and a leg to enter.
To be honest, I haven’t submitted anything to any mag/rag/poetry zine in years. Other than self-publishing my poetry book last year (see it on Amazon), the last time I got published was 6 years ago, when I had 3 pages of poetry appear in Grain Magazine. Why? Partly laziness, partly not enough thick skin to handle the rejection letters, partly lack of funds. When you send out even a few contest entries per year, the cost of entry fees is prohibitive. When you add to this the overwhelming chance of rejection due to editorial subjectivity, you may as well flush the money down the toilet or pay the idiot tax (aka play the lotto).

But when I make up my mind about something, I go for it with a calculated, psychopathic precision and intensity: I live and breathe the carrot in front of me; I sniff it like a hound dog, tracking its scent until it overwhelms my senses, shadowing everything else.

The goal this year: go to the Humber School for Writers’ Summer Workshop. It’s said to be the best program of its kind in the country, and you have the chance to be mentored by some of the most famous and popular Canadian writers of our time. It’s not a cheap course either; at $1000 for six days of instruction, I doubt any talented young people can get to go unless their fees are seriously subsidized.

I imagine that many of the attendants are either retired or wine-sipping middle-aged novice writers who are still plugging away at their daytime professions, likely something safe but still distinguished, say, middle-management perhaps. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Somebody has to pay the writers for their time. But the point is, I’ve had a hard time envisaging how a full-time writer, especially a younger person with student loans and a lower income can afford such exorbitant fees. Unless mommy and daddy pay for it. So I do feel for everyone who also applied to get a scholarship but didn’t get it.

So here’s my update.
The goal: get into Humber by any means necessary.
The means: (twofold)

1) submit a manuscript “portfolio” to Humber directly, and request financial aid/a scholarship (which is evaluated based on a combination of need and talent, and awarded to those who show “considerable promise”)

2) enter the CLGA essay contest, where a full scholarship to Humber would be given to a selected entry

1. The manuscript took me two and a half weeks to pull together (write and edit it to my satisfaction, which is still not what I would call “finished” by any means), and I had to Xpress Post it to Humber to get it just under the deadline
2. The short piece (2500 words) I submitted to the CLGA contest was written in one night. Not bad, for a piece that attracted the editor’s attention (we spoke the day the story was received) and ended up on a shortlist for the scholarship.

The outcome: I got my scholarship!!!!! from the Humber School for Writers directly! So I’ll be going the week of July 12-18.

I will be staying in residence for the week, so if anyone can contribute to the $300 room&board fee, it would be so much appreciated! You can feel good knowing that a future literary figure is forever indebted to you – and if you can spot me at least a portion of the fee, I PROMISE you to send you an autographed, FREE copy of my book when it is eventually published. And every cell, pore and fiber of my being tells me that it will be published.

When I am this certain of something, it always comes to fruition. The opportunity to attend a program I never could have afforded, and the determination to write a brilliant story in a span of a few hours, is proof of this. Remember, anything is possible if you have the burning drive, the unwavering belief in your ability to transcend the universal fear of inadequacy, and the courage to listen to nothing but your own, original voice.

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Never.

The mornings will be spent with my mentor (I’m still not sure who it will be) and a small group of other students. The afternoons will have lectures from other famous writers, publishers and agents. I can’t wait to meet other writers and students and make some connections with fellow brilliant minds 🙂

I’ll try to log in (if I can pick up wireless in residence) and write a few journal entries during the week to let everyone how the course is progressing.

Posted in canadian literature, literature, news, publishing, writer, writing | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

WTF is the problem with Young People F*cking?

Posted by E on June 13, 2008

As so many of you are aware, a little independent film, which may or may not have any artistic value (I haven’t seen it yet, and even if I did, my subjective opinion has no bearing on this post) has splashed into the news, solely because of its cheeky title: Young People F*cking.

Now I don’t really know anything much about it except having heard some convoluted news reports involving Canada Arts Grants and public outrage, of the sort that goes something like: “Is this what our tax dollars are going to,” yadda, yadda, yadda.

