Aborted Words

Here’s my take on “silence.” This piece was inspired by the Weekly Writing Challenge. I’ve wanted to write this experience for a long while, but didn’t have the right form for it. This challenge, gladly, has given me the frame I needed for my silence.

It is a Tuesday and I’ve just finished my Process class. I sit outside the library on an old, wooden bench, waiting for my friend as restless, groggy university students stream by me. Some stop, looking up at the peeling yellow walls, some make a quick right to the Tim Hortons, while others artistically swim through idle students, running to classes they’re already late for or buses they’ve already missed. In this familiar chaos I see my TA and wave. She smiles back as she hurriedly walks on.

I turn away from my class and see my friend approaching. I get up, collect my books, and we walk towards the food court.

“Yo I am so hungry!” Books cascade to the floor as she drops her bags in front of a BMO. “I need to take out some money. Is that okay?” She shuffles forward without waiting for a reply.

“Why wouldn’t it be? You don’t need my permission to take out food. I mean money.” I follow her in the line, laughing quietly to myself, not wanting to sit on the bench again. “How was class?”

“Lord, lord. Hell if I know what that man was talking about. I hope class gets cancelled next week.” She slides her card into the ATM.

“I feel you man. This class is pointless. It was $2000. For what, I don’t know. The lectures could be taught by an undergrad. I don’t know what I’m going to do for the exam. This course has no structure, all she does is ramble on for an hour and let us go an hour early. I mean, I would like to leave an hour early if I actually felt like I was getting something out of this course. Honestly, if you were there—”

“Isn’t that your TA?” She asks, nonchalantly cutting me off with her hand at the money dispenser.

I jerk my head and look. I see a women with cropped blonde hair, brown rimmed glasses, green turtleneck and black slacks. She sees me staring and waves before she leaves the building with another woman. “Yup, that’s my TA.” I smile at myself and help my friend carry some books.

“That man-woman.” She forces out a laugh. It wasn’t a question.

I frown. “She isn’t a man-woman, she’s just gay.”

“Come on, who is she kidding. She’s a man. Where do you want to eat. Knowing you we’re going to walk around this building for two hours and end up eating nothing.” She opens the door for me and we walk towards the student centre.

I try to answer, but I’ve lost my hunger. Despite how much I try, my appetite won’t be revived, won’t be goaded, and won’t be stirred – like the words I let go, unformed and forgotten.

Here’s 99 other thoughts on silence. Check them out and let me, as well as these creative bloggers, know what you think.

