October 31, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I struggled a long while with the wounds of leaving my PhD program five years and two dissertation drafts into the process. I had decided I had no other choice after a two-hour meeting with my committee in which I was in tears almost the entire time, unable even to get tissue for 45 minutes (literally, I had snot dribbling down my lips as I was being called angry, hostile, and arrogant), while being accused… Read more

October 27, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. Oh, yeah, I bet plenty of you saw “Žižek” in the headline and are rarin’ to see if this is a FOR or AGAINST essay, but slow your roll, folks: We need to talk semiotics first. Three super-basic semiotics terms are relevant to this essay: the ‘sign’, the ‘signifier’, and the ‘signified’. The ‘sign’ is usually first taught as something concrete–a literal instance of a table, for instance. The ‘signifier’ is then what I use… Read more

October 24, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I was raised in a politically active (Canadian) conservative household, so I grew up licking campaign envelopes and doing door-to-door drops and meet-and-greets for the then-Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. This provincial party included politicians like Mike Harris, who as premier was loathed by teachers and nurses for aggressive cuts to public spending, including incredibly punitive reductions to the welfare system–but who in my household was The Guy. I was probably the only kid I… Read more

October 17, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I spent the bulk of my (Canadian-Thanksgiving-in-Colombia!) long weekend working on a new sort of story for me, a secret project that tested my humanism in ways I look forward to discussing post-delivery. (In particular, I look forward to talking more about the stories that can better accommodate us all.) But when I looked up from that writing process, I also noticed that a religious friend was caught up in some religious-vs.-atheist discourse (from the… Read more

October 8, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This one’s Dr. Brené Brown’s, but it also marks the moment I realized how rare a certain approach to emotional discourse is. Brown’s known for her self-help books, a genre I don’t generally read, and for her TED Talks on the importance of being open about vulnerability and shame. She’s especially known for taking clinical research and framing it in warm, rounded, over-the-kitchen-table-styled Southern speech, which has helped her come off as approachable and relatable to… Read more

October 3, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This one involves a recent bit of news, even though I’m trying my best not to write hot takes on trending issues. (Yes, snappy rejoinders are a sure way to spike ad-revenue through frenzied online discourse, but this entire post relates strongly to my caution about the overall humanistic benefit of such infotainment pursuits.) Nevertheless, sometimes one sees the “evergreen” even in up-to-the-minute news, and I think you’ll agree that this is one such situation. Just as… Read more

September 22, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. Back in my early 20s, when blogging was still a more sincere and optimistic endeavour for a lot of us, I first published a post negotiating my lack of inner gender identity by outlining the three domains where our related terminology seemed to sit: natal sex (male/female), external performance (being “read” as man/woman/other by outsiders), and inner identity (how we recognize ourselves). Simply put: I had a biological sex, I was read as having [X]… Read more

September 19, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I’ve been veering into literary matters quite a bit late–which happens when you’re juggling different forms of writing in your wee slices of free time–and yet, I’m often reminded, too, that the very idea of a “divide” between different forms of storytelling is all social contrivance. Most recently, I was reminded of this last Saturday, when I attended Medellín’s Fiesta del libro, a sweeping display of book culture that for a week and a half permeated… Read more

September 12, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This one is Alice Sheldon’s, and it’s complicated. Dr. Sheldon gained her doctorate in experimental psychology, but her career was centrally in the arts–both visual and literary.  She famously published science fiction under the name James Tiptree, Jr. (among others pseudonyms, like Raccoona Sheldon)–and in ensuing years so thoroughly tricked the SF scene into believing she was a male writer that, in one notorious introduction to Sheldon’s stories, Robert Silverberg wrote the following: Inflamed by… Read more

September 8, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This time, it’s mine. Last Sunday, one of my science-fiction stories was published in Clarkesworld. “To Catch All Sorts of Flying Things” is a novelette in my favourite subgenre, the SF mystery, and you can read it here, if you’re so inclined. But today I want to talk more about another part of Clarkesworld’s latest issue. When one of my stories gets published, I love reviewing the magazine on whole. I love seeing how the… Read more

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