January 13, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I start my posts with those words to call attention to the fact that everything I write is narrative. Well, obviously, some will sneer… but how often do we enact that “obvious” fact in our treatment of one another? A columnist collective like Patheos.com, where people generally negotiate authority claims in relation to their spirituality or atheism, is excellent territory for those who delight in leaping upon every perceived defect in others’ arguments. It’s by no… Read more

January 9, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. Back in grad school, as one does, I attended academic conferences. My specialization was Victorian-era representations of science, but conferences are rarely that “niche”, so I attended a great many panels on Victorian literature around other themes, or representations of science in, say, medieval literature. But I quickly realized that a solid third of the papers, across subject matter, were not advancing new research so much as illustrating what the scholar had learned about the… Read more

January 4, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. In this story, somewhere around the Year of the Consulship of Caesar and Paullus, a child is born who will be the promised messiah, king of kings, god incarnate, saviour of men. Three wise men, kings of the orient, visit to pay tribute to this excellent gift from heaven… and then… let him be. Wait, what? No offer of tutors? No insistence upon leaving a scribe to follow him as he grows, to record his… Read more

December 23, 2018

Let’s begin with a story. It’s my first Christmas in Colombia, and I’m currently revising a novel set in Soviet Russia, early-to-mid-20th-century. It’s why I’ve been a little sluggish with posting*, but not because of the writing so much as the research. None of this research is new to me: I first read The Gulag Archipelago at an impressionable 17, and I’ve immersed myself extensively in Soviet-era literature ever since. While writing the first draft I reviewed documentaries. Read witness testimonies…. Read more

December 18, 2018

Let’s begin with a question: How often do secular folk fixate on the differences between scripture and real-world religious behaviour? Sometimes it feels as though a solid third of atheist rhetoric in my channels focusses on how Christians–politicians and lay-citizens alike–have failed to uphold [X] isolated verse in the Bible. Shaming others is an old-as-dirt human behaviour–and it must be fairly satisfying, or we wouldn’t do it as often. But I have a great deal of suspicion for that which… Read more

December 14, 2018

Let’s begin with a story. This one is a story in process: my own, as I try to adapt to yet another form of online “community”. There’s a huge push, as an online writer, to try to turn all one’s output towards revenue. Self-promote! Network! Make that bank! Often, though, seemingly easy paths to “making bank” involve new investments of time, energy, and the learning of distinct platforms. Many then become second jobs unto themselves. Currently, for instance, I’m wrangling… Read more

December 9, 2018

Let’s begin with a story. In the early years of humankind, when our ancestors struggled mightily with their earthly lot, a god came down from the heavens to gift them vital knowledge, and suffered brutally for his efforts. The god, of course, was Prometheus. The gift was fire. The punishment, set by the rest of the pantheon of gods, was an eternity of torture chained to a rock. I was four when I first learned this story, and so excited… Read more

December 4, 2018

Let’s begin with a story. Last week, a friend posted his relief at having received a perfect grade for a grad-school paper. My problem, upon hearing this? His paper depicted the U.S.-Mexico border crisis–something I knew deeply affected him and his communities, and as such had consequences far beyond the page. Here he’d been, worrying about his ability to perform for a theory class, because of its impact on his ability to improve the world later… when the paper in question involved… Read more

November 27, 2018

Let’s begin with a story. When I first came to Colombia, my faltering Spanish was put to intricate tests with every new encounter. ¿De donde eres? was easy enough to answer: Canada! ¿Por qué [estás] viviendo acá? was harder. I locked onto a simple answer, though, and grew my Spanish with the practice that came from repeating it. With cabbies and service providers, I explained that I’d moved because Canadian culture wasn’t right for me. I talked about how Canadians are often… Read more

November 22, 2018

Let’s begin with a story. One magical day in 1985, Marty McFly, freshly returned from an adventure in 1955, gets whisked off to the future to help his kids. 2015 proves a wondrous world of flash-growing pizza pies and hoverboards… as well as a famous pair of self-lacing sneakers. When Back to the Future II came out in 1989, there was still time to imagine the creation of such items in reality, but as 2015 neared, grumbling started to emerge among we… Read more

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