  1. The Sound of Silence | Through the Peacock’s Eyes
  2. Listen to the silence | Master Of Disaster
  3. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | JGTravels
  4. Eight Things I Wish I Knew Before I Taught at a Boarding School | Kosher Adobo
  5. The Sounds of Silence* | Icescreammama
  6. underwood | yi-ching lin photography
  7. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Under the Monkey Tree
  8. Moments | anonim0us
  9. Moments | anonim0us
  10. Silent Agony | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  11. Silent crimes | Speaking Voiceless
  12. The Sound of Silence is a beautiful thing | Amanda Montomery
  13. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | A mom’s blog
  14. Hug Her Back | Fish Of Gold
  15. Media Blackouts Insult My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  16. As Loud as Silence | Chimerical Chicanery
  17. Unspeakable | Musings of a Soul Eclectic
  18. Aborted Words | The Backwords
  19. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | carojesu
  20. yesterday’s snow lets | y
  21. A SILENT SONG | Diary of a mind
  22. A Common Baby Myth: Babies Should Sleep in Silence.. Ssshhh! | Peek-a-boo: Baby and You!
  23. Silence « mediumblackdog
  24. Never Give Up, Never Give In: My Epiphany! | Hope and Faith
  25. Brady’s Silence (explicit) | Stories From My Mind
  26. Coyote Hill | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
  27. A Silence Louder Than Words | snapshotsofawanderingheart
  28. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Tales from the Motherland
  29. When The Silence Almost Deafens You | Unload and Unwind
  30. Classy Broad
  31. The Day I Found My Voice | A Path of Living Stones
  32. When you said “Nobody loves you” | So Not Simple
  33. Finding what you didn’t know you were looking for… | Crap I Blog About
  34. WWC: The Sound of Silence | Learning the Anishinaabe Way
  35. Who Said So? | Buzzy Beez
  36. Silence challenge | knovak616
  37. The Silence Welcomes Me | StormieSteele
  38. Weekly Writing Challenge: Have you seen me? | Life of A Fallen Angel
  39. Silence | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  40. The Things We Don’t Say | A Sign Of Life
  41. Breaking The Sound Of Silence | At least we made it this far…
  42. In the silence of a word | MC’s Whispers
  43. From Silence Came Wisdom | Lifeinpawprints’s Weblog
  44. Blog challenge – The sound of silence « Defy The Narrative
  45. Could the end of ‘that time of the month’ be related to that time of the year? | Minnesota Transplant
  46. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Echoes of My Past
  47. Good Grief | Wittyburg.com
  48. silence and snow | from dreams to plans
  49. Weekly Writing Challenge: Sounds of Silence | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)
  50. Jumpers for goalposts… | Dreaminspice
  51. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Pop-Culture-Referenced
  52. The Silent Sisters | 22 going on 33
  53. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Bringing Out the God-Colors in the World
  54. Suicide no. 27: Vow of Silence | derekalanwilkinson
  55. Silent White | Mary J Melange
  56. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Your Original LUPUSDIVA….
  57. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | No Apologies
  58. Cable Cut-off | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  59. Silence so Loud | My Weigh To Lose
  60. Silencing the Critics’ Chorus | V Learns Something New
  61. Silence of the Blog « ph.d. in creative writing
  62. Life: The Search For Someone Who Understands You | Paint Before Death
  63. Silence | Dandilyonz-4-U
  64. Remaining Silent | Bits of Life
  65. Inexhaustible Treasure | Love in the Spaces
  66. HOW DOES SILENCE SOUND? | SERENDIPITY
  67. A moment in Paris | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  68. Weekly Writing Challenge | Fit 4 Life, LLC
  69. No More Honesty | Among the Whispers
  70. The Silent Storm | Martialing Art
  71. I’m excellent at taking criticism (see? that sounds weird, right?) | sincerelyimitated
  72. My worst nightmare is coming alive, the silence is the glue to it all | From One Crazy Life To Another
  73. This is the absolute FPiTS! | Thorough and Unkempt
  74. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | My name is Ellie and this is who I am.
  75. Ah-kya-kha-loo-i | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  76. Don’t Change That Channel-er ! | Once Upon Your Prime. . .
  77. Enjoy the Silence | Kokopelli Bee Free Blog
  78. “Oh” | Gnome Lover
  79. Breaking the Silence on Autism | Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept…
  80. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound Of Silence | imagination
  81. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | sailingthroughthefog
  82. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | alysslombardi
  83. Minnie’s Quite Silent | Minnie | A Personal Blog
  84. Silence Breaker | thenaturalprofessor
  85. I’m Hoping My Mother Ignores This One. | meg lago
  86. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence – Silent-phobia | SA:ME (사메)
  87. Favorite quotes from Alabama literature | Andrea Reads America
  88. A resounding silence. | Multifarious meanderings
  89. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence? | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  90. What I Didn’t Say | My Newingness
  91. litadoolan
  92. Shamed Silence Broken | Ever Upward
  93. THE SILENT TREATMENT | DANDELION’S DEN
  94. #1 | Justin B.
  95. society | yi-ching lin photography
  96. all of life is a | y
  97. The Long Unspoken | the intrinsickness
  98. Being Silent Nevermore: The Psychology of Raising My Voice For Those that Have Been Muted « psychologistmimi
  99. A Borrowed Identity to Fill the Silence. | W.T.F.
  100. Footfall | Tell Tale Therapy
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Inverted World, Christopher Priest

  Genre: Science Fiction

 Publisher: Harper & Row

 Release Date: 28 May 1974

 Where you can find it: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters

Website: Christopher Priest

 Character: Helward Mann is part of the elite, aware of the desolation that surrounds the  mobile city, waiting to consume it if they slow down. He is part of the dominant sex, as female births continue to dwindle. Where is the city physically located? What happened to the rest of the world? These questions, and others, cloak the mysterious city and through Helward’s character and his interactions with citizens and foreigners, we learn how the city came to be. We also get the perspective of Elizabeth Khan, but I’ve said too much.

Plot: The city must move forward, winching itself along mobile tracks. Despite the efforts of the city, they continue to fall farther behind the optimum, which if continued, will result in the city being crushed by gravitational forces. For Helward and his people the drudgery and strain, and attention put into their winching pace is a necessity; stillness means death. Death creeps behind them in the distance, with every sunset gaining on them. But why must they move forward, laying and removing tracks, what was life like before the winching? For this you’ll have to pick it up.

