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Archive for the ‘usa’ Category

9 years, 7 months, 20 days

Posted by E on May 2, 2011

I’m sitting here watching Obama’s live broadcast announcement on CNN: Osama bin Laden’s dead. Finally the families of victims of the 9/11 attack can feel that justice has been done, 9 years, 7 months, and 20 days to the day.

Watching the crowds swell at midnight on the streets of America’s capital makes me think of those brave soldiers who made this happen. Not the politicians who get kudos for commanding the assaults on Al Queda, but the minions in the barracks, the nameless, faceless ones who go into the night, weapon in hand, and defend our way of life and the freedoms we take for granted.

One of the unexpected bonuses of this momentuous celebration is — not having to be subjected to cloyingly sweet Royal Wedding recaps. Of course, it kind of disturbs me that it’s likely someone sat on Osama’s body for a few days, just so as to not disturb the glorious “Royal” moment, but at least we now know the operation has been completed.

I’ve been on Twitter for the last hour, surrounded by ecstatic, enormously overwhelmed Tweeters who profess never to forget this day and this moment. Reading their tweets, feeling their surging pride in their country, sensing the common bonds that course between all of us, makes me tremendously glad to be born in this day and time. Imagine, to be able to sit on my sofa here at midnight, in my living room in my own nook of the universe, and yet united in a groundswell of humanity — from Twitter to Facebook, to this blogging medium — that is nothing less than moving and downright extraordinary.

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Posted in freedom, usa, war | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

On nourishing the best minds of our generation

Posted by E on July 22, 2010

Writer colonies, retreats, artist centres, whatever you call it, are intended to provide that all-too-elusive sense of belonging and recognition to writers who otherwise labour away in the seclusion of their own abodes and their own idiosyncracies and particular neuroticisms.
Coming up for a breath of fresh air, as in attending a colony and being able to create while at the same time surrounded by a whole bunch of other creative minds is invaluable. The colonies are more than just a place to eat, sleep and write — they might just lead to new friendships and new perspectives that can enhance our otherwise solitary work.

Luckily for US artists, the United States provides an abundance of colonies and fellowships one can apply for. Places that have been frequented by artists like Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, Patricia Highsmith, Toni Morrison, etc. I could start rattling off the names of a whole lot of places, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is, for something like 30-50 bucks and the cost of mailing in a portfolio, you can apply to attend artistic residences where all your accommodations, meals and board, etc, are completely covered up to 8 weeks.

We in Canada are not so lucky. Although arts councils are there to provide much-needed support to artists as they work on their projects, they don’t fund colonies or retreats, at least none that I know of. And all the ones I’ve checked, including the famous Banff Centre for the Arts, charge a hefty thousand bucks for five days of accommodations and meals….which, to be frank, who can afford unless they already have a day job, and therefore not exactly a full-time writer to begin with?
I witnessed something odd at the Humber Summer Workshop I attended (on a scholarship, thankfully!) two Julys ago: most of the participants were made up of middle-aged professionals, otherwise-known-as weekend warriors. Not to generalize, but what I’ve observed is that often those who can afford those expensive workshops are the same people who hardly have the time necessary to complete a full-length work, quality notwithstanding.

It’s a damn shame that we can’t offer as many possibilities as the US and other European nations provide their artists. People here bitch and moan every time funding gets cut at the individual level, but sometimes I think that perhaps if there was a place we could escape to for just a little while, where we wouldn’t have to worry about distractions, finances, etc — that it might be as useful as a big-ass cheque. And equally inspiring. Not that I’d be willing to trade my OAC and CAC funding, thank you very much 🙂 but still…. wouldn’t it be wonderful if such a place existed?

I know, going to a writers’ colony for a month is no guarantee that you can produce something substantial, but then again, neither does getting a huge chunk of money insure that a writer is able to commit to the page. But having said all that, the only place that I’ve found which subsidizes Canadian writers is Berton House in the Yukon, but you have to already have published at least one book to go there. And, well, it’s quite desolate and not exactly large enough to accommodate more than one or two persons at a time.

Sadly, even though financial assistance might be provided to one or two people per program, overall it seems that Canadian writing centres seem more geared toward weekend-type writers with large bank accounts than toward the younger or less affluent people who could most benefit from an opportunity to allow their brilliance to shine through. And in the end, through this insidious practice of cultural and financial elitism, everyone suffers.

Oh, I know — writing programs are basically lucrative cash cows that keep MFA grads and other senior writers employed, but at what cost? By excluding the talented in favour of the rich (though if you’re both, you’ve hit the jackpot!), how exactly does our culture advance?

One of my biggest dreams is to someday own a place where people can come and work on their projects, a place where all costs would be absorbed, and the artist is free only to create. But until I sell a crapload of books and maybe close a movie deal or two, this will remain a wishful dream.

Posted in art, beauty, canada, commentary, freedom, poetry, thoughts, Uncategorized, usa, writer, writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bush baiting Russia with a stick: the new agenda, a war with Russia

Posted by E on April 1, 2008

kids-with-bush.jpg 

If there was any doubt about the US provokation of Russia into aggression, here is more confirmation straight out of Bucharest:

Unflinching from a fight, President Bush said Tuesday he fully supports proposals to put ex-Soviet states Ukraine and Georgia on the road toward joining NATO despite French and German qualms it would upset relations with Moscow.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080401/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush

Bush’s desire to poke at Russia with a stick until it bites back is basically a tenuous attempt to provoke Russia until it attacks first, providing an excuse for a war that the US has been secretly preparing for.

Looking at recent events in which the US fully backed the “independence” of Kosovo, knowing full well that it puts them at odds with Russia, you would tend to scratch your head and wonder – What is Bush’s business anyway, meddling in European politics? I mean, isn’t he elbows-deep in the muck of waging war in the Middle-East without having to now upset the delicate balance of European alliances?

Nobody said Russia was a diplomatic country. Brutish and boorish, run by Mafiosos and black-marketeers, it is a country that is shaped much like a bear: gruff and rough around the edges, but basically not a threat. At least not until it’s provoked. And it will take a lot of upset Russia into a war, but when it does happen, over commodities like fuel and resources in the Arctic, it will be a hard, terrible battle that will involve nuclear arms and has the potential to launch everyone into a Third World War.

Make no mistake: the US pushing for Ukraine and Georgia to join the European Union is not about freedom or democracy. It is simply about 2 things:

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1. weakening the European Union so it is more vulnerable in currency, and the politics grow more volatile
2. provoke the former Soviet Union into attacking first, so as to poke the finger at them and say: “They started it first, not us! Not us!”

Pathetic.

Read more about this in my analysis of recent events: http://subversivewriter.wordpress.com/2008/02/26/an-independent-kosovo-the-hidden-agenda-a-war-with-russia-2/

Posted in arctic, communism, freedom, globalization, north pole, politics, romania, russia, ukraine, usa, war | 1 Comment »