A Radical Cut In The Texture Of Reality

March 13, 2017

Book

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I feel a perverse desire to try to write a book that every single person will hate. (I believe it has something to do with feeling imagined reader expectations before one even starts writing.)



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March 9, 2017

Ten years

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Facebook has just informed me that I joined Facebook exactly ten years ago.



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January 30, 2017

“neoliberalism” and “global warming”

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“Neoliberalism” and “global warming” are two terms specifically designed to make things that are absolutely horrible sound not that bad. (“Turbo-capitalism” and “climate chaos” are, in my humble opinion, two of the more accurate terms.)



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January 26, 2017

Alicia Garza Quote

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Intersectional politics (and practice) is not just theoretical – it is the lifeline upon which we depend for our collective liberation.

- Alicia Garza



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January 15, 2017

A few actual dreams from the past six years

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In my dream last night, the last thing I remember saying just before I woke up was: ‘Alain Badiou says the most nihilistic song is All You Need Is Love.’



In my dream last night, the name of my band was: This Unstable Honorarium.



Last night in my dream I googled: how do you fight capitalism.



Last night I dreamt I was an arsonist: as I headed to set one last fire, I got a text saying it’s a trap, turned around, and decided to go see art instead.



Last night I dreamt the telescope was invented by aliens, who sent it to us telepathically, to put us on the wrong track.



Last night I dreamed I had writer’s block.



In my dream last night I read an essay that began: “We’re sick of reading books that are only men writing about their loneliness. We want to read books by women writing about their ________.” But I couldn’t make out the last word. (I had a sense that the last word might be rage.)



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January 13, 2017

A politics of caring for one another.

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"And then I wonder if the way to fight requires some extremely long term thinking, to lay the mental groundwork for changes that might very well bear no fruit for many generations to come. Because, it seems to me, what we need now is a completely different way of thinking about what it means to live in the present and work towards the future. A different way of thinking time and accumulation. A present and future with breakthroughs but without linear progress, with commerce but without endless growth, with politics but against winner-take-all. A politics of caring for one another. I remember an indigenous saying I heard once: there is enough for everyone but there’s not enough for everyone’s greed. All of these goals seem so far in the future that I’m not even sure where to begin."

- Jacob Wren, The Year 2017: A Collective Chronicle of Thoughts and Observations



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January 9, 2017

Story number one...

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Story number one takes place ten million years ago and story number two takes place ten million years in the future. The problem is how to tell these two stories apart, how to know which is which. Story number three takes place now.



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December 27, 2016

I spend all my time reading fiction but in so many ways I’m against fiction.

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I come across a paragraph I wrote several years ago. I read it with fascination, as if it is written by someone else:

“I spend all my time reading fiction but in so many ways I’m against fiction. I’m against fiction that imagines itself as crafted and seamless. I’m against characters that the reader is supposed to imagine as fully formed real people. I’m against fully formed people, believe we are all a series of fragments, that our business is a perpetually unfinished one. I have nothing against a story that playfully knows it is a story, with characters that are simultaneously people, ideas and fragments of the author, with truth that is stranger than fiction and fiction that keeps asking itself difficult questions about fiction (and life) it knows it will never be able to answer. Working within literature, this counter-position feels excessively lonely. The road less travelled is often filled with devastatingly empty moments that threaten to stretch out into a lifetime, or worse a career.”



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December 25, 2016

Long Live THEESatisfaction

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THEESatisfaction broke up this year. With all the talk about Prince, Bowie, Cohen and Phife Dawg (and I now also want to add Prince Buster, David Mancuso and Pauline Oliveros), I think the musical news that actually hit me hardest is that there won't be many, many new THEESatisfaction records to listen to in the years to come. Their two records awE NaturalE (2012) and EarthEE (2015) were two of the records I listened to most often over the past five years. They are records I feel I will listen to for the rest of my life and never get tired of. I feel they are also, in so many ways, musical landmarks for the moment we are currently living in.

I think I'm writing this because, based only on a quick internet search, it seems to me that no one else did. No one else celebrated what an awesome and important band they were, or at least not nearly enough people wrote about the significance of their breakup. When I think of awE NaturalE, I think of something I once read (attributed to Brian Eno), that "The Velvet Underground's first album only sold a few thousand copies, but everyone who bought one formed a band." I try to never predict the future, but I have the strange feeling that in the years and decades to come THEESatisfaction might take on a similar importance. At the very least, they already have for me.

It has something to do with music and politics. This music that is so political and finds such a deeply honest and pleasurable way to be so. Music that experiments with such verve and joy and speaks about the things that hurt and heal and are so fucked up in this world, but always with a sense of community and possibility. An avant-garde that is also completely pop and finds ways to take risks on both sides of the outmoded divide. Actually, I'm not sure what else there is to say. Just listen...






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Two end of year mentions for Rich and Poor

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Jacob Wren’s Rich and Poor (BookThug) is political fiction at its sharpest. An aspiring concert pianist, reduced to working as an under-the-table dishwasher, becomes obsessed with taking violent revenge on the man he considers responsible for his plight: a billionaire oligarch who gets his kicks by, among other things, watching children fight.

Wren alternates in first-person between the two, effectively dramatizing the 99-per-cent vs. one-per-cent divide. In lesser hands it might have read as clumsy allegory, but because the two voices are equally compelling, what we get is something like an intellectual thriller.

Rich and Poor is essential and bracing reading, especially at a time when millions of poor Americans can convince themselves that a rich man is their champion.

- Ian McGillis, Madeleine Thien heads class of 2016, but don't stop reading there




Wren’s novel opens with a poor man planning to kill a rich one, but, with a crisis at the halfway mark, things get messy and the greater violence, the brutality of the economic system, reveals itself. Rich and Poor reminds us that art can be resistance, and our love, revolutionary.

- Jade Colbert’s Favourite Canadian Small Press Books of 2016
 


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