Review: The book started off slowly, setting up the context and layering the plot. While reading it, I have to admit, I was a little annoyed by this. But after distancing myself from the novel, I can appreciate Priest’s ability to mould a text, drawing the reader in with his distorted, backward, inverted world. Many mainstream novels depend on fast paced action, quick exchanges and cliff hangers at the end of every chapter to keep the reader interested. It’s a little insulting to us as readers that some writers think we need a shiny toy dangled before our eyes constantly or else we will lose interest. Not every single word in in a novel needs to excite us. And this isn’t a reflection of the base quality of novels, but of life in general. If a page doesn’t upload in five seconds we get mad. If an email takes longer than ten seconds to send we get panicky. God forbid a YouTube video not load instantaneously.

We need to slow down. We’ve become a culture of expectation and this has lessened our ability to appreciate the details, to read slowly with attention. Inverted World slows down the pace of the reader as well as the characters. Just as we read slowly, fingers tracing smudge lines underneath every word, so do the men of the city stumble slowly on, trying to escape the “past.” The need to pace seems greater for Helward than it does for the modern reader, for Helward risks death if he doesn’t. But what do we stand to lose by our quickened, skimmed patterns of reading? What worlds are left unknown to us because of our inability to slow things down?

People may be frustrated by this work because of the undynamic main character. However, this text doesn’t rely on the drama, intrigue and conflict surrounding its main character to tell the story. The events and situations strung together bind this text, making it science-fictional as much as it is philosophical. We don’t need to feel “sympathy” for the low-trodden, beaten character in order to have a thrilling story. And even so, I still enjoyed Inverted World. It’s refreshing to read something that doesn’t rely solely on the drama between characters, tensions are produced elsewhere.

Backwords Verdict: Certified Hooker

Following this grading scale of course:

Not a Hooker (I wouldn’t recommend this, even to people I hate)

Hooker in Training (Needs a lot of work)

Graduate Hooker (Really Good, but needs to fix some things)

Certified Hooker (Very satisfying, little to no complaints)

Distinguished Hooker (Flawless, I’d comeback for other services)

Other Works: This novel drew me in, I’d consider giving it another read. I’m planning on reading The Adjacent, so look out for a possible review of that in the future.

Why the hell are you a writer?

Who inspired you to write, to dabble into the crazy, uncertain, beautiful world of the writer? For some of you maybe it was an inspirational quote,  a poem or a novel you were forced to read in elementary school. For some, it may have been a painting or a writer in their lives.

I know that for me it was a teacher I had for Gr. 11 English. That was probably one of the most essential courses I had taken in not only high school but in my education as a writer. We read King Lear, Death of a Salesman, Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Flies. She made the writing of dead men come to life. I hadn’t been exposed to writing the way I was in that class. I had never felt so much emotion while reading a literary work as I did while reading King Lear. So thank you Ms Solet- Louis for the gift I will never return but hopefully always re-gift.

Enough of me. Find what made you write so whenever you feel like it isn’t worth it you can return to that text, person or place and regain that wonder of writing. Writing is a journey, we’re always trying to move forward with our tales, venturing into unexplored places, but don’t fear the venture backwards. Don’t fear the backwords journey.

What, who, or where makes you write, paint, sculpt, compose and read?

 

 

A Woman’s Place

When is discussing the rights of women going to be off the table?

Women shouldn’t be in universities. School, education and knowledge are rights reserved for males. Men should be in classrooms, they should have the right to exercise this superiority over women in any educational setting. Universities and colleges, up until the early 1900, were exclusively for men. Allowing women to enter school hasn’t had positive results for society. What contributions have women made in medicine, education, the arts and society? What women of note are making a substantial change in the world today? Clearly, women should know their place – in the home – where they can contribute most. Leave education to men who are obviously more capable and competent in the matter. Women should return to their rightful places, and situations like these are encouraging the return of women to their natural place.

Who are women to demand equal pay in a work setting?

Who are women to demand respect from their peers and colleagues?

Who are women to take it upon themselves to be educated?

Who are women to rise above the limiting circumstances they are placed in?

Who are women to dare to be more intelligent, successful and aware than men?

Who are women to choose not to bear children?

Who are women to think and make decisions themselves, not seeking approval from others?

Who are women to be “Strong”?

Who are women to be weak?

Who are women to demand society pay for the injustices done to their race?

Who are women to be comfortable in their skin, their uniquely large, skinny, curvy, boney, pale, dark, bumpy, smooth bodies?

Who are women to demand the right as humans to simply exist?

Who are women to be?

These are just some of the conventional, misogynistic values being reinforced by cases like this. A student taking an online course at York University claims that for religious reasons he cannot meet up with his group (which contains females) in public to do a group project. He asked to be exempt from the project, but the professor J. Paul Grayson, denied his request. When the case was brought to York’s administration, they overruled the Professor Grayson, granting the student exemption from the assignment.

Now, everyone has their own religious beliefs and is entitled to them. Religion is a personal, private matter and no one should have to reconcile or compromise their beliefs. In Canada, everyone has the freedom to express and practice the religion of their choice. However, in a public setting such as a university in which it is explicitly understood to be a public institution, you cannot expect personal, private beliefs that infringe upon the rights of others to be upheld.

I’m sorry for some men who are unaware of this inconvenient truth, but any job you are likely get, in almost any country, will involve you working with, over or under women. I’m sorry. I don’t know why, but women don’t seem to be satisfied with marginalization anymore. For some odd, unimaginable reason, they want to be treated as humans.

Making exceptions for this one student doesn’t promote religious respect; it perpetuates ignorance and allows women to be forever discriminated against in society, work and school. If the injustice were racist or homophobic in nature, I doubt the Dean would have been so quick to hand out sanctions. If anything, the university should have looked into the religious belief that inhibited the student’s participation in the assignment. The religion of the student wasn’t disclosed, but any religious belief that undermines the value of another human being should be scrutinized. As I said, religion is a private, personal matter. People will believe what they want to believe, whether it is in their best interest or not. However, nobody, regardless of their sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, education or birth has the right to demand others comply with these beliefs.

This unfortunate event has offended people internationally. The professor who stood his ground is being commended, and the university that has for decades proclaimed equality and female education has been condemned. Discussion is good; outrage an appropriate response to this injustice. But when is discussing the rights of women going to be off the table?

This is not an attack on religion or men in general. If this injustice is to be rectified, we need to overlook cosmetic differences between men and women and see that we are fundamentally the same. We are human.

Substitute “Jew” with women, homosexuals or any group of people that have experienced discrimination and the injustices felt by Shylock as a human are the same.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

(3.1. 56–61)

Should York have granted these sanctions? Is this discriminatory against the female students in the group? Are women still secondary citizens though make up half the world’s population? Lastly, have you experienced any discrimination or injustice yourself?

Free Time?

Is free time actually time to do whatever you want, or just time you’re not paid to do what others want?

I am doing it again. I stop, removing my fingers from the keyboard. I had just finished planning my day for the week. It was a strange, surreal moment. I had done similar things before, organizing and planning my day. But this time was different. This time I  realized how stupid I am.

How many times have I “planned out” my day, in order to make sure it was well “spent?” Spending a day? When you think about it, the concept of spending a day is absurd. The concept of planning a day may be even more so.

Capitalism has infested my vocabulary. The jargon of the workplace has infected my thoughts. My “free time” is influenced by my work habits. Is free time actually time to do whatever you want, or just time you’re not paid to do what others want?

I can’t escape the demand to prioritize, organize and mechanize. Though I may not be at school or work right now, my mind is psychologically wired to be in work mode, simply because that’s what it’s most used to. I can’t simply relax because I am not working or at school, nor do I suppose anyone can. Capitalism stains, and no matter how hard we may try to wash it, some dirty residue remains.

Thanks Weekly Writing Challenge for messing up my week. What the heck am I going to do now?

Some other cool posts that may trigger deep thoughts. Reader be warned.

  1. Lunch | The Magic Black Book
  2. Random Bits of Conversation Overheard Over Time | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  3. Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts | Finding Life
  4. My Darling | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  5. DP Challenge Weekly Writing Challenge: Staring Off Into Space | Sabethville
  6. A veteran’s fondest memory | From One Crazy Life To Another
  7. Knowledge Insults My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  8. Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts | khaula mazhar
  9. Weekly DP Challenge – Lunch posts | Its all about a bit of this and that.
  10. Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts | The Solidarity Ramblings Of A Wisdom Seeker
  11. Lunch: Fantasy Vs. Reality | Write Through Life
  12. Lunch Day One/Weekly Writing Challenge | standinginthestorm
  13. Blue Monday | Stories from aside
  14. Today I’ll defer to the dog | Life is Unfolding
  15. Lunch, Day 1: Too Quiet « there’s this book i’m reading.
  16. Lunch Break, Day 1: The Distant Banana | Stealing All the Sevens
  17. DPchallenge: Lunch break…or not | Mindful Digressions
  18. Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Post | lifethoughtenergy
  19. Daily Post Challenge: Lunch Posts | Flooding August
  20. Lunchtime | Living and Lovin