Today’s Specials

Nine thirty-four

Crusty small eyes and oatmeal make for breakfast

Topped off with waffles and sunny side indifference

A steaming hot cup of coffee jolts the joints and fogs up your glasses

 

Twelve thirty-five

Trickling raindrops on windowpanes with a side of Caesar salad for lunch

Regrets of a day wasted and smoked salmon follow but

Not before a glass of cheap Merlot to numb the senses and make you forget

 

Seven thirty-six

Tear-stained cheeks and salty soup for dinner

Provoked by questions that had no answers with

Roasted chicken and baby potatoes that came after

You end the day with crème brûlée in hopes that

Tomorrow will dissolve today’s torpor

The Future at the Tip of Your Pen (Commentary on Nabokov’s Lance and Sci-Fi)

Vladimir Nabokov tries his hand at cross genre with a piece, circa 1952, published by The New Yorker. Cross Genre is always tricky, what with the metafiction tinging itself with science fiction particularly. In Lance, the narrator, detaching himself from writer Nabokov, painstakingly composes the character Lance, an astronaut, and his family. But unmistakably, the narrator justifies this piece as an amateur work, even calling Science Fiction out as masked regular fiction:

“I utterly spurn and reject so-called “science fiction.” I have looked into it and found it as boring as mystery-story magazines — the same sort of dismally pedestrian writing with oodles of dialogue and loads of commutational humour. The cliches, are of course, disguised; essentially they are the same throughout all cheap reading matter, whether it spans the universe or the living room. They are like those “assorted” cookies that differ from one another only in shape and shade, whereby their shrewd makers ensnare the salivating consumer in a mad Pavlovian world where, at no extra cost, variations in simple visual values influence and gradually replace flavour, which thus goes the way of talent and truth.”

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During a literature class four years ago, my professor mentioned there only being seven basic story plots. Of course, there are also several different theories contesting and justifying this one. But can I just say, I agree with Nabokov/the Narrator on this one. I applaud him for a piece well-written. Anyway, science fiction is almost always set in the future or in some alternate present, but quite actually, there is no such thing as the future; it’s all just a skewed representation of the present. According to an analysis of ‘futuristic art’ by Brian Dillon (which also coincidentally mentions Nabokov’s Lance), “the only future that seems to have mattered is the future anterior: what will have been, or more accurately what might have been”. That’s exactly what the narrator attempts to do in Lance: he’s actually conjuring up some pretend future that his descendent will later experience. Those attempting to write science fiction or metafiction should take cues from this wonderful and overlooked masterpiece by Nabokov (who gains most recognition only for Lolita)

Science fiction is just so fantastical. I don’t mean that in the informal marvellous-adjective sort of way, I mean that, while I don’t fancy reading much of it, I commend the writers for such an overactive imagination contributing to the portrayal of a disguised world as we know it until it no longer becomes recognizable.

Yo Ho (A Writer’s Life For Me)

It’s amazing how everything falls into place. Two weeks ago I blogged about missing a writers’ conference at Yale University but just last Tuesday, I got my US visa approved. Booked my plane ticket. Paid my conference registration fee. Sent in some required manuscripts. Now, BOOM!

I’m flying off to New York on the 3rd of June, then later traveling to Connecticut for the conference, which runs from 7-22. Hold the phone and the job-hunts for about a month more because for two weeks, I’ll be in New Haven, living a writer’s life. It might only be for a few weeks but I’ll take whatever opportunity I can get. I’m taking up non-fiction under the tutelage of writers Luis Francia and Richard Selzer. In the second half of the conference, I’ll be tackling life stories with a workshop group headed by Lisa Page.

My dad took the liberty of listing a few notable Yale graduates, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton but I’ve discovered an article in the Business Insider listing 30 of the university’s most famous graduates, which includes Samuel Morse, Anderson Cooper, and even Meryl Streep.

Throwing Tantrums Doesn’t Get You to Yale

Yesterday, I asked for something amazing to happen, and true enough, it did! I was accepted into Yale University’s Summer Writers’ Conference. I applied a week before, never even dreaming I’d get in, but it seems to pay off when you give something a try. I prayed for whatever is meant to be and I thought that this it. I got the acceptance letter and everything! But lo, I hadn’t had a US visa in years. I filled out the forms and everything but when I checked the embassy website, it said that the first available interview date was on June 16, when I had to be there June 5!

I cried like a dying wildebeest, just as any other sane person would once they’ve lost that sort of opportunity (never in my years have I ever imagined my setting foot in YALE!!!). I am still bent on getting that visa and doing whatever it takes to go to this conference. If it doesn’t happen, I’m sure another equally great opportunity will come again, right?