Not that I find Arts Grants judges to be much more than an inbred, pat-each-other’s-backs sort, but ask yourself this: If this title should have been called any of the titles below, would anybody in the media have batted an eye, never mind sensationalise it to such a degree that now it is receiving top billing at film fests (as the filmmakers undoubtedly intended)?
Young People Killing
Young People being raped and murdered by psycho cannibals
Young People dismembering each other
Young People blowing each other’s heads off
Young People being torn to shreds and eaten by wild dogs
Young People being murdered by eccentric millionaires in Slovakian torture chambers
Young People being disemboweled by crazy hillbillies
Young People being hunted down by serial killers at roadside stops
Young People cannibalizing each other

Well, what do you think? Would Bill C-10 approve of any of the above? Most likely, if it’s anything like the garbage being produced by Hollywood and the television industry over the last few years? So — how many of those titles I just listed sum up any of the films you might have seen over the past year or so?

Of course, all of that gory, gross stuff is nothing compared to the rather insipid, vacuous act of Young People Fucking.

Well, at least it wasn’t called Young GAY People Fucking. It wouldn’t even make it past the screening room.

Posted in canada, censorship, commentary, culture, gay, media, movie, movie review, news, political correctness, politics, rant, thoughts, violence, wtf | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How the System Failed Angelica Leslie

Posted by E on June 5, 2008

Everyone listening to the news in Canada and even parts of the US has undoubtedly heard of the little eight-month old baby abandoned in the frozen stairwell of a garage near Leslie Street (hence her new name), bleeding from the nose, on a cold day in February.

Dozens of offers of adoption came in, and that’s not mentioning all of the families already on an adoption list for healthy infants like this one. But what I predicted eventually came to be: instead of the police and CAS releasing the baby for adoption as soon as possible, various delay tactics ensued.

Chalking it up as “for the good of the baby”, the police then went to court to ask for a 1-month postponement to Angelica being released for adoption. “We are so close to solving the case,” they insisted, four months after the baby was thrown away like garbage and no one resurfaced to claim it. “In the long run, she will be better off knowing who her family is. She will know her medical background.”

Bullshit. These kinds of cases go on unreported every day in the Children’s Aid system. Children young enough to benefit from bonding with new families who want them, are being kept deliberately in the foster care system, where they rot unwanted, for the benefit of their delinquent parents.

You can bet that Angelica will not be adopted at this point. Arrests finally came two weeks after the cops found her alleged parents in Kitchener. They had 3 other daughters. Even when cuffed and transported to their jail cells, they denied being the baby’s parents. Only DNA would prove them wrong.

Any good defense lawyer can tell you how this story is going to end. But since none of them are talking, let me tell you:

It will look “good” for the mother to plead that she was abused and abandoned the baby to “save” her. Pleading remorse and wearing a conservative dress always wins brownie points. She will say that her husband suffered from severe gender disappointment at having yet another girl. Etc, etc, etc. And nothing garners more sympathy and a lighter (possibly suspended) sentence than asking for the baby back. Any good lawyer will undoubtedly advise their clients to do just that.

And of course, in the politically-correct days of our liberal social system, a remorseful birth “mother” is always given the benefit of the doubt. So the baby will wait, once again, for a mother to take care of her, while the female who gave birth to her serves out her (likely suspended) sentence.

For the rest of her childhood, Angelica will thrive or rot, as her luck will be, in foster care for a couple of years, after which she will be reunited with her birth mother. She will grow up maladjusted and questioning why she would not have been adopted out to loving families who would love, spoil, nourish and treat her like a daughter should be treated: with care and affection.

Instead, she will live in low-income tenement housing, being resented by her other siblings for making daddy go to jail, and knowing that were it not for the police and the pathetic system which was supposed to protect her, she could have been wanted and loved.
.

Posted in adoption, canada, children, family, gender disappointment, news, ontario, political correctness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »